The Los Angeles coroner ruled Russell Armstrong’s August 2011 death a suicide. During Part 2 of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 2 reunion, Taylor Armstrong said that in some ways if her husband had been murdered, it would be easier than believing he had been despondent enough to take his own life. She then discussed several details about his suicide, including a locked briefcase left at the scene.
Taylor said she hadn’t gone through much of what was in the briefcase, including several flash drives, because she fears being sued for whatever is contained in them. (She’s currently involved in a $1.5 million lawsuit that originally named both her and Russell.)
In her new memoir, Hiding From Reality: My Story of Love, Loss, and Finding the Courage Within, Taylor writes about some of the other items in the briefcase, which she says Russell had carried around since the time she first met him: “When I got Russell’s things back from the coroner, his wallet contained ten debit cards; he had accounts at ten different banks. All of the accounts were empty. There was no $14 million trust. In fact, there was no money at all, and he faced $200,000 in debt for the month of August alone. Russell was in such dire financial straits at the time he died that he had pawned his Rolex Concord for $9,000. When his body was found, it also was discovered that he had left a little more than $7,000 in cash on his nightstand with a $25,000 bill for his son Griffin’s private school. No suicide note was ever found.”
Russell’s sister Laurie Kelsoe immediately suspected murder. “From the minute I got the call, I knew that it was not a suicide. He loves his kids too much,” she told The Today Show. She also doesn’t believe Russell abused Taylor, saying that the Housewife should have come to the family before publishing her book.