The Brown family practices plural marriage, which they discuss on the TLC reality series.
The Brown family has been gracing our TVs for more than a decade now, living out plural marriage on TLC's Sister Wives. But in the wake of recent splits, separations, and drama, polygamist Kody Brown and his wives and exes have an even more complicated family dynamic that before. (And that's saying something for a father of 18).
The polarizing pro-patriarchy patriarch has spent the last decade opening up about his marriages to wives Meri Brown, Janelle Brown, Christine Brown, and Robyn Brown. But in the last few years, Christine has split from Kody and gotten engaged to a new man. Janelle has announced that she and Kody are separated after 30 years of marriage. And Meri has confirmed that she and Kody have "permanently terminated" their marriage.
With all these changes, it's hard to keep track of the Browns. So before the Aug. 20 premiere of season 18, let's break down the family wife by wife, shall we?
Here's what you need to know:
Meri is Kody's first wife and grew up in a polygamist family. Kody and Meri met at church when she was 18.
Though the two abstained from any physical intimacy before getting engaged, including kissing, they tied the knot in April 1990, noting that they were both fully aware of their intention to add more wives to the family.
The couple shares child Leon Brown, who came out as transgender in June 2022.
Meri was the subject of a 2015 catfishing scandal in which she thought was talking online to a man, but it turned out to be a woman. In the aftermath, Kody stopped all intimacy with Meri and no longer lives with her. Kody legally divorced Meri in 2014 so as to legally marry his fourth wife, Robyn Brown, in an effort to adopt her children from a previous marriage. Though Kody remained "spiritually married" to Meri after their legal divorce, the former couple confirmed that they had "permanently terminated" their marriage in January 2023 after the TLC show's One-on-One special led to speculation over whether they were done for good.
In the season 18 trailer for the show, Meri is seen telling Kody and Robyn that she no longer wants to be a part of the family.
Janelle is Kody's second wife. He is also her second husband. She was previously married to Adam Barber, who was actually Meri's brother. Coincidentally, Janelle's mother, Sheryl, also married Kody's father, Winn, becoming his third wife.
After Janelle and Adam divorced, she married Kody in 1993. The couple shares six children, sons Logan, Hunter, Garrison and Gabriel, and daughters Madison and Savannah.
Madison or "Maddie" and her husband, Caleb Brush, are parents to son Axel and daughter Evangalynn. Kody has become estranged from his adult children in recent years amid the COVID pandemic. He has been accused of favoring Robyn and neglecting the other wives while enforcing his own COVID protocols that alienated him from many of his children.
In 2022, Kody and Janelle made the decision to separate after almost 30 years of marriage. They announced the decision in the trailer for One-on-One special after the season 17 finale of Sister Wives.
In the season 18 trailer, Janelle tells Christine that she no longer wants to be married to Kody.
Christine was Kody's third wife, and they previously shared a spiritual marriage. They tied the knot in 1994. In November 2021, Christine publicly announced that she was divorcing Kody. Their split is currently playing out on Sister Wives. Christine no longer considers herself a member of their faith and has declared herself divorced from Kody. She's said she plans to pursue monogamous relationships in the future.
The former couple shares son Paedon and daughters Mykelti, Aspen, Gwendlyn, Ysabel, and Truely. Mykelti and her husband, Tony Padron, welcomed their daughter, Avalon, in 2021 and welcomed twin sons, Ace and Archer, in November.
Truely is the only underage daughter of Christine's and the discussion of her custody following Christine and Kody's split has been a heated debate on Sister Wives.
Following her split from Kody, Christine has since relocated to Utah with Truely to be closer to family, but has maintained that she plans to still appear on the TLC reality series.
In December 2022, she met and began dating Utah contractor David Woolley. They went public with their romance in February 2023 and announced their engagement in April 2023. David is expected to appear on season 18 of the TLC series.
Robyn is Kody's fourth wife and the only wife he is legally married to. She and Kody tied the knot in 2014, and their marriage was documented on the reality series. Robyn was previously married to David Jessop, whom she shares daughters Breanna and Aurora with. Kody legally married Robyn in an effort to adopt her daughters. Kody and Robyn also share biological children Dayton, Solomon and Ariella.
Kody is often accused of favoring Robyn, especially throughout the COVID pandemic, as he has set strict restrictions on travel and outside interaction in an effort to keep his youngest children healthy and safe.
Robyn is the only wife that Kody remains in an active relationship with. Though she has maintained that she's struggling with the idea of living monogamously with her husband, she has also said that Kody has not been interested in adding more wives to the family.
Season 18 of Sister Wives premieres Sunday, Aug. 20 at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.