Even casual fans of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills knew that Taylor and Russell Armstrong were struggling in their marriage -- and when Taylor, 40, filed for divorce from Russell, 47, on July 15, few were shocked.
But family, friends and Housewives devotees were devastated and floored with news that Russell hanged himself in an apparent suicide at an L.A. residence Monday -- a month to the day after Taylor's divorce filing.
"He was so angry about everything," a close friend of Russell told Us Weekly on Tuesday. "But never did anyone suspect he would kill himself."
Explains the mourning pal: "He had lost everything, Taylor, his daughter [Kennedy, 5], he was being sued." (Late last month, both Taylor and Russell were sued for MyMedicalRecords.com for allegedly scamming investors out of $1.5 million.)
"He felt totally out of control of his own life," his friend says. "Everything was spinning out of control.
Adds another insider close to the estranged couple: "Russell was dealing with a heavy amount of emotional and familial distress. His life was in shambles."
Before Taylor finally filed for divorce, the second source tells Us, the couple "did finally start counseling but it only helped minimally...It was just a very, very unhealthy relationship.
Indeed, two weeks before her estranged husband's death, Taylor herself spoke to Us in August 1, about how her decision to leave Russell, who she claimed was abusive.
"I'm healing. I still feel a sense of loss," she told Us about the split. "But I'm so focused on my daughter right now and trying to keep her life as consistent as possible."
At the time, she said she and Russell were "amicable, especially when it comes to our child and visitiation. We're trying to be the best parents we can to her."
If you think you or a loved one are in an emotional or suicidal crisis, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online, or call 800.273.TALK.