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Things That Went On Behind the Scenes of Sister Wives

Robyn is the favorite wife.

Robyn is the favorite wife.

If you're a long-time fan of Sister Wives, then you might have noticed an ongoing trend across the sixteen seasons. Why does Robyn always seem to spend the most time with Kody? She's definitely getting special treatment, right? Many viewers agree, much to the other wives' dismay. All it took was a glimpse into Robyn's personal bedroom for them to realize just how much their husband prioritized her. 

It wasn't a difficult decision for Kody to make between his wives.

If spotting a condom on Robyn's infamous nightstand during an episode wasn't enough to make the wives antsy, it appears that Kody chose to quarantine with his fourth wife throughout 2020. The Sun reports that it wasn't a difficult decision for Kody to make between his wives, especially as he continues to make comments about his reluctance to reunite with Meri. Plus, who wouldn't want to shack up in a $900,000 house?

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How does Kody have time for everyone?

How does Kody have time for everyone?

Most couples in monogamous relationships find it difficult to strike a balance between their independence and their relationship, so how does Kody balance four wives? While the wives admit that sharing him is difficult, they don't have an official schedule to ensure that everyone gets their fair share. They leave it up to Kody to maintain his relationships with each wife, which entailed rotating rooms every fourth night. 

However, things aren't as amicable as they might appear on the screen. In 2016, troublemaker Kendra Pollard-Parra dished all about Brown's actual intermarital relationships to InTouch. From constant bickering to deep-rooted jealousy, she thinks that each wife is unhealthily obsessed with Kody, especially Robyn. “The family is arguing constantly,” she said, adding that each wife's relationship with Kody is “a mess."

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Cameras hide Kody's temper.

Cameras hide Kody's temper.

Sister Wives wouldn't be possible without Kody Brown at the center. The cameras helped to shine a positive light on the patriarch of the family for years until rumors began circulating about his bad temper. Sources told The Richest that Kody is "a pretty angry person" who isn't averse to taking "punishment too far" and yelling at his kids "more than they deserve." Let's not reserve any Father of the Year awards for him any time soon.

Kody is "a pretty angry person" who isn't averse to taking "punishment too far."

None of the wives have accused Kody of emotional or physical abuse, but it seems his... harsh parenting style and continued absence for each sector of the family has resulted in strained relationships with his kids, especially the girls. Fathers with just two kids find it hard to split their time between children, so imagine what it's like with 18 kiddos running around! Even worse, he was slammed for not supporting his daughter Ysabel's decision to get back surgery in spring 2021. 

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Kody Brown wasn’t polyamorous until he met Meri.

Kody Brown wasn’t polyamorous until he met Meri.

Before Kody was married to any of his four wives, he set his sights on Meri Barber. They first met while attending church before quickly confessing that the other was their "soulmate" and walking down the aisle in April 1990. Both Kody and Meri practice Mormonism, but it was actually Meri who introduced polygamy and the Apostolic United Brethern to Kody during their courtship. The AUB is not a separate religion but a fundamentalist branch of Mormonism that happened to practice plural marriages. 

During the "First Sneak Peak" of Sister Wives in 2010, Meri confessed, "Cody and I met — I guess I was just young and in love. He and I both knew that we would take another wife, or wives, into the family." Then Kody agreed, saying, "I just fell in love, and then I fell in love again, and then I fell in love again." 

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Kody proposed to one of Robyn's friends in front of her.

Kody proposed to one of Robyn's friends in front of her.

Kody obviously had a hard time warming to his second and third wives, but he didn't have that problem when he met Robyn Sullivan at church. He was so "transfixed by her spirit" that he didn't wait long to invite her to the Brown family. That decision came with a fair share of challenges on Kody's end, including telling Robyn's friend Kendra Pollard-Parra "You're so pretty. I'm looking for another wife!" right in front of Robyn. 

Also, Kody thought Robyn was "trouble" due to being a single mother of three kids. He struggled with looking at her as anything but "a soccer mom" at first, but it's obvious now that he's taken a special interest in his fourth and youngest wife. When will poor Christine get her own retribution for Kody's rude comments?

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Christine “repulsed” Kody at first.

