'Sister Wives' Star Christine Brown Reveals Why She Lost Respect for Kody Brown Before Their Split

The reality star announced her split from Kody Brown in November 2021.

Christine Brown is revealing why she lost respect for her ex. In a new interview, the 50-year-old Sister Wives star shares how a medical situation with one of her and Kody Brown's kids led to her leaving her plural marriage.

"He broke my little girl's heart," Christine tells People of Kody. "I really find it hard to stay with a guy who I don't respect."

The girl in question is Christine and Kody's 19-year-old daughter, Ysabel, who underwent surgery to correct her scoliosis in September 2020. While Christine traveled to New Jersey with Ysabel for the procedure, Kody opted not to, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason he stayed behind. In addition to Ysabel, the exes are parents to Aspyn, 27, Mykelti, 26, Paedon, 24, Gwendlyn, 20, and Truely, 12.

"I understood COVID, and why he couldn't come, but she didn't. And she still has a really hard time with it," Christine explains. "I was there with Ysabel the whole time in New Jersey for the surgery. And I remember them pointing out, like, 'Are you here alone? Where's your husband?' I'm like, 'Oh, he's not here.' And they're like, 'Whoa, isn't that hard?' And I'm like, 'No, it's hard for her. It's hard for Ysabel, but it's not hard for me.'"

Christine calls Kody's absence at Ysabel's surgery "a good wake-up call."

"In the end, I would've preferred to have him there, of course, because it's what Ysabel needed," she says. "But I didn't need him anymore."

Even after that situation, Christine didn't announce that she was leaving her marriage of 25 years until more than a year later, in November 2021.

When Christine broke the news of her decision on Instagram, Kody said in a statement, "Christine's decision to leave comes with a great deal of sadness. We enjoyed many years together and I have a large amount of respect and admiration for her. Although we are moving forward on different paths, we will always remain committed parents."

"I believed in the team, and that's what it was about. So we just made it work," Christine tells the outlet of her reason for staying in the plural marriage with Kody, which also includes Meri Brown, Janelle Brown and Robyn Brown. 

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Ultimately, though, Christine "needed more communication, more trust, and I realized we didn't really have a partnership."

"It wasn't just the physical aspect of intimacy that we didn't have. It was that layer of love, and commitment, and trust," she says. "The most important thing anybody can do is just stop and listen to your heart. Once I did, I was like, 'Oh, OK, then I can't do this anymore, and I need to figure out how to make the rest of my life how I want it.'"

While Christine worried she "was making selfish decisions" when she decided to leave her marriage, she eventually realized she had to go through with the breakup. She now lives in Salt Lake City with her daughter, Truely, whom she co-parents with Kody.

"I thought for a while, I was making selfish decisions. Then I was like, 'Is this selfish?' I realized, 'No, this is exactly what you should do. You should be in charge of your life,'" she says. "It's scary, yes, because you don't know what it looks like, but it's a lot better than staying where you shouldn't be."

Christine and Kody's split will play out on the upcoming season of Sister Wives, which will debut Sunday, Sept. 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TLC. Watch video below for a sneak peek at the season.