• "Sister Wives" is a reality series that follows the lives of the polygamist Brown family
• The show documents Kody Brown, his four wives and their 18 children
• In late 2021, Kody's third wife Christine and his second wife Janelle left the family unit
• Kody and Robyn are reportedly struggling financially
• Kody has been involved in numerous controversies, such as Meri being catfished and courting an underage girl
About “Sister Wives”
The reality series “Sister Wives” premiered on TLC in 2010, and documents the life of the polygamist Brown family. The protagonists are Kody Brown, his four wives Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn, and their 18 children. When filming commenced, the enormous clan lived in Lehi, Utah, but later seasons have also been filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Baderville, Arizona.
Kody Brown was raised in a polygamist Mormon household, as his father had three wives and ten children. Despite his parents’ struggles with the lifestyle, Kody was encouraged to follow in his father’s footsteps, always believing that he’s more likely to enter heaven the more wives he has.
With that said, season 17 of the show documented the spectacular breakdown of not one but all three of Kody’s spiritual marriages. In November 2021, the patriarch’s third wife, Christine, confirmed her shock separation from Kody. Although Kody at first did everything possible for her to stay, he soon realized that he was fighting a losing battle.
Ultimately, Christine left Kody due to his preferential treatment of Robyn, the fourth wife in the family. Prior to their break-up, Kody had confessed to no longer being attracted to Christine; he was also criticized by viewers of the show for not accompanying Christine and their daughter Ysabel to New Jersey, where the youngster would undergo scoliosis surgery.
The other wives were understandably stunned to see Christine walk away, and it created something of a domino effect when Janelle, Kody’s second wife, separated from the somewhat bad-tempered patriarch in December 2022. Given that Janelle and Christine are particularly close, many viewers believe that the latter was influenced by the former to take control of her life and leave the increasingly toxic Brown family unit.
It’s important to note that while Christine was always opposed to the presence of a fourth wife in the family, there appeared to be no animosity or jealousy between Janelle and Robyn. However, Christine was understandably frustrated to see Kody devote so much time to his children with Robyn, while leaving their four sons and two daughters out in the cold.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, tensions reached a boiling point when Kody chose to quarantine with Robyn and their children, spending months separated from the rest of the family. Shortly afterwards, Kody argued with his and Janelle’s two eldest sons, Gabriel and Garrison, due to his strict pandemic rules, effectively telling them to choose between visiting him or having well-rounded social lives.
"I have decided to leave. I'm going to leave Kody." #SisterWives returns Sunday, September 11 at 10/9c on TLC.
Posted by Sister Wives on Monday, August 8, 2022
Feeling that he was losing control, Kody became stricter with Meri, Janelle, Roby, and their children in the aftermath of his separation from Christine. As Janelle became more and more disillusioned with her unfulfilling marriage, Kody – who has often been branded an “emotional rollercoaster” – begged her to stay, while not giving her any reasons to do so. The straw that broke the camel’s back came in the finale of the show’s 17th season, when Kody once again argued with Gabriel and Garrison for their coldness towards Robyn. A month later, Janelle shared that she and Kody had actually been separated for months.
With Christine and Janelle making new lives for themselves, Kody went from having four wives to two. The lack of passion between himself and his first wife, Meri – whom he legally divorced in 2014 so as to marry Robyn and adopt her children from a previous relationship – became more and more evident, especially compared to the tenderness and affection shown to Robyn. Kody and Meri married in 1990 after a months-long relationship, so viewers were stunned to see the first wife be “replaced” by the fourth after almost 25 years of union.
In a 2021 interview, Kody discussed his spiritual marriage to Meri, sharing that they hadn’t been on good terms for a while. He went on to say: “In plural marriage, I don’t feel like I’ve got the right to say, ‘This is over, this is ending’… I don’t get to leave, but they can.” Viewers of the show believed that Kody and Meri would stay together, but in December 2022, she confessed that Kody had ended the marriage of his own accord.
A social media frenzy ensued as viewers realized that Kody was now in a monogamous marriage with Robyn, making the fate of “Sister Wives” uncertain. As of late January 2023, TLC had yet to confirm or deny an 18th season of the series; after all, Kody is no longer a polygamist, and has made clear that he has no intention of reconciling with Meri. The media personality has also badmouthed both Christine and Janelle since they left, so it’s rather unlikely that they would return to film with their ex-husband.
However, we shouldn’t rule anything out in the world of reality TV, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated if “Sister Wives” is renewed for an 18th season. According to reputable news outlets, the Browns signed a multi-year contract with TLC, meaning that for now, they aren’t going anywhere. Another clear indicator of the show returning to screens is that in November 2022, Christine uploaded a selfie and captioned it: “I’m finally filming in my house in Salt Lake!! So excited!”.
Given the amount of public vitriol that Kody has faced over the years, resulting from his lifestyle and on-screen antics, the TV star is either remarkably thick-skinned or lacks any sense of self-awareness. In the last couple of seasons of “Sister Wives”, viewers have witnessed Kody struggle with the ever-shifting dynamics in his family unit, and the Wyoming native has made it clear on several occasions that he doesn’t like not feeling in control.
Unfortunately for Kody, his strong-willed wives and older children aren’t trying to make things any easier for him. However, netizens believe that Kody’s family feuds are the least of his concerns right now, as he and Robyn are reportedly struggling to make ends meet. In happier times, Janelle and Meri acted as primary breadwinners, while Christine was in charge of childrearing, absolving Kody and Robyn of pretty much any financial responsibility. Now, without the support of the other three wives, the couple find themselves in an awkward situation.
