Comedians love mother-in-law jokes, but this man’s home life is no laughing matter – even though he’d have an abundance of material for a stand-up routine. After all, he is married to five women. Understandably, then, his chosen lifestyle is so controversial that even the more conventional of polygamists object to his way of life. Readers, let us introduce you to Brady Williams and his five wives.
Williams was brought up in a Mormon family, but now he’s an ex-bishop. In fact, he’s currently employed in project management with his brother’s construction company. He also studies philosophy in his spare time. Not that you’d think he has any time to spare, what with five wives – and 25 kids.
Through his Mormon upbringing, though, the now 45-year-old began to learn about polygamy around his mid-teens. At 22, he married for the first time – to Paulie. He already knew that he would take on a second wife, however, and within 12 months he had married Robyn. And by the time he was 29, he had married his third (Rosemary), fourth (Nonie) and fifth (Rhonda) wives.
And between his five wives, Williams fathered 25 children. The kids are aged from 23 down to one, and even Williams struggles to remember all of their names and ages. With Paulie – his longest-standing and only legal wife – he has six kids: daughters Karlie, Madeline, September, Maura and Camry, and son Joshua.
With Nonie, there are sons Paul and Aaeyden and their sisters Rachel, Marissa, Tailee and Addisen. Wife Robyn bore three sons – Dane, Thomas and Trey – and two daughters, Hannah and Lauren. And Rosemary is mom to girls Kimberly and Taylor and boys James and Brandon. Rhonda, meanwhile, has daughters Eden and Arwen and sons Lake and Nikolas.
The family – all 31 of them – are spread over two large houses sat adjacent to each other outside Salt Lake City, Utah. They manage to sit down for a family meal together each night, with Rosemary considered the star chef. With so many mouths to feed, however, groceries for the month run to a whopping $4,000.
To help pay the bills, then, Williams’ wives also work. For example, Paulie and Rhonda work as a dental hygienist and a medical assistant, respectively. Nonie works alongside her husband doing administrative work at the construction company. Meanwhile, Rosemary also worked there until she quit to get a teaching qualification. Robyn, then, is the only stay-at-home mom.
Amazingly, Williams will spend a night with each wife in turn, with a bonus night together on each of their birthdays. With such a large family, though, it could be hard to find any quiet time. However, they insist that everyone has their own space. Being without a husband for days at a time can be lonely, though, so one wife devised a rather unusual solution.
Wife Robyn told The Huffington Post in September 2013, “One year for Christmas I made each of my sister wives a body pillow. It was of Brady, and it had this little thought cloud with their name in it so it’s like he’s dreaming of them. It was something they could hold while it’s not his night to be with them.”
So what do the neighbors think of the Williams’ unconventional ways? After all, while their chosen lifestyle may seem strange to many, they are among company. Yes, the community in which they live is Fundamentalist Mormon. Therefore, it’s a neighborhood that shares the ideal that polygamy is the route to heaven.
Still, Mormons actually outlawed polygamy as a practice more than 100 years ago. Fundamentalist Mormons, however, believe the Mormons wrongly abandoned the principle in order for the American mainstream to accept the religion and its followers. But the Williamses describe themselves as “progressive polygamists.”
Consequently, the neighbors have shunned the Williamses. Indeed, it seems that the way they’ve chosen to bring up their family does not sit well within their community. After all, Williams’ approach is far more modern than the beliefs of more traditional Mormons. In fact, Williams even goes as far as to call himself a feminist.
“Certainly polygamy has been patriarchal; the man is in charge,” Brady told ABC News. “But I like to think we’ve evolved and are still evolving.” For example, the parents support gay marriage, and they are occasional drinkers. Plus, they raised their kids to know that pluralism isn’t the only way of life.
The five wives did, in fact, grow up in the small rural town. If truth be told, they’re all related, and their families raised them to be subservient sister wives. But the family have since distanced themselves from any religious leanings.
Still, it’s not only religion that the family have become distanced from. Yes, the community wants them out, so at odds are they with Williams’ progressive approach to Mormonism. Brady told ABC News, “The leadership of the community has made it clear – because of the decisions that we have made – it’s be better if we left. And I agree.”
But that’s not to say all of their problems would disappear if they were to up and leave the neighborhood. After all, jealousy is a factor with the women, even though the five wives claim not to think about it. But with so many women married to just one man, the green-eyed monster has inevitably raised its head.
For instance, Williams took Rhonda on a trip to Washington state to celebrate their tenth anniversary. On the week-long trip, the couple began looking at property in the area. As he grew up near Seattle, Williams had wanted the family to relocate there, moving away from the community that wants rid of them.
Unsurprisingly, the four other wives were not happy about the trip. And they were downright furious to learn that the pair had also been looking for somewhere to live. In fact, with six people involved in the decision-making for the family, the women believed that Williams should have consulted them first.
Nevertheless, it’s easy to wonder why they choose to stay put. But, for the five women, family comes first. Rosemary told ABC News, “I can’t say that I’ve never considered leaving. It’s just that it would devastate the entire family.”
“We spent years and years building this family,” added Rhonda. “And we love each other.” Indeed, it seems to be love that holds the family together. “It’s not that complicated,” Williams claimed to ABC News. “We love each other. It’s just normal times five.”