"Housewives" star Taylor Armstrong details abuse

Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:40pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In her first interviews since her husband's suicide, "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Taylor Armstrong is detailing abuse she claims she suffered from her spouse, including punches, pulled hair and death threats.

Armstrong spoke to TV show "Entertainment Tonight" in a story airing on Wednesday, and she appears on daytime talk show "Dr. Phil" on Thursday to discuss her plight that culminated in Russell Armstrong hanging himself at home in August, only weeks before a new season of the show debuted on September 5.

In an excerpt posted on "Entertainment Tonight's" website, Armstrong tells the show's Nancy O'Dell that Russell Armstrong physically abused her "maybe 20 times" throughout their marriage.

"The first time he ever really harmed me physically, I was pregnant with Kennedy (their daughter), and he grabbed me by the throat and held me up against a wall," Armstrong said.

The reason, she said, was because she had cooked his kids a pizza, but hadn't served them vegetables along with it.

From there, the assaults escalated, but he would wait until the two were alone, perhaps in their car. Armstrong said her husband would hide his abuse by grabbing or hitting her head so that any welts would be covered by her hair. "Russell was very careful about how he would do things," she said.

Taylor Armstrong is a key member of the show about wealthy and pampered women living in posh Beverly Hills. Her marriage troubles with Russell Armstrong were expected to be a key story in the second season that was taped earlier this year.

But on August 15, Russell Armstrong was found dead at home, age 47. The show debuted as planned, but with a new segment in which the other cast members, excluding Taylor Armstrong, talked about his suicide.

"Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," which airs on the Bravo cable network, has continued to run with Taylor appearing in episodes that show her having a nervous breakdown as her marriage collapses. But tape of Russell has been edited out.   Continued...