Sister Wives: Janelle Brown once moved away, almost left Kody and her sister wives; has a difficult relationship with Meri

The Brown family from TLC’s Sister Wives recently published a very honest and open book called Becoming Sister Wives about the complicated history of their lives in a plural marriage. There’s a lot of great stuff in there, but one thing that’s making a lot of headlines is Janelle’s revaluation that in the eighth year of her marriage she moved away from the family for several years.

When talking about Janelle’s early relationship with Meri and Kody, they all admitted that huge mistakes were made that put caused roadblocks to family harmony. Janelle was once married to Meri’s brother Andy, so Meri and Janelle were familiar with each other but had never forged a close friendship. Janelle DID find deep friendship with Kody, who had once been her brother-in-law and was also her step-brother, helping him find work, and connecting with him on a cerebral level. Janelle admits in the book that she and Kody were not in love when they courted and married, and Meri admits that Janelle and Kody’s less intense relationship made her feel more safe than when he invited another woman into the marriage.

Looking back, Meri has regrets about how they handled their initial cohabitation. “I never took the time to think about how I should upon up my space — both physical and emotional — to accommodate a new wife . . . The biggest mistake we made when we married Janelle was us all moving into a house together and not giving Janelle and me the space we needed to develop and nurture our own relationships with Kody. Having us all in the same house brought Janelle face-to-face on a daily basis with the romantic relationship Kody and I had.”

Meri and Janelle had terrible fights, and Meri admitted to being “harsh” and “aggressive.” She also felt “devastated” when Janelle got pregnant before her, even though “Deep down, I had expected it.”

Janelle describes feeling completely unwelcome in Kody and Meri’s house in the early days of the marriage. “Meri and I went from cordial to frosty overnight. We sniped at each other over the smallest things. When she was younger, Meri had quite an overbearing personality. It was clear I was unable to do anything right–or rather, in a way that suited Meri. I folded Kody’s clothes incorrectly. I bought the wrong dish soap and put away the dishes in the wrong places.”

Christine’s introduction into the marriage helped ease the tension between Meri and Janelle, but things really came to a head after Janelle gave birth to her fifth child with Kody. She found herself sinking into a deep postpartum depression:

I felt so overwhelmed by having had so many children in quick succession, and felt seriously depressed at our lack of financial means. I knew I was miserable, but had no idea how to fix the situation.

She had a really bad fight with Meri, and saw no way out, so took all her kids to go stay with her mother. After a while being away, Janelle actually bought herself a new car and a new house so she could begin her life away from the rest of the family without actually exiting the marriage. (With her salary, she had this option, but only if she stopped contributing money to the family, but she had no intention of leaving the marriage.) After she moved out, Janelle got her degree in accounting and after two years Kody proposed that they all move to Utah where he had found a new job and a huge house built for a polygamous family (the one featured on the first and second season of Sister Wives.) Janelle actually stayed behind in her own house for another year before deciding to move in with the entire family (until the move to Utah, Christine also had her separate house, so this one house per wife thing they’re currently doing in Las Vegas isn’t really so novel to the family.)

All the wives openly talk about how their marriage has had ups and downs, and all the wives have struggled at some point, but they still find plenty of positives to make the negatives worth it. They have four other people in their marriage, so when they’re struggling with one or more, they still have someone else to lean on. Right now Christine is struggling hard with her relationship with Kody, and it’s being documented on television. They had all gotten used to being in the same marriage for so long, when Robyn was introduced, it shook thinks up again in a major way.

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  • MrsB

    Every marriage is difficult and I think it’s wonderful what they have created and do!

    • Brenda

      I think it’s disgusting that these people can get away with this illegal activity. I would like my own show where I’m the wife and I have four husbands. Do you think it would be picked up by some television station? probably not considering I’m a woman and it’s still most definitely a man’s world. This guy is sitting back laughing and hiding behind some bogus religion. He’s got it made….sex with a different woman every night of the week. How this illegal bunch made it to TV is beyond me. They are all sick

      • Cheryl Peters Young

        Brenda ,, they made it on tv because we all love watching them ,,, its curiousity ,, plain and simple ,, I would never pick it nor would you but they really put it all out there ,, thats hard ,, I wouldn’t want my issues out for the world to see ,, I can see many things wrong in their lives ,, and think they would be happier separate with a man of their own ,, but ,, its their choice ,, they have every right to live the way they want and make a different chose if this stops working for them ,, they take care of their kids and they kids are for the most part ok ,, what ever issues they have are no different then those from divoced homes or other homes with a large amount of kids in them from what we see on tv ,, the oldest son is really so much like mine trying to be the man of the house in the absense of a father who is hardly there ,,, it is what it is ,, they have great mothers ,,

      • Carol

        Brenda – i am absolutely sure you would geta a show! But you gotta be first! Hurry. You need three husbands with two kids and one on the way.

