If you are a stay at home mom like me, any break you get from baby caring and housework is spent in front of the TV. Getting some time to relax and rewind is essential to parenting. One of the best things are our guilty pleasure shows, my go to station for this is TLC. Their “real-life” programming always gets me hooked, and I can not help but watch any and everything that they play.
TLC has been under fire for some questionable programming, that it is not “real” or if it is, it is blown way out of proportion for ratings sake. It probably is, but isn’t that the goal? To make money? One of the shows they play that gets a lot of attention, is their hit ‘Sister Wives.’
Sister wives, follows the life of Kody Brown, who is a polygamist, which means he has multiple wives. Kody has four wives to be exact; Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn. All together, they have 18 children. They originally lived in Utah, but polygamy is not legal there so they relocated to Nevada. This is what makes this show so controversial, but controversy sells, doesn’t it? In this case, it does, as the show is a hit.
The family stated they agreed to make this show as a way to combat prejudices people had when it came to polygamous families and it generally bring more education. Their lives have become public knowledge, and have received a lot of harsh judgements and questioning. While, we may think we know a lot about this family, there are 15 things we may not know, that will shock us more than we already are.
15 How Does He Get Away With It?
While we all know that polygamy in the United States is not legal, he manages to get away with it. Not only does he get away with it, but he puts his life on national television. Is that not like tattling on yourself? There was already pressure to move out of Utah and make the move to Nevada due to legal troubles, so how does he really get away with it.
Kody states that the reason he has not broken any laws, is because he is only legally married to one woman (Meri). The rest of his relationships are just considered sacred unions. What makes this even more shocking, is that in 2014, Meri legally divorced Kody, so that his 4th wife, Robyn could legally marry him as her children with him needed his benefits. Seems like he found a loophole.
14 Speaking Of Divorces
It can be pretty hard to keep track of all the wives, and their order in the family, so I am going to do my best to not confuse anyone in this article. We already know that Kody has four wives, Janelle, who is wife # 2 was actually in a marriage before Kody. Her marriage was to Meri’s brother, before they divorced. Meri, is Kody’s first wife. Janelle divorced her first husband, after only two years of marriage in 1990.
What is interesting is this divorce came AFTER she met Kody. She claims that she felt a strong connection with Kody. It is unclear on how the relationship started, but in a book, Kody stated that Janelle made the first move. He stated he felt it was only right, because he was a married man and it wouldn’t be fair for him to initiate a relationship.
13 More Odd Family Relationships
If the divorce-triangle was not weird enough, there is even more family connections that make this whole family a little “odd”. Kody and his wives have many children, and they all have different connections. Some are full siblings, half siblings and then step siblings. It can be hard to keep track of who is who to who (see how confusing event that sentence was?).
Kody’s second wife, Janelle, had started courting with Kody, and it deeply disturbed a lot of her family. With the exception of her mother, Sheryl. It made Sheryl very curious about this lifestyle, and decided to enter into a polygamist family by marrying Kody’s father, Winn. She wed Winn only 3 months before Kody and Janelle entered into their sacred union. This made Kody and his new “wife” step-siblings.
12 Bankruptcy Woes
No one likes to file for bankruptcy, it is something people go to great lengths to avoid. Not the Brown family. Almost every single adult member of this family has had to file for bankruptcy at some point. Janelle (second wife) filed in 1997, in 2005 Kody and Meri (first wife) filed together. Then in 2010, the third wife (Christine) filed as well.
The fourth wife, Robyn, has not had to file for bankruptcy (yet) but she does carry a lot of debt from her divorce. Where is all the money going? Well, we don’t know for sure, but each wife does have their own home, and they all have a combined 18 children that need to be cared for. Polygamy does not come cheap, most men have a hard time providing for one wife, let alone 4.
11 Surrogate Drama
Even with all of the children in the homes, there is still that urge for more. Meri, Kody’s first wife, was only ever able to carry one child to term. As anyone can imagine, this was hard on Meri and the family. She struggled emotionally about this, and soon had intense feelings of jealousy. It was hard for her to sit and watch all the other wives repeatedly carry and birth children to Kody.
The fourth wife, Robyn, in an attempt to show her commitment to the family offered herself up to be a surrogate for Meri. Meri was very optimistic about this, but she was shocked when she found out that Kody was not. He stated that it was going against nature, and they he feels the two should not have any more children.
Maybe it was the lack of ability to carry a child, and Kody’s response to it that caused our next controversy. Meri began to engage in an online affair with a man named Sam. Whatever the reasons, no one deserves what happened to Meri next. This man she was talking to, turned out to be a woman named Jackie. Meri was catfished.
Jackie catfished Meri by preying on her loneliness. Meri was embarrassed as she felt that she was really falling in love with this man. To make matters worse, Meri had to confess all of this to the entire family after she started receiving some pretty serious threats. It was discussed in a 2015 tell all episode of Sister wives. Kody struggled with this new information, but has always said he is trying to repair his relationship.
9 Does The Apple Fall Far From The Tree?
It is a common wonder, if the apple falls far from the tree or not. It usually seems like it doesn’t, meaning that who we are and what our beliefs are, usually stem from the environment in which we are raised. Makes sense, our parents are the ones who shape us and instill morals and values in us. It may be safe to assume, that the children who grew up in the Brown family, may follow their family’s footsteps.
