An original cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Taylor Armstrong had some of the heaviest storylines in her three seasons on the Bravo series. With cameras rolling, co-star Camille Grammer (now Meyer) revealed that Taylor’s husband, Russell Armstrong, physically abused her in Season 1, which began airing in 2010. Citing physical and verbal abuse, Taylor filed for divorce in July 2011, and one month later, Russell died by suicide. Though she continued filming, the aftermath of her estranged husband’s death was a large part of the reason Taylor left RHOBH ahead of 2013’s Season 4.
In an October 2020 “Life After Bravo” interview, Taylor explained she’d first considered leaving RHOBH when Camille “outed” her domestic abuse at Lisa Vanderpump’s tea party. “I knew in that moment that my life was about to change,” she recalled. “I didn’t know if that meant my life would be over or my life would get better or I would get divorced. It was a very scary moment for me.”
Regardless, Taylor remained “supportive of Season 2 airing,” despite all of her personal turmoil. Her intention, she said, was to be transparent about what she’d gone through and to show viewers that there is “hope on the other side.” By the end of RHOBH’s third season, she realized that it was time for her and her daughter Kennedy, who is now 16 years old, to step away from the spotlight.
“After Season 3 and all that I was going through in my life, I decided I needed to take some time away from L.A. and all of the paparazzi,” Taylor elaborated to Bravo. “It was a little bit frightening for a while ‘cause I couldn’t go anywhere and I had my little girl and I wanted to take her away for a while and not have her exposed to people constantly yelling and asking me questions about what had happened.” So they relocated to Vail, Colorado, where Taylor says she took some time to “let go of what had happened and try to find myself again.”
Following the hiatus, Taylor — who saw a fame resurgence in 2019 as the “yelling woman” in that viral Smudge the Cat meme — is now returning to TV on Peacock’s The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club among a cast of fellow Housewives alums, including Dorinda Medley, Jill Zarin, Phaedra Parks, Eva Marcille, Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Judge, and, yes, RHOBH nemesis Brandi Glanville. This time around, though, Taylor, who married attorney John Bluher in December 2020, said she is a “stronger” person than she was when she and Brandi “used to fight” on RHOBH.
“The fun thing about Ultimate Girls Trip for me is my life is so different now,” she recently told Los Angeles Magazine. “When I was on Beverly Hills, I was so stressed out in my home life with the abuse and everything I was going through. I couldn’t really be myself, and now that I have evolved so much and I’m back to being the original me, I’m even stronger and better. It was so much more fun for me so I really cherish Ultimate Girls Trip.”
The experience was so positive, in fact, that Orange County-based Taylor revealed she “would definitely go back” to RHOBH, if the opportunity presented itself. Stay tuned.