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'Housewives' taking 'the higher road' after season premiere

Adam Olszewski / Bravo

Left to right: Taylor Ford-Armstrong, Camille Grammer, Lisa Vanderpump-Todd, Kyle Richards-Umansky, Kim Richards, Adrienne Maloof

Those "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" are showing more and more each day just how real they can get. Faced with the suicide of Russell Armstrong, husband of castmate Taylor Armstrong, they've been asked repeatedly to share their feelings not just on the tragedy, but on whether the show played any role in it. 

That can make for some challenging conversation, as housewives Adrienne Maloof, Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump revealed yesterday on TODAYwhen they joined the show to preview the premiere. Their return engagement this morning, with TODAY's Ann Curry, provided much of the same: Three women who walk a fine line as both empathetic friends and show supporters.

Curry asked the trio about the Los Angeles Times' review of the show, which indicated the season should have been scrapped after Armstrong's death.

"We didn't see the review," said Richards. "It's very difficult in a situation like this. Yes, we shot this six months ago, and I think Bravo has tried to handle this as responsibly and respectfully as possible. … But the show is not just about them, it's about six women and their lives. Yes, they are a part of it, but there's also so much going on in the show."

From "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," Adrienne Maloof, Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump discuss the controversial season premiere and the depiction of Russell Armstrong, the husband of one of their cast members, who recently committed suicide.

"I don't think even Taylor was aware of his mental state," said Vanderpump.

Added Maloof, "(Russell) always had a wall up, so none of us really could ever have predicted this would happen."

Instead, the housewives and Bravo are promoting their decision to go on with the series as a chance to educate and enlighten about suicide issues.

"I actually did research about suicide and it's the third leading cause of death amongst young adults and teenagers," said Maloof. "Those statistics are very scary. So if we get the word out to look for the warning signs ... this is the perfect platform for that."

"We've had enormous, overwhelming support on Twitter and Facebook, with people thanking us for addressing this," said Richards.

"I believe that the network and with us, we agreed to take the higher road and to do something positive, which is to get the message out about suicide prevention," said Maloof. "Taking a negative and make it positive."

And that appears to be the "Real" challenge here.

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