Sister Wives’ Kody Brown, who is sorta the Nick Cannon of his fringe fundamentalist sect (but less religious than the Wild ‘n Out showman), is down to one wife. 17 seasons ago, Sister Wives was conceived to normalize polygamy for a conventional, TLC-watching audience. TLC has only gotten more bonkers as the Brown family has fallen apart, and the show now stands not as an indictment of its original premise, but as a mood piece about a narcissistic dad of 17. His kids, who mostly seem to hate him, are all he has left.
It’s been a wild year-plus of divorce, heart ache, and Covid for Kody. Let’s take a look at how he’s suffered!
Kody divorced his first and only legal wife Meri Brown, whom he married in 1990, so that he could marry his fourth Robyn and legally adopt her children Dayton, Breanna, and Aurora. They share one child together, Leon Brown. They remained “spiritually” married, though their relationship began to decline in the wake of the divorce, leading Meri into the clutches of a catfish, as detailed in the standout Sister Wives season 9 episode “Meri Catfished.”
Christine Brown, whom Kody married in a “spiritual” sense in March 1994 (again, he was only ever legally married to Meri due to Utah laws), announced she was leaving Kody in November of last year. Kody and Christine share 6 children together, all of whom have appeared on the show: Aspyn, Paedon, Mykelti, Gwendlyn, Ysabel, and Truely. She stayed in Kody’s proximity for almost ten months after breaking up with him as her younger children finished the school year.
Kody’s stringent Covid-prevention guidelines, in addition to his refusal to accompany his daughter Ysabel to her back surgery in New Jersey in September 2020, contributed to the demise of the marriage. As detailed in one of the best episodes of Sister Wives I’ve ever seen, a visibly unraveling Kody traveled to Oklahoma mid-separation to officiate his best friend’s monogamous wedding, told the couple not to get married in his vows, and then danced like this in a near-empty rec center.
Christine was not happy he spent time in Oklahoma with a bunch of blurred faces right after refusing to accompany his own daughter to the hospital.
Christine left Flagstaff, where the family lives, in September of this year, and moved to greater Salt Lake. She took Truely, a measured and mature 12-year-old who wears transition lenses just like her mama, with her. Christine and Truely’s move has been a major plot-point on the breakthrough 17th season of Sister Wives.
Janelle Brown, whom Kody married (also in a “spiritual” sense) in January 1993, announced her split from Kody in mid-December of this year in a preview for a post-season interview called Sister Wives: One-on-One. Together, they share children Logan, Hunter, Garrison, Gabriel, Madison, and Savanah.
Tensions built between Kody and his sons with Janelle when he felt they weren’t doing enough to protect the family from Covid by continuing to go to work. In the third-to-last episode of season 17, Kody contracted Covid and forgot about Gabriel’s birthday. In the final episode of the season, Janelle and Kody got into an explosive fight around a bonfire over the 2021 holidays because Kody told Janelle her boys wouldn’t be welcome in the house he lives in primarily with Robyn until they apologized to him.
Also December 2022
Though long suspected to be fully separated and just playing along for the cameras by the community of passionate Sister Wives heads on Reddit, Meri and Kody did not officially announce their separation until December 15, even if their relationship had been functionally dead for a while. According to People, who broke the news after seeing an advanced screener for next week’s Sister Wives: One-on-One, Meri was still holding on to the relationship even if Kody had completely checked out. Still living in Flagstaff, she reportedly called him on their wedding anniversary.
“He’s like, ‘I don’t even know why you called me Meri.’ He’s like, ‘We’re not married. We’re not acting as married,'” she said in One-on-One.
“I said to him, ‘Then if that’s where we are, don’t you think that we should address that publicly?’ And he said, ‘No I don’t want to address it. I don’t want that to be out there publicly because I don’t want that judgment,'” she said.
The Great Beyond
My hope is that Robyn, his only remaining wife, dumps his sorry ass, and we see Kody make the lateral network leap to 90 Day Fiance.