Ramon Singer calls Russell Armstrong's suicide "very tragic" but doesn't blame show

By Alla Byrne Jeffrey Slonim
September 05, 2011 05:30 PM
Joe Pugliese/Bravo

Just ahead of the season 2 premiere of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Monday, the stars of The Real Housewives of New York City are opening up about the suicide of Taylor Armstrong’s estranged husband, Russell.

“That made me cry,” Ramona Singer told PEOPLE before heading off to spend the Labor Day weekend aboard a 150-ft. yacht in Newport, R.I., and Nantucket, Mass. “[Taylor is] lovely and it’s hitting her hard. The night before the memorial service, I had dinner with [Taylor’s costars] Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards and we talked about it. And they’ve been so supportive.”

While some wonder if The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills may have pushed Armstrong to his breaking point, the ladies of New York City say the show isn’t at fault.

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“I think it is very tragic. But I don’t think that the reality show is to blame for his unfortunate death,” Singer said. “I think he had problems. And it’s sad when someone has so many problems, they feel the only way they can eliminate their pain is by taking their life.”

Kelly Bensimon, who called Taylor and Russell a “lovely couple,” agrees with her costar.

“I would never blame it on the show,” Bensimon said. “You don’t know what happens behind closed doors. And no one can judge. It’s no one’s job to do that. A lot of people speculate.”

While the reality show will premiere as planned and the suicide will be addressed, some of the Housewives see the tragedy as a private matter.

“My heart goes out to her and I’m here for her. But I never intrude,” Sonja Morgan told PEOPLE. “She knows I’m here, but sometimes being helpful is just staying out of someone’s business.”

“I don’t even feel comfortable talking about that publicly,” Alex McCord said of the suicide. “We did what we did privately. And that’s that.”

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