This fifteenth season of Sister Wives has been a candid portrayal of the ever-widening gap between all the members of the plural marriage. While all the wives have their independent issues, they all seem to want to work together towards some sort of resolution while Kody is expressing the most burnout and exasperation. “I just know that families go as leadership does and I just frankly don’t give a sh!t anymore,” he said in a recent episode. Then, the pandemic hit and there was suddenly another reason for the family to stop seeing each other in person, and for the wives to issue their control over how Kody spends his time.
Over the past decade, the Browns went from living in one big house together in Lehi, Utah, to inviting Robyn into the family and fleeing to separate homes in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they had less of a chance of being imprisoned for their way of life. Robyn has never lived with the rest of the family in a single unit, which alienates her from what that experience is like. Still, she’s felt more disconnected than ever before since the family relocated to Flagstaff, Arizona.
Meri is definitely the most disconnected wife ever since her experience with a catfish over six years ago. The catfish exposed Meri for seeking a relationship outside of her marriage with Kody Brown, and while she is still considered part of the family and part of the “celestial marriage” with Kody Brown, she is all but estranged from everyone. Meri and Kody tried to work on their relationship after the initial shock wore off, but in tonight’s episode, Kody revealed that he’s not dating Meri, who is his first wife, anymore because he simply lost interest and stopped calling for dates.
Meri sees the family for special events, and sometimes for filming, but otherwise she does not interact with the family at all. Because of the pandemic her adult daughter Mariah and her fiancée Audrey quarantined with Meri. When everyone feels safe, he may come by to see them, but has no interest in ever going out of his way to see Meri
“My relationship with Meri is at best distant and amicable,” Kody revealed during Episode 3 of the current season. “For all my marriage with Meri I feel like she unloads her emotions into a burden that I have to carry. I’m not carrying this burden because there’s no reason I should. I have not put relationship effort into that relationship specifically because I have three other relationships that are rewarding and wholesome and with children that need me, need to see me.”
For all intents and purposes, Meri and Kody behave as if they are the divorced parents of an adult daughter. The coldness in their relationship makes Robyn sad. Ever since she joined the family Robyn has wanted a close relationship with Meri and even now she makes effort to reconnect Meri and Kody.
The entire family bought a plot of land in Flagstaff to hopefully build a more stable home base, but Kody has lost faith in the plan entirely. This season he is seen avoiding making decisions about what to do with the land, and even reveals in interview that he is over it and simply wants to sell the land.
Currently, all four of Kody’s wives are living scattered miles away from each other in Flagstaff. Unlike when their family was more stable, the wives are unaware of any schedule and never know when Kody will show up to see his kids.
Although he is most distanced from Meri, who he never includes in his rotation, he seems exasperated with all of his wives and admits to escaping into his phone to avoid interaction with them. In the very first episode, this season Kody revealed to all the wives that he questioned whether he should have entered in plural marriage at all.
At this point, the future of not only Kody and Meri’s relationship but his relationship with all of his wives remains unclear. What Kody is devoted to is maintaining relationships with his children, and he has even stated that he wants to have more children because having children is all he has thought of for the past 45 years of his life.
This month Meri spoke with Us Weekly to make clear that she’s not giving up on the relationship. She told the site: “The way I look at it is it’s a matter of, like, am I going to stick through it with him when he’s having a dark time? And is he going to stick through it with me when I’m having a dark time? Are we going to figure it out because we made this commitment and, like, how do we move forward with where we’re at?”
Kody originally married Meri on April 21, 1990, but legally divorced her in early 2015 (before the Catfish scandal) to legally marry his fourth wife Robyn so Kody could legally adopt her children from another marriage. Kody has never been legally married to his middle two wives Janelle and Christine.