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.
“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.”
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.”
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.