'Sister Wives' Star Janelle Brown Recalls the Moment She Decided to Separate From Kody, Says She's 'Single'

Though Kody Brown's second wife previously described herself as 'separated,' she now says she's 'single' and their 'marriage is over.'

Janelle Brown is excited to move on from her spiritual marriage to Kody Brown. The Sister Wives star opens up in a new cover story for People magazine about the current status of her relationship with her ex and the father of her six children. 

Though she called herself "separated" in the January One-on-One special with interviewer Sukanya Krishnan, Janelle takes things a step further in this new interview, describing herself as "single" for the first time, and saying her 30-year marriage to the polygamist is "over." 

"Because we never were legally married, I can't really say I'm divorced," Janelle explains while with her sister wife, Christine Brown. "When I say it to outside people, I just say, 'I'm no longer with my partner.'"

Christine seems surprised by Janelle's take on the situation, saying, "Really? Oh, I say I'm straight-up divorced. I love that title. I love saying I'm divorced."

Christine announced that she and Kody were divorced in late 2021. She has since moved on and is engaged to fiancé David Woolley.

As for Janelle, she isn't quite ready for a new relationship.  "I don't know, I guess I've always just been like, 'Oh, my partner and I split up.' Sometimes I'll say divorced. I'm single," she shares. 

"Are you single and ready to mingle?" Christine asks. 

"Oh no, no, no, no, no. No dating," Janelle insists. "Maybe in 10 years." 

Unlike Christine, Janelle says she'd consider plural marriage again moving forward. 

"I would actually consider a plural marriage because I really do love the freedom and the independence that it gave me," she says of a polygamist lifestyle. "I think it was a good fit for me. I don't even know what it would be like to be married in a monogamous relationship. If that's what works out, great, so I'm open to plural marriage. But I don't know if there's really a lot of men who can pull it off."

Janelle also recalls the moment she decided she was ready to move on from her relationship with Kody, saying that her ex's rules about COVID "really started to twist our relationship to the point of breaking."  

"He started to be away more, and I thought, 'Wow, I could do this. I could be on my own.' And then we had this really big fight, probably the biggest fight we've ever had," she says. "And after he left, I felt relieved. There was this emotional shock a little bit, and then I was relieved. I can remember I was sitting in the parking lot of a store. I ran an errand and I thought, 'Wow,' I just felt this burden come off me. I thought, 'Wow, wow, OK, I guess this is what we're going to do. We're going to be apart.'"

Janelle is excited about her next chapter without Kody, and being a single woman. 

"For me at this point in my life because my marriage is over and I'm no longer a part of a plural family, it means I have infinite ability to choose what my next chapter looks like, to redefine myself, recreate myself, transform into whatever I want to be," she says. "It's not going to be much different from who I am. Let's be real, I like myself. But I have so many opportunities now, huge opportunities, so I'm excited for this next chapter."

Janelle says she's called on Christine, whom she still considers her "sister wife" several times while struggling with her relationship with Kody. 

"I've called Christine several times when I've needed her to give me some emotional perspective on something that was happening either with Kody or the kids," she explains. "She's the only one who gets what I'm going through."

She also admits that throughout her marriage to Kody, they have separated several times. 

"We would separate for a period of time and then we would figure it out for the sake of the kids," Janelle shares. "I have to consider all these children that I had. And I wasn't going to take them away from all that stability." 

Janelle and Kody share sons Hunter, Logan, Gabriel, and Garrison Brown, as well as daughters Madison and Savanah Brown. 

Kody and his first wife, Meri Brown, announced they had "permanently terminated" their marriage in January. His only remaining marriage is to Robyn Brown, with whom he is legally married. 

Season 18 of Sister Wives premieres Sunday, Aug. 20 at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.