The Trials Of Togetherness: TLC’s Sister Wives Have Reached Breaking Point

By Isabel K

One man, four wives, and 18 children; you’re probably aware of the Browns and their unique family on TLC’s Sister Wives for years now. Since the show aired in 2010, fans have been tuning in to watch Kody and his wives, Christine, Janelle, Robyn, and Meri, raise their 18 children. The show documents how this polygamous family deals with money issues, love, and family drama in their day-to-day lives. The Browns participated in the show to shine a positive light on polygamist families and to defend societal prejudices. Despite what you might see in the media, it’s not always a bed of roses with the Browns, especially of the late. Extra time at home over the past two years has changed the dynamic for these women. With the recent news of the split between Christine and Kody in November 2021, many disturbing truths are coming to light about this not-so-perfect family.

Christine Repulsed Kody At First

Christine Brown – Kody’s third wife, came into the marriage in 1994 and raised six beautiful kids. According to the book ‘Becoming Sister Wives‘ Kody says he didn’t like Christine’s appetite on one of their dates. Kody also thought she was a little chubby.

Source: Instagram @Christine_brownsw

Kody even questioned his courtship with Christine because of her appetite. ‘Christine bought a large bag of nachos, and after eating, there was chili and nachos everywhere,’ he said. Kody would later admit that he was not physically attracted to Christine.

Kody Didn’t Warm Up to Janelle Immediately

Kody’s relationship with Janelle was different from the start compared to the other wives. Janelle was already close friends with both Meri and Kody. The couple valued their friendship with Janelle. They weren’t ready to add another wife to their family at the start. 

Source: YouTube/Entertainment Tonight

Janelle and Kody would eventually get closer to each other because they were all members of the AUB (Apolostic United Brethern) church. Things were rocky at first, but they tied the knot in 1993. Janelle revealed that their true love for one another only started blossoming many years later.

Kody Didn’t Like Robyn At First

It might not seem like it now, but Kody wasn’t too interested in Robyn when they first met despite her thinking it was love at first sight. Shocking right? He was harsh and had no plans of adding another wife to the family—especially a divorced woman with three kids. 

Source: Youtube/EZ Facts Buzz

Kody revealed that he thought Robyn was nothing but trouble during a tell-all confession. When it came to her appearance, he said she looked like a soccer mom. His opinion of Robyn would later change with Kody welcoming her as his fourth and youngest wife.

Robyn Believed It Was Love At First Sight With Kody 

Despite what Kody felt initially, Robyn instantly fell in love with Kody. After being in the Church for years, their eyes met one day when she was in town, and that’s when she knew. She describes her initial feelings for him as being shot with a lightning bolt.

Source: Instagram/ Robyn Brown

A month later, Kody described being transfixed by her spirit when they shared a dance. Robyn also fondly remembers this moment as a turning point in her relationship with the Browns. She would later join the family as Kody’s fourth wife.

Kody And Meri’s Immediate Attraction

Although Kody was not an original member of the AUB church, he couldn’t resist Meri and the promise of the life they could build together. Meri first met Kody at Church. She confesses to falling in love thanks to their shared passion- faith. 

Source: Instagram/therealmeribrown

Kody says he immediately knew that Meri was the one for him. Convinced of his love, Kody converted to her faith, and they tied the knot in 1990. Kody believed his connection with Meri was on a spiritual level akin to soulmates.

Only Robyn Was Legally Married To Kody

Were all the women in Sister Wives married to Kody? Yes, but not precisely in the way you may think. While watching Sister Wives, Fans always wondered how Kody could legally marry four women. Kody and Meri would later reveal that they were the only legally married couple in April 1990.

Image source: Instagram

The marriages with his other wives were different. Rather than an official and legal wedding, Kody entered into a spiritual union with Robyn, Christine, and Janelle. Kody later divorced Meri so that he could adopt Robyn’s three children. He then married Robyn, his fourth wife, in a legal ceremony in December 2014.

The Brown Family Faced Financial Issues

With 18 kids to support, it hasn’t been easy for the Browns. Although Kody tries to be present with all four families, the Brown wives are practically single mothers taking care of their kids. Before the show began, they already owed over $200,000 to various companies. 

ram Image source: Instagram @janellebrown117

With no other option available, Kody and Meri filed for bankruptcy in 2005. Now that the show is successful, the Brown family is doing better financially. They also have additional income to support their children, thanks to various successful business ventures through the years.

Janelle Was Married To Meri’s Brother

When Sister Wives aired, viewers thought Kody and his families were unusual. They didn’t know the secret about one of Kody’s wives. Before Janelle married Kody, she was legally married to Adam Barber. The plot twist is that Adam is Meri’s brother. 

