During her three seasons on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
, Taylor Armstrong became a fan favorite. After seeing her over-the-top parties, multimillion-dollar home and long list of celebrity friends, many thought she had it all. However, Taylor says she was a housewife with a secret: She endured years of physical and verbal abuse at the hands of her husband, Russell.
Having grown up without a father, Taylor says she found herself constantly turning to men for reassurance and self-worth. When she first met Russell, she says, they had a "whirlwind romance," but the "red flags" were there from the start. "He even went so far as to tell me, 'I'm not a good guy. You're a nice girl. You're not going to want to be with me,'" Taylor says.
The day they walked down the aisle, Taylor says, she knew something was off and that she was making a mistake. "He was already verbally abusing me," she says. "It was more than just walking on eggshells. It was like walking on land mines."
Taylor says that the first time Russell physically abused her was while she was pregnant with their daughter, Kennedy. "He choked me, and I should've walked out the door at that point, but I was torn because it was so important for me that she grow up with a father and in a financially stable home," she says.
During the three seasons that Taylor and Russell appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
, their troubled marriage became one of the series' plots. Finally, in 2011, Taylor admitted to her castmates that she was being abused.
In the above video, watch as Taylor opens up about the final punch she took from Russell, her decision to file for divorce and the day he committed suicide. Plus, find out how she found happiness with another man, about whom she says, "He stood by my side through the darkest days of my life."
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