Russell committed suicide on Monday night at a friend’s house. He did not leave a note behind.
“None of us believe he was capable of taking his own life,” continues Laurie. “None of this makes sense. He was full of life and never showed any signs of being suicidal. We spoke quite a bit and the last time we spoke which was last week, he was more concerned about me than himself.”
Laurie confirms Russell was beside himself with grief over his troubled marriage with Taylor. “He did say that he was completely devastated that Taylor wanted a divorce. When he first met Taylor he told me, ‘She’s the one, I have finally met the one!’ Russell is not just Taylor’s estranged husband, he was a father, a brother, a son, an uncle and a grandson.”
Russell very much blamed the RHOBH for ruining his marriage, and Laurie agrees the show drastically affected both him and Taylor. “Everything between him and Taylor changed when she was chosen to be on the show. Yes, they had their problems like any other married couple but the show always edited the footage to make it seem like he was this terrible person. He was always trying to better himself and make amends. Yes, he had a lot of anger issues but he dealt with it and was always trying to make himself a better person but the show dragged him down. At first he was so excited that Taylor got cast and I remember saying to him, ‘Are you sure you want cameras following you around all the time?’ He just seemed so happy for Taylor because this is what she wanted, she wanted to be a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, it was her dream.”
Laurie reveals Russell has been incredibly caring and thoughtful to his family, and was of particular help to her while she fought a meth addiction. “No one really knows my brother, the son who brought our mom out to California when our step-dad passed away. He got her an apt and made sure she was ok during such a difficult time. The brother who knew I was struggling with drug abuse and made sure I got the proper treatment. He knew something was wrong with me and flew me out to LA. He paid for my to go to rehab at the Malibu Beach Treatment Center. I was there for meth addiction and then lived in a sober living house in Brentwood for six months. He visited all of the time.”
Russell’s sister, who now lives in Denton, Texas, credits him for her recovery, and it pains her to know how much he was suffering his final weeks. “In the last couple of weeks Russell reached out to our grandma and said he was struggling, she told him to put it in God’s hands.”
This story is such a tragedy, our thoughts are with Russell’s family and children at this difficult time.
Reporting by Sandra Clark
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