Image source: Instagram @Janellebrown117

Janelle and Adam were only married for two years between 1998 and 1990. Three years later, Janelle would enter into a spiritual union with Kody and become Meri’s sister’s wife. Everyone is silent about this, but Meri and Janelle appear to be on good terms.

Meri Lost Her Job Because Of The Show

When sister wives aired in 2010, it was a different time. Meri worked as a counselor in a mental health facility, which most viewers loved. With the pressure and judgment from neighbors and viewers because of her unique lifestyle, Meri lost this job.


It is believed that her employer feared the negative impact on the businesses’ image, so she decided to part ways with Meri. Although she was sad about losing her job, Meri didn’t remain unemployed for long. She started businesses in hopes of becoming a successful careerwoman.

The Wives Launched Their Own Boutique

The Sister Wives cast was earning a lot of money thanks to the show and promotional appearances. But this wasn’t enough for their huge family. With all the fame and exposure, the wives decided to expand their business empire and ventured into the Jewellery Business.

Image source: Instagram @christine_brown_sw

Thanks to a gift idea from Robyn, Meri, and the other wives came up with selling Jewellery. To this end, My Sister Wife’s Closet was launched online, selling inspirational Jewellery. Today, they also sell clothing and home decor items. 

Meri Can’t Have More Children

Meri’s struggle with infertility has been one of the significant challenges in the show. While Kody has multiple children with other wives, he only shares one child with Meri. Meri and Kody were blessed with their daughter-Mariah. She was born in July 1995.

Image source: Instagram @therealmeribrown

Kody and Meri tried having another child for years, and their dream was almost a reality. Sadly, Meri miscarried a son in 2007. Although the couple explored different options like fertility treatments and surrogacy, Meri decided not to have another child.

Kody Divorced Meri To Marry Robyn

Did you know that Kody had to divorce Meri to marry Robyn? Although fans were shocked by the divorce of Kodi and Meri in September 2014, there was a reason for the split. After fourteen years together, most people were worried about trouble in paradise. 

Source: TLC

They revealed that Kody divorced Meri to marry Robyn. Once married, Koby can then adopt her three kids from a previous marriage. This adoption could only happen with a legal marriage. Kody and Robyn’s marriage was official, and he adopted her children as members of the Brown family. 

Meri Opened A Bed And Breakfast

As the wives ran their jewelry business, Meri decided to start her own business. A Bed and Breakfast Inn in Utah. In 2017, Meri opened her Victorian-style inn and called it Lizzie’s Heritage Inn. Her grandparents were the original homeowners of the location.

Source: Instagram/lizziesheritage_inn

Meri said the Bed and Breakfast Inn was one of her dreams. With the support of the family and plenty of remodeling, the inn opened its doors in December 2017. Thanks to its hospitality and warmth, it is still a top tourist attraction in Utah.

Janelle Gave Kody His First Child

Only sixteen of Kody’s children are biologically his. Did you know that Janelle gave Kody his first child? After their union, Janelle and Kody welcomed their first child, Logan, in May 1994. This birth created a special bond between Kody and Janelle. 


Christine gave Kody his second child in 1995. Although she was struggling with infertility, months later, Meri would give birth to Kody’s daughter, Mariah. Even with their busy lives and work, Kody spends time with all his children.

Robyn’s Ex-husband Isn’t Involved With The Kids.

When Robyn was introduced to viewers as Kody’s fourth wife, many fans wondered what happened to her previous marriage. She was married to David in 1999, but the marriage wasn’t a happy one. They divorced in 2007. Robyn would later meet Kody in 2009.


During an episode, Robyn found out that David’s debt had ruined her chances to get a business loan. She also revealed that David doesn’t have any contact with the kids. David signed over his parental rights so Kody could adopt the kids.

The Wives Struggled With Weight Issues

Over the years, the Sister Wives cast has opened up about their weight struggles. Being in the limelight and gaining weight due to pregnancies wasn’t easy. Janelle and Christine have been vocal about their weight struggles and coping with the pressure.

Source: Instagram/Christine Brown/Janelle Brown

After moving to Las Vegas, the wives decided to take their weight loss more seriously and join a gym. They were dedicated, following weight loss programs and lifting weights with their trainers. The change in their appearance has been easily noticeable.

Meri Was Catfished

Meri’s catfishing drama in 2014 came to light after an online fling with a ‘Sam Cooper’ on Twitter. Once Meri realized that she had been catfished, she ended the relationship, but ‘Sam’ exposed personal and damning details about her. The catfish ‘Sam’ later turned out to be a woman.

