• In 2010, TLC released the reality television series ‘Sister Wives’ based on the lives of polygamous family patriarch Kody Brown and his four wives Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn.
• Reviews of the show were mixed, with some applauding the Brown family's commitment to sharing their unconventional marriage with the public, and others condemning the show for its alleged promotion of polygamy.
• In 2021, Christine Brown, Kody's third wife, announced her divorce from Kody after 25 years together, citing years of neglect and abandonment from her husband.
• Christine has since adjusted well to life after the divorce and is now exploring the possibility of finding love again.
• Christine has enjoyed the dating process, which has helped her learn to love herself more and realize she is not willing to fit her life into someone else's as she did in the past.
In 2010, the topic of marriage to more than one spouse/partner raised a controversial debate in the United States. The topic divided the country into two groups; one supporting polygamy and the other using all available platforms to discuss the dangers of this type of plural marriage. Naturally, the entertainment industry used the debate as fodder for films, TV shows, comedy, and other forms of entertainment. TLC is one of the Television Networks that released several TV shows and films featuring the theme of polygamy, by depicting polygamous families. While most of the polygamy-themed shows on the cable network were fictional, one depicted the lives of a real polygamous family whose patriarch was married to four wives.
Kody is a man with a plan! #SisterWives starts now.
On 26 September 2010, the reality television series “Sister Wives” premiered on TLC. The show was set in the Brown household, and promised viewers more than a glimpse into the life of Kody Brown, his three wives Meri, Janelle and Christine, his then new wife Robyn, and their 18 children. From the first episode, America was hooked to their screens every Sunday at 10pm, eager to learn whether the reality matched the fictional polygamous families they had watched on TLC shows such as “Big Love.”
In the first season of “Sister Wives,” Kody, who was married to one woman legally and two other women spiritually, courted and married Robyn, bringing the number of sister wives to four. Since then, the drama, love and friendship in the unconventional family kept viewers coming back to watch every new season of the show, to follow the whole show, their personal favorite sister wives, and the children on social media.
In the 13 years during which “Sister Wives” has aired, the reality television series and its cast have cultivated and maintained a loyal and interactive following, that exchanges banter across most social networks, rallies behind fan favorites when they are aggrieved by other members of the cast, and keeps the viewership of the show high enough to warrant the renewal of the series for 17 seasons between 2010 and 2023.
Inevitably, “Sister Wives” has attracted mixed reviews from both critics and viewers. A writer in “The Washington Post” hailed the reality television series for being frank in its portrayal of the authentic life of the Brown family, particularly through its portrayal of small details such as arguments among members of the household, division of labor, and the distribution of the household’s food supply. A critic from the “Los Angeles Times” deduced that the wives, rather than the family patriarch, were the center of the family, and often appeared to have a stronger bond with each other rather than their individual bond with their shared husband. A third critic applauded the sister wives for being bold enough to share their unconventional marriage with the public. The show’s highest praise came from Oprah Winfrey, who reported her fascination with the relationship between the four women.
However, a second group of critics condemned the reality television series and its premise. A critic from the “Boston Herald” considered Kody’s actions illegal, and argued that he could be opening himself up to criminal prosecution for polygamy, by openly sharing his family’s lifestyle with the public. A second review from “The Washington Post” accused the show of spreading sensationalism, while a columnist with “Asbury Park Press” deduced that the sister wives had low self-worth, and their husband, Kody, was essentially a cult leader. Other critics even called for the prosecution of Kody Brown, but despite their efforts, the show obviously remained popular, apparently fascinating to all viewers – its first episode attracted 2.26 million viewers, and maintained an average of over two million viewers for every subsequent episode.
The Four Sister Wives
Meri Brown was Kody Brown’s first and only legal; they married legally in 1990, and went on to have one child together. For most of the show, Meri was Kody’s only legal wife, with the rest being spiritually married due to laws that prohibit a man or woman in the US from having more than one spouse. The pair were divorced in 2014, but maintained a spiritual marriage, thus allowing Robyn, the last sister wife, to marry Kody legally so that he could adopt her three children from her previous marriage. Meri has since split from Kody – the two shared an official joint statement in January 2023, confirming their decision to terminate their union permanently.
Sister Wives’ Janelle Brown Reveals She’s Living in an RV pic.twitter.com/FX5JcRqKOk
— Daizy Fashions (@daizyfashions) June 28, 2021
Janelle Brown is Kody’s second ‘wife’. Together, the couple has six children and two grandchildren. In December 2022, Janelle announced her split from Kody after 25 years of marriage, citing years of negligence and abandonment, since Kody was sequestered with Robyn during the Covid-19 pandemic, and didn’t even visit his other wives. Janelle was emboldened by her fellow sister wife’s move to separate from their husband in 2021, who had since gone on to thrive, away from the stress of an unsupportive husband, constant arguments within the family, and limited opportunities for self-advancement.