It may shock you to know this is not entirely true. With 18 children, a lot of them are entering into adulthood and making decision for themselves. One of the oldest children, Aspyn, has stated that she does not want to enter into a plural marriage, and that “none of us want to.” I wonder if dad Kody is happy or sad that none of his children will be following in his footsteps.
8 Exhausting Rotation
Many who have not seen the show, may wonder how they manage. How can a man possibly have four wives, and keep them all happy. The truth is, the families used to all live in one large house in Utah. After an investigation was launched against Kody and his polygamous ways, the family moved to Nevada. Now, each wife and their respective families live in separate houses on one cul-de-sac.
Kody follows a strict schedule, which has him staying at a different house each night. Each wife has their allotted time with their husband. Christine, the third wife, is happy with this arrangement, she does not know if she could handle having a man around all the time. I wonder if there is any negotiations on changing days.
7 It wasn’t Always Four
There was a time when there where only three sister wives, and not four. Kody’s second wife, Janelle (the one who was married to Meri’s brother and who is Kody’s step-sister) reached a point where she left the family. After the birth of one of her children, Janelle suffered from some pretty sever post-partum depression. Add this with an explosive fight with Meri and large financial problems, she left.
Janelle went back home, and moved in with her mother. She attended school and gained a bit of independence for herself. This lasted two years until she returned to the family. She stated that she came back because they had a larger house and there was some divide between all of the families. Some say having a large family is a good thing, there are a lot of people to turn too for support and encouragement. I guess, it is not that way for all!
6 Sex Life, Or Lack Of
Now, we will turn our attention to the main star of the show, polygamist Kody Brown. A lot of people may assume that a man who has four wives, must get a lot of action, all the time. Well, you wouldn’t be more wrong in this situation. Just as Kody is only legally married to one of the women, he also only has sex with one of the woman.
The wife who gets all of Kody’s sexual attention is his newest wife, Robyn. She is also his youngest wife, whether this is why or just coincidence is up for debate. This has understandably caused some jealousy and fights within the family. He has children with all of his wives, so things were not always this way. I can only assume the other wives feel left out and possibly really awful about themselves.
5 Another Sister For The Family
One must think with polygamy, when is enough? How many wives are enough wives? For most men, one wife is more than enough for them, but not for Kody. There have been numerous reports about Kody being on the search for the fifth wife. There are many instances showing Kody to be very vain and preferring the company of younger women, so it is no surprise that his four wives may be getting a tad old for him.
A friend of his fourth wife, Robyn, has made numerous claims that Kody has been on the search for more than a year for a fifth wife to join the family. He has also stated that he needs her to be really young, possibly 19 or 20, she also has to be attractive and thin. Seems a very specific checklist, and one that is very vain. It is easy to imagine how the already sister wives feel about a new fifth wife, who may be younger than some of their children.
OK, if I yell “polygamy”, most people would respond with “Mormon”. There is much speculation and truth that the Mormon religion were once firm believers in polygamy, they deny this now. So, it is only normal that people would assume that Kody and his wives must be a part of this religion. Kody is not part of the Mormon group, as per reports.
While he may not be a part of it now, he once was. Kody was on a mission with the modern Mormon church (who does not practice polygamy) when his father decided to partake in a polygamist lifestyle. His father then left the modern church to join one that was more supportive of his lifestyle choices. Kody has since refused to say what form or religion he partakes in, but people became suspicious when his daughter was refused baptism by the modern Mormon church.
3 That Is Incredibly Sexist
It is very stereotypical that when you hear of a polygamist family, you assume it is a male with many wives. Polygamy can work both ways, it can also be a wife who has many husbands. Kody has not been shy when he has stated that he would never welcome another husband into their family. His idea of plural marriage is a man with many wives, not the other way around.
Maybe, he just doesn’t want any competition. It is true that there you do not hear about any brother husband situations out there. They hypocrisy in Kody’s statements can be enough to make your skin crawl. It is another case of women not being able to do something, but when men do it, it’s perfectly fine. Well, maybe fine to him, the rest of us just think it is weird.
2 Gay Scandal
You mathematically can not have that many children and not have one who chooses a different path than you. There was some discussion on which religion the Brown’s belong too. It is quite clear, that they belong to some form (traditional or modern) of Mormon. No matter which form, both are not known for being as accepting of gay people.
It was a shock to the world, when one of the daughters, Mariah came out as gay. What was even more shocking was when the family was very open-minded about it. This is not a bad thing, do not get me wrong, this is absolutely fantastic and inspiring. But, it lead many people to be very confused on where the family stood religiously. Some would say this is none of our business, but isn’t it? They made their lives public after all.
1 Lies For Ratings?
We know everything we see on TV should be taken with a grain of salt. Things are normally embellished to look more dramatic for ratings. It works very well, so the Brown’s jumped on the same train. When the Brown’s were first being investigated by the state of Utah, it all unfolded very dramatically on TV. It was a big rush to pack up and move and the family looked as it they fled to Las Vegas very fast and dramatically.
This was embellished quite a bit on TV. The family had numerous discussions and plans on moving to Las Vegas long before any threat of investigation came into place. It is believed by family of the wives, that this was all played up for the sake of TV, to get the show more viewership and ratings, which in turn would make the family more money. Where is the line? When does reality TV become so scripted that it can no longer be called reality TV?
Sources: sheknows.com, nickiswift.com, fame10.com