Source: TLC

The scandal revealed personal images and text messages that Meri would prefer were private; these were only the first signs of the problems in their marriage. After the catfish scandal, Kody and Meri’s relationship wasn’t the same. Meri even stated, “our relationship is dead; it’s gone.”

Meri And Kody’s Estranged Relationship

Although Meri states that she is still committed to their relationship and family, Kody doesn’t feel the same way about his relationship with Meri. Kody says he and Meri can be friends. Kody also said he felt Meri deceived him into marrying her during a couple’s counseling.

Image source: Instagram

Despite being the first wife, Meri’s relationship with Kody is not what it used to be. With Kody showing more love to his fourth wife, Robyn, there has been a strain with his other relationships. His union with Meri has been tense for a while. 

Janelle Is A Real Estate Guru

All the sister wives are business savvy because they need to cater to their substantial family needs. Janelle- Kody’s second wife, has always worked various jobs to bring home the bacon. She is listed as a real estate agent.

Source: Review Journal

Aside from filming the show, there is little else that Kody does to support his family. With moving locations and his other responsibilities, Kody finds balancing a career in real estate to be too difficult. As a real estate agent, you need to do exams and register for licenses in different states, and he does not want to continue to invest in this.

Kody’s Dad Married Janelle’s Mother.

There was a point in time when Janelle and Kody’s relationship was more than just husband and wife. It was even weirder for this family because Janelle’s mom, Sheryl, became the second wife to Kody’s dad, William.

Source: Instagram/ @janellebrown117

William Win Brown, Kody’s father, was married to Janelle’s mother, Sheryl Brown. For a while, Janelle and Kody were not only a couple but also step-siblings. As awkward as being step-siblings was, Kody and Janelle went on to marry three months later.

Kody’s Father Was Polygamous

Did you know Kody’s father was also polygamous? William Brown had three wives, including Sheryl, Janelle’s mother. William was monogamous with Kody’s birth mother but became polygamous later in his life. In comparison, Kody had three wives by 24, Meri, Janelle, and Christine. 

Source: TLC

Williams’ first wife was Genielle Brown. They were in a monogamous relationship until Kody became a teenager. This was when William began considering a polygamous lifestyle. William and Genielle’s polygamous way of life heavily influenced Kody’s future fans enjoy on TV.

Janelle Is A Grandmother

Kody and his four wives have a total of 18 kids. With some of them getting engaged and married, it is no surprise that there are more additions to the family. Janelle and Kody’s daughter, Madie, gave the Brown family their first grandkids. 

Image source: Instagram @janellebrown117

Maddie and her husband, Caleb, have two kids. Axel was the first grandchild, with Evie coming two years later in 2019. With many older children leaving the coop and getting married, the Brown grandkids are starting to join the family. 

Robyn Owns The Nights

For years it’s long been known that Robyn is Kody’s favorite. Although Kody splits his time between his four wives and children, he spends most nights with his fourth wife, Robyn. This behavior makes the other wives feel like she calls the shots. 

Source: Facebook/Sister Wives

It became more apparent during the pandemic. Many didn’t know that Kody was only intimate with Robyn and not his other wives. This situation caused some strain on his other relationships, especially with Christine, who decided to leave their union after 25 years. 

The Wives Still Get Jealous From Time to Time.

With four women all in love with the same man, it’s no surprise that there is some jealousy among the wives. Christine once admitted that she gets ‘super jealous’ of her husband and his other wives. She said the relationship feels lonely.

Source: TLC

During the pandemic, movement was restricted between the family and children. Some of these rules didn’t apply to Kody and Robyn. With Kody moving in between houses freely and being intimate with Robyn, some feelings of jealousy were bound to arise.

Their Church Excommunicated The Brown Family.

In 2010, when The Sister Wives first aired, the Brown family didn’t get the best reception. Fearing the negative impact the show would have, the Apostolic United Brethren Church removed the Browns as members of their Church. This Church practices polygamy.

Image source: TLC

The Brown’s still practiced their faith. However, when Meri’s catfish scandal came to light, the Church in Utah was already in the process of removing her family from the Church. The family now only practices their faith at home because of the negative publicity. 

Christine No Longer Practises Her Faith

Although they rarely mention it, Kody Brown and his wives were part of the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), which is a sect of the Mormon Church. After the split, however, Christine revealed that she hadn’t been a member of the Church for a while. 

Source: Instagram/ christine_brownsw

During an interview on the Sister Wives: One on One, Christine said, “I just think that God’s fine if I just want to be happy” Christine also shared how sad she was that her decision to leave would break hearts, but she wanted to be happy. 

