Taylor Armstrong Opens Up to Dr. Phil About Russell's Suicide

Entertainment Sep. 21, 2011 AT 3:05PM

As the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills continues to document the crumbling marriage of Taylor Armstrong and her late husband Russell, Taylor is speaking out about her estranged spouse's death.

In an interview with Dr. Phil airing Thursday (check local listings), Taylor, 40, reveals that the presence of reality cameras may have kept her alive during her abusive marriage to Russell.

VIDEO: How Taylor and Russell struggled during their marriage

"I can't say what he was thinking at the time [of his death], but what I can say is that I believe that if it weren't for the cameras, there's a chance i wouldn't be sitting here with you today," Taylor told Dr. Phil.

PHOTOS: Unforgettable drama in first season of RHOBH

According to a coroner's report, Russell, a venture capitalist, was depressed about his relationship and mounting financial issues at the time of his Aug. 15 suicide. Russell's mother, John Ann Hotchkiss, firmly believes that her son's money woes became unbearable once they were exposed on national TV.

"I began to notice things starting to fray when the television thing came into being, and I was very concerned," Hotchkiss said in a statement to HLN's Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell earlier this month. "What bothered me the most was…he would be bashed by some of the other cast members…The program itself really brought him down."

VIDEO: Taylor opens up to Us about her Housewives costars

At one point, Hotchkiss says, her son broke down. "'Mom, they're just going to crucify me this season,'" he told his mother. "And he said, 'I don't know what to do. I'll never survive it.'"

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