As with any other modern reality series, the drama on Sister Wives doesn’t end when the cameras stop rolling. In fact, the show – following the fortunes of a polygamist family – has racked up more secrets than patriarch Kody Brown has children. Here’s a look at 20 of the juiciest.
20. The wives each have their own houses
The Brown family used to all live under one roof in Lehi, Utah. But since them relocating to Las Vegas, each wife now has her own place to call home. Christine, in particular, is pretty pleased about the arrangement, admitting, “I don’t want a guy around all the time. It’s too much work.”
19. Kody only has one official wife
Only one of the four sister wives is actually an official wife. After divorcing Meri, Kody legally walked down the aisle with Robyn in order to adopt her three kids from a previous relationship, Dayton, Aurora and Breanna. The other three wives are only “spiritually married” to the man of the Brown houses.
18. Janelle was once in wedlock with Meri’s brother
The Browns’ unusual family tree gets even stranger when you learn that Janelle and Meri were actually sisters-in-law before they became fellow sister wives. Indeed, the former was once wed to the latter’s brother, Adam Clark Barber. This might just explain why the pair’s relationship appears to always have been so frosty.
17. Kody and Meri once went bankrupt
The Brown family may be rolling in cash now that they’re the stars of a hit reality show. But just over a decade ago they were penniless. With debts of nearly $250,000, Kody and Meri went bankrupt in 2005. The show’s success has since enabled them to pay off their debts.
16. Meri was catfished during her divorce
The drama surrounding Meri mid-divorce was more suited to another reality show: MTV’s Catfish. While waiting for her legal separation to be finalized, Kody’s first wife began building an online relationship with a man named Sam. But the man in question eventually turned out to be a woman named Jackie Overton.
15. Kody only has sex with one wife
To add to Meri’s misery, Jackie Overton then went on to write a tell-all book about what she had learned from her catfishing victim. According to the unashamed duper, Robyn is not just Kody’s one and only legal wife; she is also the only wife he has sex with.
14. The Browns were kicked out of their church
The catfish drama also resulted in the Browns being kicked out of their Utah church. Radar Online reported that the Apostolic United Brethren church strongly disapproved of the publicity that the show generated. The revelations that came out during the scandal were the last straw, however, and the family were told that they were no longer welcome. Kody and co. have since had to practice their faith solely within the confines of their own home.
13. Kody isn’t actually a polygamist
The fact that Kody is only “spiritually married” to three of his four wives means that the world-famous polygamist isn’t strictly a polygamist. Defined as the practice of having more than one spouse at a time, polygamy is illegal in the U.S. But Kody’s sole official marriage certificate means that he can’t be prosecuted for his unique arrangement.
12. Madison and Mykelti don’t want to follow in their parents’ footsteps
Madison and Mykelti, Kody’s daughters with Janelle and Christine, respectively, both recently got married. However, the two half-siblings both insist that this will be the only time they walk down the aisle. Indeed, unlike their parents, the pair aren’t interested in leading a polyamorous lifestyle and plan to remain monogamous with their new husbands.
11. Maddie got pregnant by an in-law
Maddie may not be interested in living a polygamous lifestyle herself, but she still appears keen to keep it in the family. Kody and Janelle’s daughter recently announced that she and her husband Caleb Brush were expecting their first baby. Brush just happens to be the sibling of Kody’s brother’s wife, Erica Brush Brown.
10. Meri lost her job because of the show
The Brown family had lived for years as polygamists before inviting the TLC cameras to film their every move. But while audiences at home were fascinated by their unique lifestyle, Meri’s bosses weren’t happy in the slightest. In fact, Kody’s first wife was apparently sacked from her office job shortly after Sister Wives first went on air.
9. The family were investigated by the State of Utah
The State of Utah wasn’t too impressed by the Browns’ unorthodox living arrangement, either. With polygamy illegal in the state, officials launched an investigation into the family following the show’s premiere. So Kody, his four wives and his army of children subsequently packed their bags and relocated to the more welcoming state of Nevada.
8. The Browns allegedly milked their Las Vegas move for TV
Like many reality show participants, the Browns have been accused of contriving certain situations to make for good TV. Indeed, Christine’s aunt Kristyn Decker told Radar Online that the family had planned to move to Las Vegas long before Utah officials began investigating their arrangements. Decker added that she firmly believed Kody and co. made the relocation appear far more urgent than it actually was.
7. Meri was reportedly assaulted by another wife
Catfisher Jackie Overton also alleged that the animosity between the wives once resulted in a physical altercation. She claimed that, following a particularly heated argument, one unnamed wife grabbed a pregnant Meri by the shoulders and kneed her in the stomach. As a result, Meri refused to speak to the wife in question for several months.
6. Robyn has insulted Meri to friends in private messages
One person who definitely isn’t Meri’s biggest fan is Robyn. According to Life & Style, in Facebook messages to her friends Kody’s fourth wife regularly calls his first “a bitch.” Despite offering to be a surrogate mother for her, Robyn also claimed that Kody didn’t actually want another child with Meri. Miaow.
5. Meri was jealous when Janelle got pregnant
Meri has also reportedly had her run-ins with Janelle. Kody’s first wife was understandably jealous when she had to start sharing her husband with his second wife in 1993. But things became even more tense when Janelle then fell pregnant first, too. Janelle gave birth to Logan in May 1994, while Meri had to wait until July 1995 to give birth to daughter Mariah.
4. Robyn doesn’t want her sister wives’ help raising her children
Typically, all the sister wives help out with the raising of Kody’s many children. But the newest, Robyn, insisted that she didn’t want to rely on anyone but her own flesh and blood. She subsequently asked her sister, Tarlyce Sullivan, for her help with her three kids from a previous marriage and Solomon and Ariella, her two children with Kody.
3. Janelle suffered from post-partum depression
Janelle admitted in the Browns’ 2012 autobiography that she had once suffered “a horrible postpartum depression.” Financial worries – as well as the overwhelming experience of having multiple kids in a short space of time – resulted in her leaving home for two years. Only when Kody agreed to move the family to a bigger house did her mental state begin to improve.
2. Robyn’s friend Kendra claims Kody asked her to be his fifth wife
And Overton isn’t the only Sister Wives confidante to have spilled the beans. Robyn’s once-close friend Kendra Pollard-Parra told In Touch that Kody had asked her to be his fifth wife. Even more unusually, he apparently did it right in front of Robyn. Specifically, Pollard-Parra has claimed that Kody propositioned her the very first time they met and that her response was to say, “Eww.” She also alleged that he is still looking for another wife.
1. Robyn is apparently preparing for divorce
Kody’s alleged determination to marry for a fifth time is reportedly causing his fourth wife to consider leaving the family. Radar Online has alleged that Robyn is now planning to file for divorce after becoming sick of being a “puppet.” And this would ultimately leave the head of the Brown household with no legal spouse.