Kody’s Bad Temper

According to different sources, although Kody seems like a chill type of guy on camera, he has a bad temper. Kody is known to be very harsh with his kids. He often yells at them and takes their punishments a little too far. 

Image source: Instagram @Janellebrown117

During a heated argument between Kody and Robyn about their shared land, fans started to wonder whether his temper tantrum was just the tip of the iceberg. With his behavior getting worse towards the other wives, fans arent surprised that the family is breaking apart. 

The Browns Faced Bigamy Charges

In many places, the polyamorous lifestyle isn’t understood. In Utah, where the Browns lived, bigamy was a felony. The police in Utah stated they were investigating Kody and his wives over bigamy charges after the show debuted in September 2010.

Image source: Instagram @christinebrownsw

Although polygamists are hardly prosecuted unless due to crimes like child abuse or fraud, Kody and his family were forced to flee from Utah to Nevada to escape these charges. The family was aware of the risks when they first started filming. 

Kody’s Complicated Relationship With His Daughters

With 18 kids, it can be hard to give the same amount of love and attention to all your children. Although building these relationships isn’t easy, Kody seems to favor his sons more. The special treatment has created some strain with his daughters.

Image source: Instagram @Christine_brownsw

Insiders have revealed that he doesn’t spend much time with his daughters. He holds traditional beliefs that girls should play indoors, and boys can play rough if they want to. Kody’s covid rules also managed to alienate several of his older children. 

Most kids Don’t Want A Polygamist Lifestyle Of Their Own 

Despite their family situation, most Brown kids are not interested in polygamous relationships. A couple of the kids are already married in monogamous relationships and have started their families. This could be due to their personal experience in a polygamous family.

Image source: Instagram @janellebrown117

Maddie is in a monogamous relationship. Meri’s daughter,  Mariah, came out as a lesbian on the show. Despite the family’s religious beliefs, they accepted Mariah. While Mykelti is married in the LDS faith, she doesn’t intend to be in a polygamous marriage with her husband.

The Numerous Fights In The Brown Family

The goal of Sister Wives was to show viewers that they were a typical family. With the usual fights and problems too. But with 18 kids yearning for the attention of one man, there is bound to be some tension and arguments in the family.

Image source: TLC

The Brown family gets into fights over money, Kody’s attention, and other everyday family issues. One of their biggest fights was after a visit to Coyote Pass. The family argued about everything from the location of building their homes to whether they will all live together.

Kody Is Considering New Wives

After over 20 years with his wives, the cracks in the Brown family are starting to show. With the recent trouble with Meri and Christine, Kody is thinking of bringing new wives into the Brown family. He believes it is what the family needs at the moment. 

Image source: TLC

Kody said that it was up to the women to leave him. With Janelle also thinking of exiting the union, Kody feels he is better off looking for new love with other women. These new potential women will have to accept his favoritism for Robyn.

The Pandemic Wasn’t Easy

Going through a pandemic isn’t fun or easy. It’s even harder when you can’t meet up with your sister-wives, children, or husband. These were only some of Kody’s rules for the Brown family during the pandemic. Most of the family members didn’t like these rules.

Image source: TLC

The problem was these restrictions didn’t apply to Kody, Robyn, and her nanny. This situation brought Christine and Janelle closer, but Christine finally reached her breaking point during this time. The disrespect during the pandemic led to her ending their union after 25 years.

Robyn Has Never Had A Close Relationship With Other Wives

We assume that a family of sister wives would be close. But, that is not the case for the Brown family. Robyn recently admitted that she had never had a close relationship with the other three wives. This adds tension to the entire family dynamic.

Image source: Instagram @christine_brownsw

Many fans believe that Robyn doesn’t fit in with the Brown family. They also think she is the reason why the family is falling apart. This reaction could be because she monopolizes Kody’s time and attention. Kody says it all comes down to the hierarchy of wives in a plural marriage. 

Is Robyn The Head Wife?

Although Kody insists that he doesn’t have a head wife, fans think Robyn Brown is the head wife in this polygamous family. With Robyn getting special treatment during the pandemic, the other wives began to wonder whether she was behind the strict covid rules.

Image source: TLC

Robyn knows that the other wives think she is the reason for the disharmony in the family. She insists that no wife should come and tell Kody what he should do, not even her. Fans find it hard to believe, considering how he treats Robyn. 

The Family Keeps On Moving 

When the show began in 2010, the Brown family lived in Utah. This living situation was not sustainable with the state’s strict polygamy laws and the family’s recent fame. In 2011, the family moved to Las Vegas, where it was more flexible rules were.

