Real Housewife Crusades Against Domestic Violence

by Raphael Chestang 9:01 PM PDT, July 23, 2012
Playing Real Housewife Crusades Against Domestic Violence

In an exclusive video obtained by ET, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong addressed audience members at an anti-domestic violence convention on Sunday, revealing her personal struggles as a reported victim of the crime.

"I was stuck in a cycle," Taylor said about her marriage to Russell Armstrong, whom she was estranged from when he took his own life last year. "I so understand the women in your shelters and how they feel and how strong they have to be to finally take that step and walk out that door. It's so unbelievably hard."

RELATED: ET has First Interview with Taylor Armstrong

Taylor revealed that her relationship with Russell became progressively more abusive over time, and that -- because the mistreatment was applied gradually -- she adjusted to it, thinking that things would change.

"I remember the first time he grabbed me by the hair and banged my head against the side of our Mercedes after a party," said Taylor. "That was a favorite thing (for him to do) because you can't see the bumps and you can't see the bruises."

Taylor revealed that the switch came when she was lying in the hospital following surgery to save her right eye. Looking up at her mom and her best friend at her bedside, Taylor decided that she couldn't continue to put her loved ones through the pain of seeing her in such a harmful marriage.

The convention was hosted by National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Taylor's book, Hiding from Reality: My Story of Love, Loss and Finding the Courage Within, is available now.

Next, Taylor's taking her crusade to sea onboard a one-week Mexican Riviera cruise she's hosting with workshops and onboard and on-shore activities with participating passengers on relationship health and tell-tale signs of risk, fitness/diet/wellness and fun in the sun. Click here to learn more.