        • MyThoughts Exactly

          Carol, don’t interrupt Cheryl. She’s busy monitoring everybody’s comments with her comas,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
          ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.,,& her atrocious spelling. I hope she can get off the computer long enough to find a dictionary.

      • MyThoughts Exactly

        Well Brenda, you’re correct on one point: would TLC have a reality show about you, just a regular, plain Jane woman who sits on her ass while her 4 “spiritual” husbands work and take care of you while you let these rotating husbands come in your bedroom & service you? Geez, I swear that show wouldn’t survive a week. It could happen if the woman were Madonna or Beyoncé, fierce women with a bunch of live-ins but normal women like you & me? Never. The viewers are made up of 99.9% women & we’re all putting ourselves in these women’s places, scratching our heads wondering how they’re doing this so no, a show with 1 woman having relations with 4 men would make you slutty & nobody wants that.

  • Ralphie

    They make me sick. Gross.

  • brianna

    its like so weird!!!!!!!!!

  • Ajax

    yeah, they are a pretty disturbing bunch.

  • Katie

    Too each their own.

  • tab

    i don’t understand it, or the appeal, but if they’re happy and the children are cared for more power to them.

  • Tracie

    I could NEVER imagine my husband with another woman. It would make me sick!!

  • Davina

    Um, yeah this is weird to me too. I mean marriage is between a (one) woman and a (one) man. I could never imagine my husband with another woman and if it did happen I’d be damnned if I would see it happening in front of me!! Idk, I mean to each is own but I personAlly count do it. It just blows my mind the things that people do, n its not just nowadays cause this stuff has happened for years. It’s just all Commin out into the light nowadays n I personally think it shoulda been left in the dark!!! Lol but seriously, I guess as long as they are happy and it works for them and the kids are taken care of and happy than let em be. They’re not hurting anyone.

    • Cheryl Peters Young

      they are hurting someone ,, themselves ,, they are also hurting their kids ,, in someways ,, why do you think christines kids were hurting robins kids??? you know why ,, the kids were lashing out because robins presents was hurting their mother ,, kids know ,, and will try to protect their mothers ,, its just normal ,,

  • Tara Stein

    I love this show. I was shocked at first of how they lived, but weve come a long way in this decade with gay marriage and fighting for our freedom to live how we want. I think its so awesome how people can choose exactly how they wanna live. I mean we got 1 life to live do it how u please. MORE POWER TO THEM

    • Cheryl Peters Young

      I agree with Tara ,, its up to them ,, I can’t judge them ,, but I do see many issues just watching the show ,, many of which wouldn’t exist if they were in a one to one relationship ,, and they say it makes you a stronger better person is just a cop out to me ,, they are co-dependent even if its a religious belief ,, thats just a fact not a judgement ,,

    • MyThoughts Exactly

      I totally agree!

  • I watch the show occasionally. It is rather off the beaten track. I see no advantage for the women, but Cody should be sexually satisfied . I think it benefits the men. I wouldn’t want to share my man with anyone. What effect does it have on the children ?

    Janell is a productive woman . She and her children would be way down the road. To share her finances to keep the place going for other wives is a huge sacrifice.

    Right now they have made a soap opera of their lives and it ia somewhat interesting. It is an acting job for everyone.

    • Cheryl Peters Young

      I agree Janelle is making a huge sacrifice ,, but she had christine to watch her kids which is a major plus ,,I disagree about kody though ,, I don’t see that as a plus for him ,, or just a sexual thing ,, to me he has it pretty bad ,, running from one house to the other ,, everyone pissed off at him all the time ,, he is spread way too thin here ,, there is no way any man is ment to be able to take care of all these womens emotional needs its crazy ,,, if that is happiness i can’t see it ,, in the bible when they had multiple wifes they never cared about the womens emotional needs they made babies and took care of making money ,, they couldnt careless about how happy anyone was ,, and everyone lived that way ,, its not practical in this day and age ,, its just crazy ,, one to one relationships all the way ,,

  • Allison

    Whoa, Janelle was once married to Meri’s brother? Another shocking revelation!