Christine “repulsed” Kody at first.
If you thought Janelle's introduction to the Brown family was less than romantic, take a moment of silence for Christine Allred. Once she locked eyes with Kody one morning at church, she instantly felt a spark. Kody admitted he didn't feel a thing for a while until she hit the dance floor in a fabulous turquoise dress. 

In reality, Kody was "repulsed" that the "chubby" Christine was...

That doesn't sound too bad, right? If you've read Becoming Sister Wives, then you know there's a lot more to the story than a romantic look and an eye-catching dress. In reality, Kody was "repulsed" that the "chubby" Christine was "eating so quickly" on their first date. It was so bad that he physically "couldn't watch" her eat. Um, harsh!

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Meri was caught in a catfishing scandal.

Meri was caught in a catfishing scandal.

The most publicized behind-the-scenes moment of Sister Wives had to be Meri's catfishing scandal. She shared her experience in October 2015 after she realized that she had been duped on Twitter. The scammer Jackie Overton created the online persona "Sam," a middle-aged businessman, in order to and blackmail her. After Meri ended their relationship, Jackie released Meri's intimate pictures and voicemails to the public as well as the book Almost Meri'ed. Meri admitted on Season 7 of Sister Wives that the entire affair was extremely damaging to her relationship with Kody.

"This catfish was just planting things in my head and telling me how horrible my family was and specifically how horrible Kody was," she shared. Ever since Kody divorced her for Robyn, fans noticed that Meri had been pulling away — not that Kody was upset about it. He said that he "didn't want to be intimate with Meri" during a 2018 episode, which definitely wasn't the update fans were hoping for. Even worse? Their church forced them to forfeit their membership because the affair was "too public" for their taste. Poor Meri just can't catch a break!

 

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Kody Doesn't Consider Meri His Wife

Kody Doesn't Consider Meri His Wife

After Meri's painfully humiliating catfishing scandal, Kody admitted that he doesn't consider her his wife anymore despite marrying her first. Many fans saw this coming years prior when Kody divorced Meri to legally marry Robyn. According to a late 2021 article from InTouch, Meri admitted that her "spiritual" marriage with Kody Brown had dissolved into a close friendship but that she still has "hope for more than that."

In fact, Meri went on to say that she's not going anywhere and that Kody's "stuck" with her. Unfortunately, her hopes weren't fulfilled. People Magazine recently announced in December 2022 that Kody "made the decision" to end their relationship. This revelation comes just a few days after Janelle confirmed her separation and a year after Christine's initial departure. 

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Meri lost her day job and started her own business instead.

Meri lost her day job and started her own business instead.

Hold on tight, because there's plenty to come about Meri Brown's... troubling experience as a sister wife. But it all started going downhill when Kody legally divorced her so he could marry Robyn and adopt her three kids from a previous marriage. Meri tried to have a positive attitude about the divorce, but it still came with a range of complex emotions. First, she lost her marriage, then it was her day job as a counselor for at-risk children.

They hated the negative attention that was brought to the business thanks to Meri's show.

Let's just say not everyone jived with Sister Wives, including Meri's former boss. They hated the negative attention that was brought to the business thanks to Meri's show, so they gave her the boot. That didn't knock her down for long! She started her own business apart from the family, including running Lizzie's Heritage Inn after saying goodbye to her mother Bonnie in spring 2021.

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Viewers Speculate About Kody's Abuse Allegations

Viewers Speculate About Kody's Abuse Allegations

We've already discussed that the cameras attempt to hide Kody's temper, but after recent seasons of the show, viewers took to Reddit to discuss Kody's disturbing behavior. It seems the cameras can't keep everything under wraps, especially as his wives make a mass exodus! That fact alone points to some serious issues on Kody's end. 

While some people think his bad behavior is just an act to rake in more viewers, others point to the surmounting evidence of abusive behavior. The most convincing of which is his ex-wife, Christine's, public support of the Domestic Abuse charity S.H.A.R.E. (Sharing Hope for the Abuse through Resilience and Empowerment) after her separation from Kody. 

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Christine's aunt protests her plural marriage.

Christine's aunt protests her plural marriage.

