"I was saying, 'Do you miss daddy?' And she said, 'No. N-O,' " Taylor Armstrong said of her daughter, Kennedy

By Natalie Stone
March 18, 2019 04:15 PM
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Nearly eight years after her late ex-husband Russell Armstrong died by suicide, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Taylor Armstrong is trying to keep his memory alive for the sake of their daughter.

Speaking with attorney Laura Wasser on her podcast, Divorce Sucks!, Taylor, 47, recalled the day she discovered her ex in the home that he had moved into after their split.

“I went to go meet him one day and his office was dark and he wasn’t there and he was a workaholic, so it was completely unusual for that to be the case,” Taylor said in audio obtained by The Blast. “I just had this sinking feeling that something terrible had happened.”

“It had never crossed my mind in the past. He was very narcissistic and not someone who you would ever think would take their life. But ultimately, I found him hanging in the house that he had move into,” she explained.

At the time, their daughter Kennedy was 5 and Taylor had already filed for divorce after Russell had “fractured” her orbital floor, the former Bravo personality said. (She filed for divorce on July 15, 2011 from Russell, citing physical and verbal abuse.)

In August 2011, Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Richard French confirmed to PEOPLE “that Mr. Armstrong was found dead from an apparent hanging in a residence on Mulholland Drive.”

According to Los Angeles Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter, Armstrong was pronounced dead by paramedics at 8:16 p.m. “There was no suicide note found,” Winter told PEOPLE.

When Taylor went to the home where Russell was residing, her daughter was with her. Thankfully, though, Kennedy “was in the car” with her assistant when Russell’s body was discovered.

Credit: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

“I had gone to the house. I had been calling him all day. No answer. I just knew something had gone wrong,” she explained. “I went to the house. I had a friend of mine’s husband meet me there who was a world championship kick boxer, just in case things were to go awry. My little girl was in the car with my assistant. Again, because I never assumed it was going to be something so catastrophic.”

Taylor told Wasser, “After I found him, I ran into the street where they were parked and I was on the ground and quite hysterical of course. Then, all of a sudden, it just occurred to me that she was there. And so we had her nanny come to the end of the street and my assistant drove her down so that the emergency vehicles wouldn’t be any more of a chaotic scene than it already was.”

Prior to Russell’s death, the former couple’s relationship troubles were documented on season 1 of RHOBH.

Still, Taylor has tried to keep positive memories of Russell’s life alive for Kennedy’s sake.

“My psychiatrist had said to continue to bring up her father to her so that she doesn’t think people just disappear,” Taylor told Wasser.

Unfortunately, she said Kennedy, who is now 12, has unpleasant memories of her father.

“I was saying, ‘Do you miss daddy?’ And she said, ‘No. N-O.’ And I said, ‘Well, I miss him sometimes. Do you remember when we went to Hawaii?’ and I was trying to give her some references,” said Taylor. “She waited for a minute and then she said, ‘Mommy, why would you miss a boy that screamed at you all the time?’ ”

In the time since Taylor’s painful divorce, she has found love again.

This April, Taylor and her attorney husband John Bluher will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

“I definitely believe the universe put John in my path for a reason,” Taylor, who became friends with Bluher when he was helping her sort out legal issues following Russell’s death, told PEOPLE at the time of their nuptials in 2014. “We were meant to be.”

“John loves me for exactly who I am,” said Taylor. “I just know there will never be enough days with him.”

In October 2015, she gave a sweet shout-out to Bluher on social media.

“Happy Birthday to my handsome, loving husband @johnbluher,” she said. “I love you, cherish you and respect you deeply. Kennedy & I are so blessed.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.orgthis link opens in a new tab.

If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.