  • Caroline

    Why did janelle move to Las Vegas? Im sure she went because of the show. Janelle would have been better off staying in Utah with her good job and buying herself a decent car (remember the duck taped door..and she made the most money and kody had the newer sports car)and a smaller home. Her kids wanted to stay and there was no benefit for her to go live in Vegas. She has no real job now and work seems to be her identity.

    • Cheryl Peters Young

      I noticed her driving that car too ,, and it annoyed me that he had a nice car ,, she should have had a minivan for all her kids ,, she is a hard working making the most money of the wives ,, she must have moved because of the tv show no idea what that pays but I know she is to smart not have thought it threw ,, the show will end and so will all of our interest in their life style ,, but if they can profit enough from it while it lasts it will be ok ,, Janelle will be ok no matter what she has her degree and will get a job doing that again ,, and why not ride this and save money for now ,,,

  • Leslie

    To each their own but I do find it weird that Janelle was once married to Meri’s brother. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just too close to home.

    • Shy Sharon

      and Kody’s step sister? omg!

      • Chance

        It seems like alot of polygamists are somehow related. I’m not saying it’s incest but too close to home, like Janelle. I guess they are small communities and they all have a ton of children so everyone is a cousin or step etc

        • Shy Sharon

          It is incest, maybe not in this particular example, but they do carry incest diseases and that’s a fact!

  • Gwyn

    Its so sad that she put herself through all of that, for what? It’s rediculous.

  • jojo

    christine & janelle’s mothers are also sister wives to codys dad

    • KathyF

      No just Janelle’s mother. Christine’s mother is in a polygamist relationship but not with Kody’s dad.

  • Heather again

    After watching the show from the beginning, Meri comes off as incredibly selfish, immature and a leach (she doesn’t work) – has to have the biggest house at the expense of the other wives/children, etc., etc. – – -so, so many instances. Janelle, on the other hand, is incredibly unselfish and giving to the family.

    • Cheryl Peters Young

      I know but you can’t blame Meri ,, they were raised in families that have this belief ,, her jealousy is understandable and normal put yourself in her place she is the only true wife and then shared her husband ,,, I feel bad for her and the other 3 no blame assigned ,, its the situation ,, I would never share ,, I’d rip someones face off if they were with my husband ,, I’m incredibly jealous ,, and I would feel ,, being the only “true wife” entitled to having kody support me if I didn’t want to work ,, I’d be an incredible bitch too,,, like ive said in other posts this is no way to live your life ,, I’d be out of there ,, in fact I’d have never gotten into this place to begin with ,, love the show ,,,, love the fact that they can share it with all of us but god how aweful for all of them ,, I don’t know why they think god would want to torture them all this way ,, I hope they all find true love some day with a guy of their own ,,

      • Donna

        Then why did she want a polygamist marriage, if you are going to be jealous and insecure Meri is very self centered and insecure, I think Kodys favorite is Robyn you could see it right from the beginning. I also think Robyn is manipulative and sneaky.

        • MyThoughts Exactly

          DAMN STRAIGHT DONNA!! Go girl!

      • MyThoughts Exactly

        Whoa, hold on there miss ,,,,,,,,,,,,,coma! Meri chose this lifestyle and yes, she knew how it works & she is a whining jealous freak. There is no entitlement as the legal wife and she abuses the fact that she had difficulty having kids. She gets the same amount of money as the others? Cuz she shouldn’t be punished for only having one child? And when IVF was an option or surrogacy, she wouldn’t do it yet whines about not having more kids? And gets to stay on her ass all day cuz the gets the same amount as the moms who have 6 kids? She has a 7 bedroom McMansion ffs….really? Yuck, she used that infertility excuse to its’ fullest advantage & what did it get her? A 300 lb ass

    • Julia

      I have watched the show from the beginning. Meri is not selfish. So what if Meri wants a bigger house? After over 20 years of marriage, a complex marriage, is that too much to ask?

  • Guardian

    Meri strikes me as a very uppity drama queen, and pretentious, caring too much about possessions, having nice things, and the size of her house, her insistence on french doors, a wet bar (why a wet bar??? …..does she drink???), and why does she need so many bedrooms? Its just her and her grown daughter, who will soon be out of the house. Its just selfish and show-offy. As for Robin being young and pretty, my God, are you blind?? She looks like a witch, with the square jaw, protruding big chin, the hooked nose, eeeeew! All the others look better than her! But shes kind. Christine seems a bit bitchy, though i dont know all her and Kody’s issues. I like Jannelle the most. Hard worker, practical, logical, down to earth, smart, and easy-going. Shes a keeper. Kody seems like a cheuvenistic, double-standard, egotistical jerk at times, but is nice most of the time. Enough differing personalities to keep me watching. At least its not quite as staged as other reality shows.

