Russell Armstrong, the private equity manager-turned-reality television star, was found dead at the home of a friend in Los Angeles yesterday. The cause of death is believed to be suicide.
Armstrong and his now-estranged wife, Taylor, were featured on Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills—with him playing the role of the "workaholic asshole husband." But before his star turn, Taylor specialized in early-stage private equity; at the time of his death, he was running the private merchant banking firm, Crescent Financial Partners, that he founded.
Taylor Armstrong filed for divorce last month after six years of marriage. She accused her husband of abusing her. In addition, People magazine reported last month that both Armstrongs were being sued by a company in which a company run by Russell Armstrong owned an interest for $1.5 million. Armstrong had dismissed that lawsuit as a shakedown.
Although published reports have indicated that Armstrong's death was a suicide, the Los Angeles coroner has not yet ruled on a cause of death. No suicide note was discovered at the Mulholland Drive home where his body was found.
In an interview with FINalternatives earlier this summer, Armstrong said that despite the stress put on his life by the television show and the unfortunate revelations about his past—his filing for bankruptcy, his conviction for tax evasion—he'd recommend others take the opportunity, should it be presented.
"It's not everyday you wake up and you're on the number one TV show on cable," he said. "It's been kind of like getting an MBA in entertainment for me."
In addition to his wife, Armstrong, who was 47, is survived by a five-year-old daughter.