The aforementioned Kristyn Decker AKA Christine's aunt avidly protests the Brown family and their support of polygamy. You might assume that she's merely another run-of-the-mill skeptic of plural marriage, but she was involved in a polyamorous relationship for decades before going public about her disdain for the taboo practice. 

On top of dishing gossip about the Browns, Decker often uses her social media platforms to criticize the family and polygamy in general. In fact, she was the one to call Kody's intentions for moving the family to Los Vegas into question. “They talked about moving to Vegas to escape Utah’s anti-polygamy laws long before they did,” she told Radar Online. “That was their plan, and they used the State coming after them for ratings. That’s my strong opinion.”

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Janelle left for two years due to mental health concerns.

Janelle left for two years due to mental health concerns.

Despite what the producers of the show might portray on screen, not everything is sunshine and rainbows for the wives. After giving birth to her fifth child, Janelle fell into a deep depression, writing in Becoming Sister Wives that the addition of another child paired with limited finances was too much to handle. Janelle could barely keep up with her kids, so how was she expected to keep up with three wives as well?

That's what led her to live with her mother for two years...

Janelle's mental health allegedly caused a rift in her relationship with Meri, getting into one of "the worst fights they'd ever had" during the depressive episode. That's what led her to live with her mother for two years until the Browns moved to a larger house in Utah so the entire family could live together comfortably. It wasn't an easy transition back into the family, citing concerns over "giving up the peace and independence" she gained while living apart. 

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Kody Said He’s Done With Christine

Kody Said He’s Done With Christine

The first of Kody's wives to officially jump ship was Christine! It was quite a surprise to the patriarch of the family,  their friends, and even viewers. The news dropped back in November 2021, and longtime viewers knew that if Christine broke down and left, there was something nasty going on behind the scenes. 

In fact, the rest of the sister wives were also left speechless at the development. According to TV Show Ace, Kody "insists" on never wanting to see his ex-wife again, despite sharing six children together. We doubt that his wishes will come true, however, given that they were already spotted at the same wedding together in October 2022. Despite Kody's anger, we're happy that Christine is putting herself first for once!

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Fans Want the Show to be Cancelled

Fans Want the Show to be Cancelled

Given everything we know about the tumultuous Brown family — at least, what used to be a family — and their failed attempts at becoming lifelong Sister Wives, maybe it's time for a change. Fans are calling on Kody to hand the spotlight back to TLC and do something worthwhile, like spending time with his 17 kids. Plus, only Robyn remains, so the entire premise of the show — being "sister wives" — is ruined.

But we all know that Kody probably won't leave the show willingly, so after 17 long seasons and swirling abuse allegations, even diehard fans are calling for the show to be canceled.  But one Redditor expressed their doubts of the show ever going away: "TLC will never [cancel Sister Wives]. They have too many shows that have come to light about abuse and TLC has known and still puts them on the air. The Duggars, The Snowdens... Almost all their shows have had some kind of scandal dealing with abuse or fraud."

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Janelle Finally Confirmed Separation

Janelle Finally Confirmed Separation

One source close to the Brown family told InTouch that Janelle would "never" leave Kody no matter how "tough" things got. " “Janelle, I do not believe will ever leave Kody,” the source said. “Janelle is perfectly content with the relationship they’ve always had and it’s never changed, and it’s always been the way it is and he respects her. … She and Kody are best friends.”
 

Kody has “been acting like we weren’t a married couple for most of [their] marriage.” 

Following in Christine's footsteps, Janelle finally realized that Kody "can’t handle my independence," she said in a TLC confessional, "I don’t know if this works for me anymore." Janelle went on to admit that Kody has “been acting like we weren’t a married couple for most of [their] marriage.” InTouch confirmed their separation in late November 2022 after a family friend dropped the bombshell in a TikTok. 

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Janelle Brown married Meri's Brother

Janelle Brown married Meri's Brother

If Kody and Meri's relationship was a whirlwind romance, then he and Janelle Schriever's was a light breeze. Kody and Janelle were friends for years before even considering getting into a relationship mainly because Janelle was already married to Meri's brother! This small detail wasn't a huge problem because she was already part of the AUB. She and Adam Barber were in a monogamous marriage for two years and had no children, which made it easy for Janelle to jump ship for the more "intellectual" Kody.

