Brady Williams found popularity in the reality-television world, when his family was featured in the series “My Five Wives.” As TLC cable channel viewers were fascinated with the concept of polygamous families, the TV show generated enough viewership ratings when it premiered in 2013, and while it was canceled after just a couple of seasons, the fans who became invested in their lives were curious as to what happened to Brady, his five wives, and his multiple children.
- 1 All about “My Five Wives”
- 2 Meet Brady’s five wives
- 3 Some interesting polygamy issues in the Brady Williams family
- 4 Cancelation of the TV show
- 5 An update on Brady Williams’ whereabouts
All about “My Five Wives”
TLC cable TV discovered a goldmine in tackling the polygamist’s lifestyle, because it generated so much interest from viewers. It was the reason why they produced many reality series about them, including “My Five Wives”, which chronicled the life of a polygamous man with five wives living in a house somewhere in Salt Lake City, Utah. In the TV show, they pulled back the veil in one of the most tight-lipped groups in the world. While the mainstream Mormon Church banned polygamy more than a century ago, the Williamses lived in a community in Utah where all of their neighbors were Mormon fundamentalists, who believed that the practice of the polygamous lifestyle was the fastest way to reach Heaven.
Brady Williams has 5 wives and 24 children. Meet them all on a TLC special, 'My Five Wives,' tonight at 9/8c! http://bit.ly/1awTl4Z
Get to know Brady Williams
Brady Williams was raised in a mainstream Latter-day Saints Mormon household following all the teachings of their Church, however, when he reached the age of 16, Brady left the Church. He became part of those fundamentalist groups, and served as one of its bishops, but ultimately decided that the religion wasn’t for them, because he claimed that they became uncomfortable with the teachings; he and his wives were referred to as progressive polygamists. Brady had five wives by the time he was 29 years old, but was legally only married to one. He said that their life wasn’t complicated to understand, as it was just normal in the sense that they simply loved each other similar to other families, but multiplied by five.
At the time of the filming of the TV show, he already had 24 children, and was working as a construction manager while studying to earn a degree in Philosophy. He said that he evolved from the usual description of a polygamist because he and his five wives shared the same power within the family, as compared to the known polygamist patriarchal lifestyle. Due to these beliefs, they were shunned by other polygamists as well.
The family’s reason for appearing in a reality-TV show
Changing the perception of many people about polygamy was the top reason why Brady Williams and his family agreed to have their lives documented for a reality-TV show. According to them, making money out of it was just secondary. They were all proud of their chosen lifestyle, and truly believed that five wives could co-exist loving and sharing one husband. They didn’t claim to be in any religion, and that made it even more confusing to those who were watching them. In an interview, the wives were asked that if the concept of polygamy in their progressive beliefs wasn’t necessary to reach heaven, why did they continue to practice it? One simply replied that they spent years building the family, and so grew to love each other more.
The house that Brady built for his five wives
For most people, the Williamses lifestyle was hard to comprehend, especially when they described that they all shared two houses situated next to each other with a small road between them. On one side of the road, Brady built a two-story house shaped like a rectangle box with walls dividing it into three separate homes; the other house was a bit smaller, and designed just like a duplex. They shared common areas including a playground and a swimming pool in front of the houses – it was like they all lived in a place with a motel kind of vibe, where they could see each other when they went out in the common areas, but still enjoyed some privacy.
The unusual lifestyle
Aside from not following the patriarchal family dynamics, Brady Williams and his family now shared different beliefs from the Mormon fundamentalists. They believed in pro-gay marriage, they had occasional drinks, especially during celebrations, and they also taught their children that it was perfectly okay not to follow the footsteps of their parents’ plural marriage concept. They referred to it as a progressive polygamy lifestyle, and that they still kept evolving. All of them shared dinner each night, hosted by a wife, and so they followed a certain schedule. The only problem with this arrangement was that there never seemed to be enough chairs for everyone, but the children were so used to this that they all took it in stride. One of the older kids even shared that they loved their life, and it was guaranteed that it wouldn’t be boring.