Kody legally married his fourth wife, Robyn Brown, to whom he is still married today, in the first season of “Sister Wives”, and aside from her three children Kody adopted, the couple went on to have two children together. According to fellow sister wives Janelle and Christine, Robyn is Kody’s favorite, to which he admitted, but added that she earned his favor by being loyal to him and showing him respect. He has expressed the desire to expand his blended family by taking another wife, but Robyn appears hesitant – Kody insists that the couple will make the decision together.
Christine Brown was Kody’s third wife. The two met in 1990 and married in 1994. At the time, Kody was married to Meri and Janelle, and Christine became the second woman to enter a spiritual union with the man after her favorite sister wife Janelle. Christine and Kody have six children together, Aspyn, Mykelti, Gwendlyn, Ysabel, Truly and Paedon.
For 25 years, and on camera for 11 of them. Christine joined the large and unorthodox Brown family in navigating marriage and parenting. The family dynamics weren’t new for Christine, as she was raised in a polygamous family, and wished to marry a man who already had more than one wife, just as her mother had. In the show, Christine is known for her iconic mike-drop moments when she calls out Kody for behavior she considers unacceptable, such as treating one of his wives better than the rest.
In the last season, Christine delivered her usual bombshells, which stirred excitement among her die-hard fans and united them against Kody, when she accused him of not being interested in intimacy with her, announcing “A couple of times a year is not enough in a marriage”, and accused Kody of trying to manipulate her into staying in a sexless marriage, while giving all his attention to Robyn. She went on to confirm her fans’ suspicions that Kody had a favorite wife, and that his treatment of his other wives depended on whether they got along with the favorite. Janelle had shared a similar concern when she noted that Kody stayed with Robyn throughout the pandemic, and rarely made time to even visit his other wives and their children.
While fans are used to Christine’s outbursts and bold declarations, they weren’t ready for the finality in her voice when she discussed the state of their marriage with Kody. She informed him that she was interested in an intimate marriage, with a lot of emphasis on “was.” As fans cheered her on for reclaiming her power, she declared that she was no longer interested in finding intimacy with him again, leaving her fans sure that the marriage had reached its end, with no possibility of reconciliation between Kody and his third sister wife.
On 2 November 2021, Christine made a shocking announcement on Instagram in a statement that read, “After more than 25 years together, Kody and I have grown apart, and I’ve made the difficult decision to leave.” The decision was influenced, in part, by Kody’s suggestion to make their marriage intimate-free, prompting Christine to reveal that she too was no longer interested in intimacy with him. She had long confessed that she wished to maintain close ties with the family, and confirmed that for years in her marriage, she enjoyed her relationship with the sister wives and the rest of the family, more than she wanted a relationship with Kody. Therefore, unlike Kody hoping that Christine would remain married to him, the sister wife chose to leave their union altogether.
Life After Divorce
Christine Brown became the first of Kody’s four wives to leave their polygamous union. She remained in the show despite moving to Utah. Christine started an exodus with her bold decision to separate from Kody, which emboldened two of her sister wives to walk away from their respective unions with him. Meri and Janelle both announced that they had separated from Kody, leaving the previously polygamous patriarch with only one wife, Robyn.
Christine has adjusted well to life after the divorce. She’s clearly happier now, and has spoken about the sadness she endured during her marriage. She will maintain her spot as one of the main cast in the show, and now has a separate series of her own on TLC, “Cooking With Just Christine.” She has also teamed up with her former sister wife Janelle, in a multi-level marketing business, and the two are rumored to be seeking a platform to host their own show on life after polygamy. Her children have taken her side in the separation, and accused their father of losing his connection to them as they grew up. Kody also failed to show up for significant moments in his and Christine’s children, such as their daughter Ysabel’s surgery, which has led them to condemn his behavior further, and agree with their mother’s accusations of abandonment and lack of support from him.
After a lengthy marriage marred by sadness, ultimate lack of support, and favoritism, Christine is finally open to the possibility of finding love again. Christine announced that she’s back on the dating scene, with the full support of her children. Her daughters have set her up on a few dates amid allegations that she’s only dating again to attract her ex-husband’s attention, and get revenge on him by making sure he knows what he lost when he drove her to their separation. Despite the allegations, Christine has been on several dates, taking care to avoid public spots where fans could spot her easily, and take pictures before she’s ready to reveal details of her dating life.
The former sister wife is keeping the details of her dates private but has shared snippets with her fans. Late last year, she shared that she’s denounced polygamy, and is only interested in pursuing a monogamous relationship. She also reported that she’s enjoying the dating phase of her life since she didn’t date much before marrying Kody, and insists that she won’t rush the process and start something serious. According to the former sister wife, dating has helped her learn to love herself more, and realize that she is no longer willing to fit into another person’s life as she did in the past when she married Kody, to the detriment of her own.
Christine has tried online dating for the first time, and called out to her fans on Instagram to help her navigate dating at 50. She is yet to let her fans know whether she took the advice they shared. and hasn’t made any announcements about a new partner. Her silence has left fans glued to her social media, sifting through pictures of a positively glowing and thriving Christine having fun with her children, grandchildren, and friends, and the occasional updates on her weight loss journey, to catch any glimpse of a potential partner or romantic interest.