LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marred by a tragic suicide, reality television show "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" kept to its scheduled debut on Monday night, opening with a distinct message for its viewers, "Life goes on. It has to."
Late last month the show, a popular fixture on the Bravo TV network, was rocked by the suicide of Russell Armstrong, the estranged husband of housewife, Taylor Armstrong.
Armstrong hanged himself at home after his wife filed for divorce and during a period of financial stress. Their breakup had been expected to be a key part of the plot for season No. 2, which premiered, as planned, Monday night after some industry watchers said the show should not go on.
But the season had already been filmed, causing Bravo to tape a new opening to the season in which all the housewives in the saga about rich and pampered people in Beverly Hills gathered to talk about Armstrong's death.
The women -- including Camille Grammer who had previously gone through a divorce with her husband, actor Kelsey Grammer, as well as Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle Richards and her sister Kim Richards -- with some of their husbands opened the show talking about Russell Armstrong's death.
Kyle Richards summed up the segment saying many husbands see their spouses leave them and suffer through hard times without resorting to suicide.
"There's plenty of men that, you know, their wives leave them and they don't kill themselves. You cannot feel responsible for that, nobody can. It was his choice," Richards said. "As difficult as that is, life goes on. It has to."
Taylor Armstrong was not part of the show's opening.
They all seemed to agree they needed to support their friend in her time of need. Some of the women said they had no idea of Russell Armstrong's mental state, and they discussed the financial stress of keeping up with friends and neighbors in wealthy Beverly Hills.
"A lot of us have some guilt about not seeing this coming," Richards said.
(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte)