UPDATED BELOW: Russell Armstrong was more than $1.5 million in debt at the time of his suicide Monday, according to his attorney, and his mother told Headline News that he was dreading the way he would be portrayed in the upcoming season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. “Before the new season even started, before he took his life, he said, ‘Mom, they’re just going to crucify me this season,’” John Ann Hotchkiss told HLN’s Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell. “He said, ‘I don’t know what to do. I’ll never survive it.’”
Armstrong’s attorney Ronald Richards told ABC News that the show’s celebration of outrageous excess plunged Armstrong into debt “as a result of trying to keep up with expectations for the lavish lifestyle portrayed on the show.
“These couples join these shows, and then they keep trying to outdo each other and they end up spending all their money trying to sustain a lifestyle that’s unrealistic and wasn’t there prior to the show,” continued Richards. “The weekly social events, the dinners and all the BS, trying to pretend you have unlimited resources in Beverly Hills is tough. When every night is a potential sound bite or posting on a website, you end up getting addicted to it, you go out all the time.”
Bravo declined to comment on these remarks. The network currently has Housewives scheduled for a Sept. 5 premiere, but recent events have brought into question whether the network will still air the show as planned.