The Dark Side of Reality TV
The death of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills husband Russell Armstrong puts the spotlight back on the price of reality TV fame. His suicide is not the first death to be linked to one of the flood of reality shows to hit the airwaves. INSI
The tragic suicide of Russell Armstrong has cast a harsh spotlight on the dark side of reality TV.
A staggering number of reality show contestants have either attempted or committed suicide!
"The danger of reality TV shows is the enormous public humiliation. The average person can't tolerate that kind of shame," says human behavior expert Wendy Walsh.
It's being reported that Armstrong was overwhelmed by his marital problems playing out on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Behind the scenes, he was clearly a very troubled man.
"If you are unstable, if you are feeling that the limelight is going to be the thing that solves your problems, then you should stay away from reality television," says Walsh.
Last year, Julien Hug, a former Bachelorette contestant, committed suicide. He was suffering from acute depression.
In 2009 Joseph Cerniglia, whose failing restaurant was featured on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in New York City.
And in an extreme case, Ryan Jenkins, a contestant on the VH1 reality show Megan Wants a Millionaire, committed suicide in 2009 in a Canadian hotel room, after apparently murdering wife Jasmine Fiore and dumping her body in a suitcase. That reality show never aired.
"If you're sensitive, you collapse," says Michaele Salahi.
Michaele and her husband Tareq faced a relentless barrage of criticism when they appeared on the show The Real Housewives of Washington, D.C.
"Russell was deep in debt, he was clearly living beyond his means. Is there a certain pressure to live a certain lifestyle?" INSIDE EDITION's Diane McInerney asks.
"The producers want you to do things that are exciting, extravagant, and that show a glitzy part of life. If you're not prepared mentally and you don't know what's going to be happening in your lives, you will have an incredible amount of pressure on you," says Tareq.
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