TLC’s Seeking Sister Wife returned for a second season on January 20, with all but one of the families returning from Season 1. The missing family was the Brineys, which included Drew Briney as well as his three wives April, Angela and Auralee, plus their combined 15 children. The Briney family has since revealed that they were filming right up until a little more than a month ago, so why are they not on Season 2?
“Originally we were going to be but TLC pulled us at the last minute – literally a month before the season premiere,” third wife Angela explained on the family’s blog. “We filmed the whole season, but no one could have guessed the traumatic experience our family would have and try to recover from while filming Season 2. So besides the network feeling bound by HIPAA Laws, our story was simply too heavy, with too much controversy and we don’t blame them.”
The traumatic experience that Angela mentioned happened on May 26, just after the family celebrated the birthdays of one-year-old Lenny and 11-year-old Laurelei. According to Angela, first wife April packed up her six children and told the rest of the family they were headed out for a hike near their Oregon home, but instead she took them all back to Utah. “She never came back,” Angela reveals. “Nor would she accept any communication for the first month or so.”
Our readers may recall that the Brineys left Utah and relocated to Oregon in December of 2017 to avoid potentially being arrested due to Utah’s strict co-habitation laws.
In Touch has since confirmed that Drew officially filed for divorce from April on June 1, which was less than one week after she left. The divorce was finalized on June 28. (Since April is Drew’s first wife, she is the only sister wife that he was legally married to.)
Angela says that the incident happened just after TLC had started production for the new season, and she says that it was “on film.”
April, who was married to Drew for 20 years, also shared her side of what happened in a lengthy Facebook post that reads like the first couple pages of a literary novel. (Included in its entirety below.)
“I never in a million ever years thought I would divorce,” April reflects. “I never would do that to my children I had said. I never would forsake my promises to God I had said. I would stand by my husbands side eternally through thick or thin I had thought.” She recalls the twenty years she has spent with Drew, including a lot of difficult times. She also mentions that when Drew embraced Mormon Fundamentalism, she left “behind my childhood faith and family to embrace not only a new religion, but an unfamiliar lifestyle and peculiar culture.”
Her recollection leads right up until the family’s appearance on Seeking Sister Wife, which April believes was the catalyst for their eventual split. “I had followed him onto the set of a television show that was the beginning of the outward unraveling of our family… But inwardly it had been unraveling for years, I had just been too hopeful, too naive to see.”
As far as the events on May 26, April says that all she brought with her from her former life was “a single random bag stuffed with odds and ends and the clothes on my back.”
April and her children’s departure was apparently not a “clean getaway” because she mentions a “sheriff following us with the report of a possibly drunk, on drugs, suicidal, mentally crazed mother who had ‘kidnapped’ her children against their will” as well as Drew “chasing fiercely behind us.”
Here is April’s full post:
Say goodbye to Oregon I told the children. Stopping the car at the crest of a hill we overlooked the beautiful green…
Getting back to third wife Angela’s explanation on the family’s blog, she says that after April left it “would be many months before we could even have open communication with any of the children and seven months before we would even get to see them.”
More from Angela on the difficult time, as well as TLC’s decision to not include the Briney’s story on the second season of Seeking Sister Wife:
Heavy stuff, right? So we were dealing with our outrage and grief during the whole season of filming. We were left in the dark as to what her plans were and had many questions in our minds. To be filmed during this time was very hard on the one hand and very therapeutic on the other.
The network had a very unique opportunity to tell a story that’s never been told before – that of the family left behind when a plural wife leaves. But again, we agree that this heavy of a story was not a good fit for this platform. The story of those who leave has been told many times, but we often don’t consider how the remaining family deals with that grief and how they try to move on in life.
In any case, at the end of the day our story was a far cry from the intention of the show (although we did meet and date a beautiful lady during that time that we adore who was like a breath of fresh air in the midst of our crisis).
I agree with Angela in that April leaving was heavy and dark, but it does seem like a great opportunity for TLC to “tell a story that’s never been told before.” And to be honest, it’s not like TLC has ever shied away from featuring a family falling apart on their reality shows. I am wondering if there’s not something more going on here — which might explain this paragraph from Angela:
We have heard through mutual friends and acquaintances some of the accusations that April is making, which are not only false, but sad to hear.The lifestyle and family she defended so fervently in the past of her own free will and choice, she now claims victim of. We’ll leave it at that.
She later states that the remaining Briney family wishes April the best, but the concern seems to be backhanded as she adds: “We know that the mentally stable April would not have done the things that she’s done.”
The post-breakup posts have not all been well-written lengthy prose, however. On Facebook, April shared this next photo posted by Drew and featuring her former sister wives and two of their children frolicking in a pile of leaves:
Auralee’s shirt: $18,
Angela’s dress: $24,
both my sister wives helping themselves to my clothes:
Second wife Auralee came to her own defense in the comments:
April gave the blue dress to me a few years back because it didn’t fit her right. About a year ago I gave the blue dress to Angela. The white shirt was among things that she said we could drop off at Goodwill. JS.
I’m still curious to know why TLC decided to not include the Briney’s story this season — especially if they were still filming right up through December! Plus, it really sounds as though the Briney family still wanted to be on despite the “tragic event.” I suppose it is possible that April had a change of heart, and perhaps they couldn’t really edit together a solid narrative without her participation? We may never know.
Regardless, it does seem as though the split is going relatively well, and both sides moving forward — so that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, you can continue to keep up with the Alldredges family and the Snowden family from Season 1, as well as new additions the Winders and the McGees, with new episodes of Seeking Sister Wife airing Sunday nights at 10/9c.