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IMAGE: Kandi Burruss
Wilford Harewood  /  Bravo
"Real Housewives of Atlanta's" Kandi Burruss was on camera weeks after losing a former fiancé, and she now has advice for a fellow housewife in the franchise — Taylor Armstrong.
Hollywood Reporter
updated 9/13/2011 8:36:55 AM ET 2011-09-13T12:36:55

Kandi Burruss knows what it’s like to experience the death of a loved one while starring on a reality show. As one of the "Real Housewives of Atlanta," the 35-year-old songwriter and producer was in front of the cameras weeks after her ex-fiance Ashley "A.J." Jewell died of massive head trauma in October 2009. It’s one reason why she feels tremendous empathy for "Beverly Hills" housewife Taylor Armstrong, whose husband Russell committed suicide on August 15.

STORY: "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" Russell Armstrong Sober at Time of Death

“It kind of brought me back to that place when A.J. passed away,” Burruss told The Hollywood Reporter. “His death was unbelievable, first and foremost, and it's sad to me that she has to be overexposed in a time when she probably just wants to be alone.”

Burruss said Armstrong is likely overwhelmed “with all the press and people who coming out of the woodwork trying to talk to her” and can expect that “there will be a lot of people that show concern but then there are going to be times when she sees negative things and it will probably really cut deep.”

STORY: "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" Stars on Premiere, Russell Armstrong's Suicide

As someone uniquely qualified to comment on Armstrong’s situation, Burruss offered some advice: “The best thing Taylor can do is to keep pushing,” she said. “I know that sounds crazy. Like, Lord forbid you be out there having lunch and someone sees you smile and passes judgment. But even though you feel like everybody’s expecting you to stay in the house, you’ve got to keep yourself working and moving and doing things, because if she stops for a day or two, it's so easy to fall into a depression.”

VIDEO: "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" Premiere: Cast Members Discuss Russell Armstrong Suicide on "Today"

For the Sept. 5 season opener of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," Bravo had the ladies gather (sans Armstrong) to discuss the death and aired portions of that group discussion in advance of the first episode.

"Real Housewives of Atlanta" just finished shooting this week, Burruss revealed. A premiere date for season 4 has yet to be announced by the network.

Copyright 2012 The Hollywood Reporter

Video: Foul play in death of ‘Housewives’ husband?

  1. Closed captioning of: Foul play in death of ‘Housewives’ husband?

    >>> we'll begin with the death of the husband of real housewives beverly hills star taylor armstrong . the death was ruled a suicide, but now russell armstrong 's sister is claiming her brother did not kill himself . miguel almaguer is in los angeles with the latest on this story.

    >> reporter: betwegood morning. while his newly released autopsy declares his death a suicide, his sister says there is no doubt her brother was murdered.

    >> i'm married to russell armstrong . he's a venture capitalist and investment banker .

    >> what's the latest with your little company?

    >> reporter: on real housewives of beverly hills , their marriage was seen crumbling.

    >> russell and i are so disconnected lately.

    >> reporter: reality stars russell and taylor armstrong were in the middle of a divorce when last month his body was found hanging inside this hollywood hills home. russell 's wife was there during the 911 call.

    >> it's all right, it's all right.

    >> it's not all right. oh, my god.

    >> reporter: his death would be ruled a suicide.

    >> it was his choice.

    >> reporter: but russell 's sister says it was murder.

    >> from the minute i got the call, i knew that it was not suicide.

    >> reporter: lori kelso was planning to visit her brother in the days before he died.

    >> i wished i had gone, but --

    >> reporter: she says he would have never left his children behind despite any trouble he may have been in.

    >> i don't know if it was something within the marriage. i don't know if it was business. or the show. who knows.

    >> reporter: russell was said to be in deep debt before he died. the couple's glitzy glamorous lifestyle, more show than reality.

    >> i would say our marriage is about 80% business and 20% romance.

    >> reporter: according to an autopsy report released wednesday, russell was depressed due to financial and relationship problems. the coroner's report says there was no sign of foul play. and orange extension cord was found wrapped twice between his neck, his bruised legs between a bench. the founder of the website called the fix says he was trying to broker a deal with his company just days before he tied.

    >> that's not the attitude of a man who is thinking of killing himself in a week.

    >> reporter: today for russell armstrong 's family, shock and grief have turned it questions. they say if the death wasn't suicide, it must have been murder. this morning the lapd says they have no new information that would make them reopen this case, but that's exactly what russell armstrong 's family wants. they say they'll hire a private detective to help dig up new information about what they call, quote, the truth behind his death.

    >> sounds like a story that