Image source : TLC

In 2018, the Brown family moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, with hopes to build their family homes on their property. Kody’s plan was one huge home for all his wives and children. As of 2022, it seems the Browns are still not living together on Coyote Pass.

Meri Throught Robyn’s Addition Would Help Her Marriage

It is no secret that Meri and Kody’s relationship has been on the rocks for a while. According to the family’s book, Becoming Sister Wives, Meri might have helped Kody pursue his relationship with Robyn. Why? She thought it could help her own marriage.

Image source: TLC

According to an excerpt from Becoming Sister Wives, Meri enjoyed sharing a secret with Kody. When they met, Robyn, Kody, and Meri were dating to help rekindle their romance. Fans speculate she was trying to win favor over the other wives at the time. 

Meri’s Lack Of Intimacy With Kody

Meri revealed that she had not been physically intimate with her husband for over a decade. Although most fans think the problems started after Meri’s catfishing scandal in 2015, it was way before that. During her tell-all interview, she shared that there hadn’t been any intimacy in their marriage for years.

Image source: Instagram @therealmeribrown

With Christine leaving because of a lack of intimacy in their marriage, it’s no surprise that most of the wives feel lonely in their marriages. With his behavior during the pandemic, the wives were convinced that Kody was only interested in being married to Robyn.

Kody Claims To Be Anti-Divorce

In a recent confessional, Kody revealed that he is ‘anti-divorce’ regarding marriage. Fans thought his view was hypocritical, considering he is divorced from two of his wives. Christine and Kody’s union ended when he revealed he wasn’t interested in an intimate relationship anymore.

Image source: TLC

His view makes fans believe that he emotionally abandons his wives when he no longer cares. This neglect could also be the cause for Meri leaving their relationship. Kody may not divorce his wives, but he puts them in a position where they want to go.

Kody And His Wives Own Acres Of Land

In 2018, Kody proposed moving to Flagstaff, Arizona, from Las Vegas, where the family had settled after leaving Utah. Instead of looking for another home, Kody and his wives began buying property in Flagstaff to become homeowners and meet their unique family needs.

Image source: TLC

Since they bought this property known as Coyote Pass, they have been arguing about what to do with it. They paid over $800,000 in 2018 for the 12 acres of land even though it would require a lot of work for the property to be livable. 

Kody Adopted Robyn’s Children

The fact that Kody had to divorce Meri to marry Robyn wasn’t the only weird thing about their relationship. A while after their marriage, the family had an adoption celebration. He gave the kids plaques and blessed them with new names. 

Image source: Instagram @robyn_browns_nest

The sister wives explained that the adoption was necessary so that if anything ever happened to Robyn, her children would still be part of the Brown family. Robyn gifted Kody a picture of himself with her children for the adoption ceremony.  

Robyn’s First Marriage Was A Nightmare

There is little that fans know about Robyn’s first marriage. When she met the Browns, she was divorced with three kids. She calls her first marriage a nine-year nightmare. Robyn says she wasn’t even open to dating after getting out of that marriage. 

Image source: TLC

Robyn and her ex-husband got married in 1999 when she was 21. In 2011, Robyn clarified that she ended her marriage due to abuse. However, she didn’t mention that her ex-husband was arrested in 2018 for assaulting a family member. 

Christine And Kody Split

In November 2021, Christine Brown shocked fans when she made public her plan to leave her husband, Kody Brown, after being married for 25 years. The reason for the split came from Kody’s revelation that he no longer wanted an intimate relationship.


“I’m not ok staying in a marriage where there is no intimacy,” she said. Christine and Kody were spiritually married in 1994 and had six kids together. Kody, in a statement, said they would remain committed parents, although Christine’s decision to leave was met with sadness.

Robyn Has An Autistic Son

Becoming a parent is tough for everyone, but Robyn’s motherhood challenges differed because her son Dayton was diagnosed with autism in the second grade. The early diagnosis helped Robyn learn about autism to nurture better and care for her son’s needs.

Image source: Instagram @robyn_brown_nest

It has been a long journey, but Robyn says she would use every opportunity to make Dayton happy and healthy. She wants to show the world how much of a fantastic person he is and eliminate as much stress as she could for him. 

Robyn’s Parents Were In A Plural Marriage

It might have been easier for Robyn to adjust because her parents were in a plural marriage. She had pleasant experiences with her mother’s sister-wives, inspiring her. Despite having an excellent home life, Robyn hid the nature of her family from her classmates when she was young.

Image source: TLC

Her mother also helped her hide the unique details of their family when talking in public. Although the words “sister wives” were harmful to the rest of the world, to her, they were sacred. It did take a while for her to be comfortable with the show’s title.