It’s not often that our Real Housewives coverage and our handbag coverage intersect, but sometimes when a reality TV star finds herself in financial straits, the stuff in her closet is all she has left with which to barter. (Side note: Why do people in financial distress find themselves so attracted to television? Bravo doesn’t pay that well.)

That’s apparently what happened to Taylor Armstrong of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame, who recently settled a lawsuit that had been brought against her and her late husband Russell over allegations that they defrauded for over $1.5 million while they claimed to seek funding for the company’s growth. Because Russell hanged himself last year and the truth finally came out about the couple’s financial situation (they were flat broke, they had few liquid assets and they rented their massive home), Taylor had to turn over her personal property to work toward fulfilling the settlement. That included some of her handbag collection, but as it turns out, the Birkins were all as fake as her lips.

The information released about Armstrong’s situation doesn’t explain exactly how the Birkins were determined to be fake, but Styleite reports that MMR’s CEO Robert Lorsch considers the lawsuit settled as a result of the forfeiture of Taylor’s engagement ring, worth about $250,000. So what’s the deal with Taylor’s Birkins? I guess that depends on what you think of Taylor and her relative propensity to tell the truth.

On the one hand, the bags may have been gifts from her husband, a noted grifter and spousal abuser who certainly wouldn’t have been above lying about where he got a handbag that was supposed to be not only a status symbol for his trophy wife, but also proof of his own financial prowess to all of their friends. In that scenario, perhaps Taylor didn’t knowingly seek to defraud MMR. For the second time, in case you’re counting.

Or maybe Taylor knew they were fake all along, which is probably the compelling scenario if you think Taylor was complicit in all of her husband’s fraud. She certainly seems to have been highly involved in some areas of his business dealings, and even if she does claim that the bags were gifts of unknown provenance, I’m not sure I or anyone else will believe her. And considering that Taylor just tried to bilk him out of more money, this time with fake bags, Lorsch’s statement that he considers the matter closed seems…generous.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Rashida

    Poor thing… She has been through a whole lot, and I just don’t see her as a person that would willingly support fakes. I think her husband put on airs…

    • Poor thing, my ass.  She was involved as her husband in their scams to steal money, in one case an elderly woman’s life savings, so the only thing this degenerate is worthy of is some jail time.

    • Reality Junkie

      Oh mu goodness, Rashida, I think you have been snookered! This woman is one slick, lying, manipulative social climber…don’t let her fool you! It is well documented that she was complicit in her husband’s schemes to take money under false pretenses and use said money to finance their lavish lifestyle. He did her a favor when he hanged himself and gave her the opportunity to feign ignorance. I’m sorry if I sound harsh but I never trusted her from the beginning and have read enough and observed enough of this “grieving widow’s” behavior to feel absolutely confident that she has more skeletons in her closet than you could fit in a hundred phony Birkins.

      • Rashida

         I just don’t want to believe it :(

  • Relli

    YES! Amanda I was really hoping you cover this, even though we weren’t in the middle of RHOBH. I tend to believe that Shana Ford knew that they were fake and didn’t think anyone would notice. This is a person whose credit card has been rejected at Starbucks, delusions of grandeur don’t just go away.

  • Kemilia

    I would think that she would know if they were fake or not, and the other Housewives also–those women know their stuff so if she carried fake Birkins, I would think at least one of them would have noticed and say something to someone (the Housewives in general are catty).

    • ace

      I agree she knew bc she was a con but some of the best cons carry fakes and knock offs, and there personality can con even the best of us! Also, on that show I rarely seen any of the ladies with purses to often, if it was one then it was a clutch and they can be easily over looked if you are at a event where everyone is tipsy quite often and you have drama and chaos going on to take attention away from little things, She choose a good group and situation to con. She is going to play dumb however bc he killed himself, who wouldn’t? so, in a strange messed up way he cared about her and the child bc he presented that option.

  • That’s terrible. Don’t know where she got this fake Birkin.:(

  • pe.riche.

    And this is why I stand by my notion that those who truly have profound amounts of money do not engage in reality shows, nor do they feel the need to boast about how much money they have. Those who sincerely have deep pockets fly below the radar, and needen’t shout their net worth from the roof top.

    • mollysmom

      Totally agree with you. My husband does contracting in the old money part of our east coast city. He always says the folks with millions (and I am talking old money families, the kind who’s names are on banks) are always the ones you’d least expect. They drive old Volvo and Mercedes, and wear beat up cords. Yes they may have a birkin but they do not brag about it!

  • I’m not sure I or anyone else will believe her. And considering that
    Taylor just tried to bilk him out of more money, this time with fake
    bags, Lorsch’s statement that he considers the matter closed

  • FashionableLena

    Taylor can’t be that delusional to think that someone wouldn’t make sure that those bags were real before being sold/auctioned off.  But I think that the two of them were grifters and scammers. I feel more sorry that their daughter, Kennedy, has to be raised by her. 
    She needs to suck it up like Tamra did.  Rent a small townhouse with enough room for the two of them and get a job.

  • anonymous

    Not at all shocked that Taylor’s Berkins are fake. And I think Bob Lorsch was on Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis this season.  He was the one with the giant statue by the trash cans, I think.

  • beautiful dress with beautiful handbag

  • blazedog

    Of course she knew they were fake. 

    The other women wouldn’t know they were fake although since they knew her financial condition, I am sure they thought she was an idiot for spending money she didn’t have on bags. But she was also fronting money in other areas so the bags were only a small part of her fake lifestyle.

    In my experience, women who have real bags generally can’t recognize good replica bags when they are being worn by other women. I know a lot of wealthy women in Beverly Hills who have replica bags as well as authentic Hermes, Vuitton etc. and can’t tell the difference.

    • disqus_zz4sbi8Yzv

      This is very untrue. I collect authentic designer handbags and I can spot a replica in a heart beat.

  • Fiona-Brasil

    Excuse me!But I am trying to find an article I saw about the amount of fake Birkins on eBay….Was it on Purseblog or I misundertood ?

    • Fiona-Brasil

      I found it.It is in the UK Daily Mail!
      Multi-million-dollar counterfeit Birkin ring revealed to be run by Hermes STAFF as police bust global knock-off operation

  • Dead against buying fake products. It’s illegal, immoral and harms the economy at large. Nothing beats the real thing, spread the word and fight against fakes (including fake people). Kind regards to all, Oliana –

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  • 19yearslater

    I don’t know. But she probably carried these bags on the show, yes? And handbag lovers certainly watched it. So it’s plausible that she didn’t know. 

  • Jackiee1970

    I think it’s plausible also that she didn’t know… BUT.. wouldn’t you have your bags authenticated before you tried to sell them after all the fraud claims you’d already been through?!? DUMB!

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  • Paula

    It is the poor children that I feel sorry for – No father and a broke neurotic mother