Bravo’s Andy Cohen talks about ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ suicide

While Andy Cohen was on hand at press tour to discuss his Bravo late night talk show, “Watch What Happens: Live,” expanding to five nights a week (Sun. through Thurs.) this week, but it came as no surprise that questions about the recent suicide of Russell Armstrong, husband of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Taylor Armstrong, came up during a panel.

Cohen’s interview with Taylor shortly after her husband’s death was, as expected, a challenge given the playful tone of the show. “Yeah, I thought a lot about it and what I wanted to do was maintain the integrity of what we do at ‘Watch What Happens: Live,’ which is fun,” Cohen said. “We’re a fun show. That’s our biggest kind of word that we associate with. So this was an interview obviously that was very serious.  And she also wanted to have fun on the show… but the audience hadn’t seen her really that much and it wasn’t necessarily time to be fun, so we spent the first 10 minutes of the show talking seriously, took a break and then went into the fun, so we did think about that.  And also… we taped the reunion that week and we talked a lot about every serious thing you could imagine, and that’s a better forum for that conversation anyway.”

Given that Russell’s mother claims that her son told her, “They’re going to crucify me this season… I’ll never survive it,” Cohen was asked how he felt about including the Russell-Taylor storyline in the show. “Well, we had had many discussions, as you can imagine, and for a long time, about how to do this, serious discussions.  And I think what emerged is the story of a woman trying to extricate herself from a bad… marriage in which she was unhappy where domestic violence was playing a part, and that was the story that wound up emerging from the season.” 
Cohen also said that, despite allegations that Russell was unhappy with the show, his experience with the businessman was quite the opposite. “He was given the option to come back or not come back [for season two] and he chose to come back.  He had spoken to producers a lot vocally about how much the show had helped his business, being on the show.  So… you know, I can’t speak for him.”