real-housewives

Despite alleged abuse, 'Housewife' still loves late husband

Feb. 6, 2012 at 9:04 AM ET

The suicide of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'" husband Russell Armstrong last August came as a shock. But equally shocking are the allegations of abuse from his widow Taylor Armstrong, generating even more questions about the nature of domestic violence and reality television's responsibilities.

Taylor Armstrong is now having her say in a new book, "Hiding from Reality." She sat down with TODAY's Savannah Guthrie to discuss what her marital relationship was really like -- including her unraveling on this season's "Real Housewives" episodes. In their discussion, she mentioned being a victim of low self-esteem from childhood who was driven to take a polygraph test to convince Russell she hadn't been unfaithful.

"I look at myself as someone who was clearly breaking down," she says of her scenes in the Bravo reality series. "I was trying to keep a lid on a boiling pot ... while trying to be in front of the cameras, and I could feel it was just seeping out."

She clarifies the impression that Russell had broken her jaw at one point, alleging instead that he "knocked my jaw out of the socket." And in that moment, she says she hit a low point: "Whenever I was on my knees over a toilet, with my jaw not in the place that it was supposed to be, there was saliva running out of my mouth, and I was thinking to myself 'How am I going to not call an ambulance? How am I going to protect him? I don't want him to go to jail. What do I do if I can't get my jaw back in place?' And just being over a toilet and the only thing I could think of was forget my jaw, I just want to protect him."

But even today, Taylor admits she still has complicated feelings about their relationship: "I loved him," she said. "I love him to this day and I miss him terribly."

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