Meet Brady’s five wives
During an interview with Time Magazine in 2014, they all described themselves as feminists and Brady refused to be called the head of the family; it was simply because they shared equal footing in the family. Every single topic was discussed, even something as trivial as how to celebrate one’s birthday. There was no such thing as a Queen Bee in the family either; here are their situations at the time of the filming of the first season of the show:
The first wife, Paulie
Brady and Paulie had been married for 22 years, and had six children, namely Harley, Madeline, September, Mara, Camry and Joshua. She said that there was an instant spark when they met, and that she liked him immediately. She admitted that it was hard that she had to share her husband with other women, especially during the times when she needed him, because it made her feel alone. Paulie said the reason she went into a polygamous family was that she wanted to go to Heaven, even if she wasn’t part of her former religion anymore. The teaching was so ingrained in her that she felt that she mustn’t stray from it.
The second wife, Robyn
They had been married for 21 years, and had five children: Hanna, Lauren, Dane, Tommy and Trey. From the get-go, she knew that being a polygamous wife wasn’t going to be easy, based on what she saw through her own mother while growing up.
She entered the family eight months after Brady and Paulie were married, at that time that Paulie was pregnant with their first child. Brady described his second wife as very intuitive and sensitive, as she was an artist. Robyn said, ‘I have always been a people pleaser. One year on Christmas, I made each of my sister-wives a body pillow that was of Brady.’ It was with a cloud with each of their names as if he was dreaming of them. She said that it was something that they could hold, whenever he was with someone else.
The third wife, Rosemary
After being married for 18 years, Rosemary and Brady had four children, namely Kimberly (17), Taylor (15), James (13) and Brandon (11). Just like most of the other wives, she met him through Church. She saw him from a distance, while everyone around her commented that he was such a cute guy. She fell in love with him when she was 17 years old and married him three years later. Rosemary recalled that the moment their eyes met, she felt that she could get lost in them.
When she came into the family, she noticed that the two first wives were kind of quiet and so she felt that she needed to adapt to their personalities and be like them. Just by laughing too loudly made her feel that she was being obnoxious. It was apparent that Rosemary was having difficulty with her insecurities, but Brady shared that his third wife was some sort of a calming influence in his life, also that she was crazy talented, especially in music, and she could easily learn things, whether it was a new recipe or a skill. At the time of the filming, she was studying to become a music teacher.
The fourth wife, Nonie
After 15 years of marriage, they had five kids – Paul, Rachel, Marissa, Aidan and Tally. Nonie described herself as a perfectionist, which meant that she wanted everything in her house in order, and she would always call her children’s attention if something was amiss. She was also the self-proclaimed worrier in the family, as she would constantly check if the money coming in was enough for the monthly expenses.
She said that she had a more open personality than the others whom she felt were more reserved. There was a time when she felt that she had to suppress her character, just to blend with everyone else; it was only a few years later that she realized that it was okay to be a bit different. Being in a polygamous family meant being judged by many people, but she took them in stride, saying, ‘You don’t have to be afraid of something different. Just because you don’t understand, it does not necessarily mean that it was wrong.’
The fifth wife, Rhonda
“My Five Wives” writers referred to Rhonda as the nurturing wife, because she was a medical assistant by profession. She and Brady were married for 14 years and had four children – Eden, Lake, Arwen and Nicholas. She met Brady when she was still in her teens and they dated briefly, after which he married the first four women, and then later came back for her; they eventually married ten years after they initially dated.
According to Brady, all his children would normally go to his fifth wife when they needed someone to take care of their wounds, aches and pains. She was used to taking care of babies from the day they were born, as she’d been working in a family practice setting for 23 years at a local medical facility. She said that when it came to polygamy, she was raised never to tell anyone about it, due to the fear of imprisonment. She said, ‘We are the same as any other family out there, and that we get hurt, we love. You know we are trying our best to be good people.’