Since joining the family in 2010, Robyn has yet to hold a stable job, and Kody hasn’t worked in years. Even so, Robyn had no qualms about hiring a nanny for her children – a decision for which she was heavily criticized, taking into account that Kody already devoted almost all his time to their brood, while ignoring the sons and daughters he shared with Meri, Janelle and Christine. If that wasn’t bad enough, Robyn was in crippling credit card debt when she joined the Browns – which was generously paid off by Janelle and Meri so Robyn could qualify for a home loan – and it remains unclear if her ex-husband provides any financial support for the three children Robyn had before she met Kody.
Lest we forget, shrewd viewers often point out that if Robyn and Kody were ever to divorce, she would be far better off than her former sister wives, as she is legally married to the TLC personality, and so has more rights than she would in a spiritual union. As Kody adopted Robyn’s three children from her first marriage in 2014, he’d also have to pay a considerable sum of child support if they broke up. For this reason, fans of the show believe that all parties involved will agree to put their differences aside, and film for an 18th season.
Like any self-respecting reality TV personality, Kody has been embroiled in various scandals since “Sister Wives” premiered in 2010. Although some fans may have forgotten the ins and outs of Kody’s messy private life, the internet never forgets, and recently reminded us that Kody may have been responsible for Janelle divorcing her first husband – who happens to be Meri’s brother.
Various sources claim that Janelle and Meri forged a close bond while Janelle was married to her brother Adam, and that Meri was the one to introduce Janelle to the polygamist lifestyle. Others point out that, as Kody and Janelle never confirmed the exact timeline, the Brown patriarch possibly influenced the breakdown of Janelle and Adam’s union. All we know is that Janelle and Adam married in 1988, divorced in 1990, and Janelle and Kody became spiritually married three years later. It’s also been said that Meri disapproved of their union, but as Kody’s first wife has always been a quiet and reserved character, she has yet to confirm or deny the rumor.
As we mentioned earlier, alone, Kody and Robyn are said to be struggling to make ends meet. Despite allegedly earning over six figures a year thanks to his TLC contract, Kody’s financial illiteracy has led to him filing for bankruptcy on several occasions. Janelle was the first to do so in 1997, with Kody and Meri filing in 2005, and Christine in 2010. In 2015, following a rushed move from Las Vegas to Arizona, Kody landed himself in yet more trouble when failing to pay over $2,000 of taxes on a parcel of land.
— Janelle Brown (@JanelleBrown117) January 21, 2021
Meanwhile, Meri and Christine themselves shared in the book “Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage”, that Kody had once courted a potential sister wife… who just happened to be underage. Although Meri wrote that the girl was 18, Christine later clarified that she was not of legal age when he began courting her. For some reason, this incident has been largely forgotten.
Over the last few months, Kody’s negative relationships with Janelle, Christine and Meri have kept him in the headlines. In the aftermath of his separation from Christine, Kody did a pretty good job of alienating himself from the rest of his family, and it’s interesting to note that none of his children or former spouses wished him a happy 54th birthday in late January. Robyn was also radio silent, which led to rumors of there being trouble in paradise between the seemingly happy couple. Only time will tell if Kody manages to rebuild all the bridges he’s burned, but it’s looking less and less likely.
In season 9 of “Sister Wives”, which was filmed in 2015, Kody’s first wife Meri was caught up in one of the show’s most high-profile controversies… a catfish scandal. The incident caused a huge strain in her marriage to Kody, and many viewers believe that things were never the same between them afterwards.
Shortly after Meri agreed to legally divorce Kody so he could marry Robyn and adopt her children, she began talking to a man named Sam Cooper on Twitter. After weeks of flirtatious back-and-forth on the social media platform, Meri and Sam began having private phone conversations and exchanging racy texts – including photos in which Meri could be seen posing seductively with a banana.
After six months of communication, Meri discovered that Sam wasn’t a business tycoon in his early 40s. In fact, “he” was Jackie Overton, a notorious online scammer who later leaked the private texts and voicemails between herself and Meri, and even wrote a book about the experience entitled “Almost Meri’ed”. According to Meri, Jackie would tell her how horrible Kody and the rest of the family was, which led to her pushing him away. However, she was also quick to clarify that the relationship with her former husband was already strained, well before the catfishing incident.
Robyn’s alleged role in the catfish scandal has been the topic of internet discussion for years. Kendra Pollard, a close friend of Kody’s fourth wife, allegedly vouched for Sam’s identity, and claimed to have communicated with him on various occasions. However, as Sam didn’t exist, Kendra obviously knew all along that Meri was being catfished – and given Kendra and Robyn’s friendship, it seems highly unlikely that the latter wasn’t aware of the case while Meri and “Sam” were texting for months on end.
To this day, users of Reddit and other social media platforms believe that Robyn didn’t tell Meri that she was being catfished because she knew that it would make her look bad in Kody’s eyes. Others claim that Robyn was eager to solidify her position as “head wife”, despite being the newest of the Brown family, and what better way to do so than by driving a wedge between Meri and Kody?
Although we’ll never know the whole truth, “Sister Wives” viewers eagerly await an 18th season of the show, which will doubtless further explore the complicated dynamics in the Brown family.