When it comes to love, Kody Brown, 53, never settles for anything less than happiness, which has led him to multiple wives over the years; usually, more than one at once. On TLC’s Sister Wives, Kody’s polygamous life with wives Meri, Janelle, Christine, Robyn, and their eighteen children has been documented since 2010, and viewers have joined the Browns through the rollercoaster of their expansive family. Navigating so many relationships, things can (and have) become complicated at times. In a recent clip, Kody even shared with People he questions polygamy “all the time.” Find out about the four different women he’s married (and those he’s split with) here.
Kody met his first wife, Meri Brown, through Meri’s sister in 1990. After a whirlwind romance, the couple was engaged and married within a year, when Kody was 21 and Meri was 19. Though Meri and Kody have been married the longest, they only share one child: a daughter, Mariah, 26.
The couple remained legally married until 2014, when Kody divorced Mariah so that he would be able to wed his fourth wife, Robyn. Though the pair are still involved in a spiritual marriage after over three decades, Meri and Kody have certainly grown apart; another of Kody’s wives, Christine, even described Kody and Meri as sharing a “loveless marriage.” In a recent Instagram post, Meri opened up to followers about beginning to describe her relationship with Kody as “estranged.” “I know where my relationship is, I’m not oblivious to that,” Meri admitted in her caption. “I will always look for the best in people and situations, and hope they see it too.”
In the trailer for Sister Wives season 17, Meri is heartbroken that Christine is leaving the polygamous family. She admits that she’s not “really sure we have a family anymore.”
Believe it or not, it was Meri who introduced Kody to his second wife Janelle Brown. Janelle, who “spiritually married” Kody in 1993, shares six children with Kody: Logan, Hunter, Robert, Gabriel, Maddie, and Savannah.
Though Janelle remains bound to Kody through their “spiritual marriage” today, they’ve faced hard times, especially since the onset of the pandemic. Kody’s strict COVID-19 rules especially put a strain on Janelle and Christine, and in a January 2022 episode of Sister Wives Janelle reflected on whether she even wanted to remain with Kody. She described their relationship as “strained” and shared it would be “really easy” to walk away.
But even with their trouble in paradise, Janelle still felt certain about the benefits of plural marriage. “What I hope polygamy to be when I was younger ended up being something very different from what I actually lived,” she admitted. “But..I need to be present and be grateful for the family that I have. I am who I am today because of polygamy. Because I lived it.”
As Christine leaves the family, Janelle also reaches her breaking point with Kody. “I don’t think you and I know how to be real about things with each other,” Kody says to Janelle in the season 17 trailer. Janelle admits, “He’s no longer acting as my husband here.”
Trouble in paradise! Christine Brown, who Kody met in 1990 and welcomed into his plural marriage in 1994, is the only one of Kody’s wives to have officially separated from him. The couple, whose relationship fans watched spiral in real-time, announced their separation in November 2021, after 25 years of marriage. Tensions ran high between the couple especially after COVID-19 hit, as Christine and Kody repeatedly bashed heads over his strict rules. Though the couple aren’t exactly on good terms, in a statement at the time Kody emphasized they would continue to focus on co-parenting their six children, son Paedon and girls Aspyn, Mykelti, Gwendlyn, Ysabel, and Truely.
Christine and Kody’s split will be the main storyline in season 17 of their reality show. The trailer shows Christine admitting that it’s been “heartbreaking” to be Kody’s wife for years. She also accuses him of caring more about Robyn, one of his other wives, than her. They have a shocking confrontation in front of Robyn, Meri, and Janelle.
When Robyn Brown met Kody, she saw a chance for new love and a second act. A divorced mom of three, Robyn first encountered Kody at church in 2009 and “spiritually married” each other a year later. After welcoming daughter son Solomon in 2011, Robyn and Kody were legally married in 2014 so Kody could adopt Robyn’s three children from her previous marriage, David, Aurora, and Breanna. Robyn and Kody also welcomed daughter Ariella in 2016.
Though Robyn was the last of Kody’s loves to come into his life, it seems he may be focusing on their relationship more than ever. According to a January report from Us Weekly, Kody has only been spending time with Robyn amid relationship troubles with both Meri and Janelle. Allegedly this rift even stems to their children. “Kody’s stepkids from Robyn’s first marriage worship him and are really close to him, unlike the others,” Us Weekly‘s source revealed. “He has really damaged his relationship with the other kids.”