    • Cheryl Peters Young

      agreed but again it must aweful for Meri ,, I think she should find a job something to do with herself ,, she is where I am in life looking at an empty nest and is really single ,, she only has kody in her life very very part time even having a boyfriend is better ,, no kids to take care of ,, nothing to do ,, if she wants to continue to be with him and not have a boyfriend on the side then she should find a job ,, a hobby something to keep her busy ,, i think she is lonely ,,

  • Guardian

    Okay, i take it back about Robin being the worst looking wife of the four wives. Actually, meri is the ugliest and weirdest looking. Her pug nose is soooo ugly, looks like it has buttocks on the end, and her manly cleft chin and dark orange face are awful! Worry less about your house and your “things”, Meri, and put the money on plastic surgery! Lol!

    • Lizard

      I finally figured out why Meri looks so familiar — she looks like a human version of Miss Piggy though the real Miss Piggy dresses better and actually has a personality.

      • Chance


      • Guardian

        Yes! Exactly! You nailed it! Lol!

    • MyThoughts Exactly

      Oh! You noticed the Orange? Geez, I thought the colour was off on my tv! Lol, wtf’s up with that? There are 17 kids & 4 other adults in that family & NOBODY could have pulled her aside & told her? Meri!! Lose the ass & stop that tan-in-a-bottle! It ain’t working for ya! Has anybody noticed how their looks have changed since the start? Meri has gained a lot of weight & her hair needs a good comb, Christine has really aged, gained weight & her immaturity is disgusting, Janelle who was quiet & chunky has blossomed into this gorgeous, beautiful, smart, confident, amazing mom/woman & then there’s Robyn….. she says “like we should have all been together from the start” Well doll, you’re the only one who thinks so, they all hate you! Meri tolerates you that’s it.

  • Cheryl Peters Young

    Again it has to be the religious belief ,, I can’t imagine how anyone can even begin to think of living this way all the tears and jealousy why bother ,, why can’t they see this isn’t a positive relationship ,, they are all messed up and for a good reason ,,, kody should stay with what ever wife he is truely in love with and the other 3 should find there own man or strick out as single women and find a new path in life one that will find them true happiness ,, they will never find that living like this ,,, I feel so sorry for all of them and their kids. . . they are all single mothers that have date night with no hope of ever finding that connection that being in love with a man that wants to be in a one to one relationship ,, again very sad ,,

  • broketaxpayer

    Share a husband? No way.

  • Carol

    Janelle is a beautiful person. I love the way she talks about Logan being an adult and trusting him to be morally centered. I could see being in a plural marriage with someone like her. Today she seemed stressed and over-worked. I wonder if she made the right decision contributing to “the closet” which after all is only Robyn’s dream I do feel that Christine and Janelle were guilt-tripped into helping with Robyn’s dream. I trust, Janelle and Christine will sometimes act selfishly when it comes to jobs. The marriage does not in Claude what each chooses to pursue in life. I have been to the website and see nothingI would like to buy.

    Janelle – you are looking as nice on the outside as you are on the inside. Congrats on loosings so much weight and developing muscles. You are my inspiration and i am rooting for you.

  • keely1

    Janelle seems to be emotionally removed from the family. Meri seems to be on the verge of an emotional breakdown every second of every day. I think she quit growing emotionally when she was about 14. You can tell that Christine and Janelle just tolerate her. Wanting that 5 bedroom house, with a wet bar, was just over the top selfish. How was that good for the family? Kody is an egomaniac. I have a feeling he is always only in love with the newest edition. He truly thinks this show will change people’s minds about polygamy. Actually, it has made me think it is crazier than I originally thought!

    • Kara

      I AGREE. i also feel Janelle and Christine should both dump the rest of them. I often wonder why Meri doesn’t get the counseling she so desperately needs.

    • Chance

      Meri manipulates and pouts like a child. It sickens me to see a grown woman act this way and the really sick thing is it works! None of them stand up to her and tell her no. They let themselves get walked on so that they aren’t going bad guy. They Need to tell her to grow the hell up and stop whining!

  • keely1

    How many of their children will want to live like this? Few, if any.