Some interesting polygamy issues in the Brady Williams family
Having five wives and 24 children was no joke, and most people found Brady William’s situation quite incredibly stressful, not to say foolish. However, in Brady’s view, he felt liberated that finally he could share his lifestyle through his reality-TV show “My Five Wives.” Here are some of the highlights that fascinated or angered many viewers:
Good old-fashioned jealousy,
While all five wives claimed that they loved each other and had accepted that they shared one husband, they were still human beings who sometimes became jealous if they felt that their husband was leaning more towards one wife. It happened during the 10th wedding anniversary of Brady and Rhonda. Going to celebrate a momentous occasion for a week was a normal thing for the family, however, jealousy reared its ugly head when they learned that during the week-long trip, the two went house-hunting in Seattle, Washington. Brady never discussed with them that he was planning to move the family there, so it didn’t sit well with the other wives that Rhonda and Brady would be the ones deciding where they should live.
One wife wanted more children
“My Five Wives” viewers found it absurd that one of the wives was planning to have more children, considering that they were already having problems taking care of everyone financially. Nonie was quite desperate to have another baby, even if she already had five with Brady. Apparently, in their lifestyle, the decision was left to the husband and wife if they wanted to have more. It was even more perplexing since it was Nonie who said that she was the one who constantly checked their finances. Fans were outraged that while babies were blessings from above, the family couldn’t afford to have another one. The grocery bill alone was $4,000 monthly. Apparently, in 2014, Brady filed for bankruptcy, declaring that debts amounted to $400,000. For some reason, Nonie continued with it and Brady now had 25 children. Some viewers said online that it was the State of Utah that was paying for their family’s needs.
Adoption was a huge no-no
In one of the episodes, Rhonda opened up about her plan to adopt a child, and viewers were quite astounded that she wanted more kids which they couldn’t afford. In one of the online forums dedicated to the show, some viewers pointed out that it was probably because Rhonda was one of the working wives, and maybe she felt that she could pay for it. However, it didn’t push through, because adoption would mean their family would be exposed through an investigation that was usually conducted into the adoptive parents. Polygamy is illegal in Utah, and it would be a problem if they were investigated.
Brady in rotation for their sleeping arrangements
Brady said, ‘All of America was having sex, so are we. We are just like everybody else.’ There was no hanky-panky going on. It was just the husband and his wife in the bedroom, but in his case, his five wives were in five different bedrooms. They followed strict but simple guidelines in sharing their husband. Each of the wives was to sleep with him every fifth night of the week. To avoid hurt and jealousy, the wives didn’t think deeply about it. It was probably easier for them, since they were all raised in the same lifestyle. In fact, they were all cousins.
@MeriBrown1 after My five wives got cancelled, is SW gonna get another season?
— Andrés (@yesimheretoo) February 12, 2015
Cancelation of the TV show
“My Five Wives” was canceled by the TLC network in February 2015, and Brady uploaded a video on YouTube informing everyone about the cancelation, and thanking all viewers for their support, promising that they would upload videos of the family onto their channel. No official explanation was given, but two theories floated online. One was that it didn’t generate the expected number of viewers, and the second one was due to the revelation that Rosemary made about the alleged sexual molestation that she experienced with her own father, who was at that time the leader of another polygamy group called Apostolic United Brethren.
An update on Brady Williams’ whereabouts
The Williamses were never consistent in uploading videos on YouTube, and their fans lost interest; it was probably why the channel never really took off. One of the last videos they posted was about Brady’s post-operative surgery in February 2016, and some of the fans found it funny that he was quite stoned from the anesthesia that he was given. Apparently, they stopped uploading anything on their channel since then.
Brady graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy in 2016, but a year before that, he’d established a window replacement business called Ox-Glass. From their Facebook page, it seemed that his family was doing great, and some of his children were married. Their last post on their Facebook page was in May 2022, in which they shared photos and sent out Mother’s Day greetings to all mothers. Some fans continued to post comments on them, wishing that they would make a comeback on TV.