Some might condemn reality TV, but "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Taylor Armstrong says it saved her life.
The reality star sat down with Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson on Wednesday where she spoke candidly about how she and 5-year-old daughter Kennedy are putting their lives back together after the tragic suicide of her estranged husband, Russell Armstrong.
"When I originally signed up for the show, I think part of my motivation, whether I realized it or not, was that having cameras in my life provided a protection," Taylor told Shaun during a visit to the set of Ciroc and Bravo's New Year's Eve commercial, promoting an upcoming December 31 event involving various "Real Housewives" franchise stars in Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
"I assumed and felt that no one would be violent with a camera rolling on them, and be on their best behavior... My hope was that it would stop the cycle, stop the anger," she explained. "It would either protect me or it would force the marriage to be over. I couldn't make a decision either way because I wasn't strong enough. It provided a layer of protection, and at the same time... I think it gave me the strength to leave."
Taylor claims the abuse from Russell continued when the cameras were not present, but is thankful the situation didn't end even more tragically.
"I'd say he pretty much had his guard up all the time when the cameras were around," she said of Russell, who committed suicide on August 15. "Most of these cases end in a murder/suicide and I'm just really fortunate that Kennedy and I are not a statistic."
Taylor went on to explain how she told her daughter about the news of her father's death, and how the 5-year-old is coping.
"She just knows that Daddy got sick. We don't describe it as an illness that you and I get, but that Daddy was sick in his mind. That's about as far as we've gone right now," she told Shaun. "There are people who've advised me to tell her much more. As a mother, I have to go with my gut for now, and decide when I feel she's ready."
The Bravo star said getting Kennedy back to her usual life has been important during this hard time.
"It was a blessing that everything occurred right around the time that school was back in session. So, she got back into a routine fairly quickly... just being around her friends again has been so helpful. Just letting her feel like a child, and not having this heavy weight on her shoulders," Taylor continued.
The reality star did acknowledge that her daughter did witness a lot of painful things after Taylor ended up in the hospital following Russell's alleged abuse.
"Kennedy saw too much and she visited me in the hospital when I had reconstructive surgery on my eye. She wanted to see me and I have - as you know - a titanium implant supporting my right eye now. She came to the hospital to see me, so that was something she went through. But she doesn't know where that came from" Taylor said. "We'll choose a right time to explain things to her, but it will be with therapists there, and people who can guide that conversation, because I want her to love him as her father."
Taylor also wants to ensure that her daughter will not encounter similar issues later in her own life.
"I also want to make sure that we break the cycle of violence and that she doesn't end up in an unhealthy relationship because she saw an unhealthy relationship in her own household," she said.
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