They married in 1993, but she confessed in the book Becoming Sister Wives that it took longer than expected for the couple to grow emotionally close. In fact, they told suspicious neighbors that they were siblings rather than newlyweds in order to keep their marriage under wraps in Utah, where polygamy is strictly outlawed. If that wasn't enough, the Brown family routinely acknowledges Janelle and Kody's union as "cerebral" and "transactional" instead of romantic. 

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Kody’s dad and Janelle’s mom formed their own plural marriage.

Kody’s dad and Janelle’s mom formed their own plural marriage.

When in a small polygamous sector of Utah, everyone knows everyone. The Brown family is no exception. From Janelle divorcing Meri's brother to Janelle's mother marrying Kody's father, it seems like the Browns are no stranger to complicated — and controversial — relationship dynamics. Six months before Kody's marriage to Janelle, his father Winn Brown married her mother Sheryl Usher within Winn's own polygamous union.

Sheryl was monogamous before matching with Winn, but Janelle claims that her mother always supported her plural marriage with Kody. While Sheryl had her own struggles navigating a relationship with a man who already had a few women in his home, she eventually formed friendships with his wives. Unfortunately, Winn passed away in 2013 and Sheryl died seven years later in December 2020. This recent loss took quite the toll on Janelle, who said that Winn and Sheryl remained a close couple until their deaths. 

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Kody no longer advocates for polygamy.

Kody no longer advocates for polygamy.

Remember when we said that the motif of the show was to destigmatize polygamy and drone up support for the Brown family marriage? Perhaps Kody has endured enough over the past 15 seasons of Sister Wives that he's willingly forgotten the entire purpose of the show in the first place. Well, besides some extra pocket change. 

"I've told friends recently that I didn't want to be an advocate of plural marriage anymore."

During the Season 14 premiere in 2020, Kody claimed to his wives, "I've told friends recently that I didn't want to be an advocate of plural marriage anymore." Apparently, he knows now how "unstable" polygamy is, and it only took a few decades to realize it! "I am more aware now than I ever was before the apparent and obvious unfairness in the relationship. We wonder if Robyn has anything to do with his recent change of heart...

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Brown family declared bankruptcy in 2005.

Brown family declared bankruptcy in 2005.

Before the first season of Sister Wives aired in 2010, the Browns were closing in on complete financial ruin. Turns out you can rack up quite a lot of debt between four people! According to unearthed financial documents, Meri and Kody owed up to $230,000 at one point. From $137,000 owed in mortgages and thousands owed to Home Depot, it's no wonder Kody clings to Sister Wives for a quick buck. 

 

Robyn's former bestie Kendra Pollard-Parra has no problem slamming Kody Brown for being money-obsessed, telling InTouch in 2016 that "Kody's main goal is to keep the series going and to make money. He's a snake." According to In Style, the family earns between 25k and 40k per episode. Looks like their days of penny-pinching are far behind them.

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Moved to Nevada for the show, not the law.

Moved to Nevada for the show, not the law.

If Sister Wives could be summarized in one goal, it would be to eliminate the stigma surrounding plural marriages. Unfortunately, Utah wasn't exactly the ideal location for publicly promoting polygamy across America. In 2010, the Browns were accused by the state of breaking its bigamy laws. After a grueling two-year investigation, the charges were eventually dropped, but that doesn't mean all was forgiven. The Browns failed to take Utah to court for infringing on their personal freedoms, so they decided to move to Las Vegas to escape the shame-filled environment.

Seasons 2 and 3 of the show might have portrayed the move as a necessary evil, but Christine's aunt Krysten Decker told Radar Online that it was a calculated move to bolster views for the show. Fast-forward to 2020 and Kody is doing it again! After he decided it would "cut costs," the family relocated to Flagstaff, Arizona, but not all the wives were particularly thrilled about abandoning their home. Robyn seems happy, however, saying, "Vegas changed a lot over the last few years. So we started worrying a lot more about what the kids are getting exposed to" in the newest season's trailer. 

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