TLC’s Sister Wives to follow polygamist family from Lehi, Utah

TLC has announced the upcoming premiere of a new polygamy themed reality show called Sister Wives that will follow the Brown family of Lehi, Utah. (UPDATE: The Browns have since all moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.) Kody Brown is legally married to his first wife Meri and is also in a committed relationship with additional sister wives Janelle and Christine.  Kody hasn’t stopped there as he is looking to bring a fourth sister wife into the family, Robyn.

For fans of the mega-hit HBO drama Big Love some of this may seem familiar but this show will in fact be the real-deal daily life of a polygamist family struggling to cope with their lifestyle choice and the cultural bias of those in their community.  In researching the Brown’s I was able to find out some interesting information on a family that will certainly make headlines when the show debuts on September 26th.

First off lets try to get the family unit straight.  Here is a breakdown of each wife and their children.  They are listed as they appear in the above promotional photo from L to R:

Meri is Kody’s first wife and is 39-years-old.  She has one 14-year-old-daughter.

Christine is Kody’s 3rd wife and is 37-years-old.  She has five children ages 6-14 years-old.

Janelle is Kody’s 2nd wife and is 40-years-old.  She has six children that range in age from 5-15 years-old.

Robyn’s age hasn’t been disclosed, Kody is looking to make her his 4th sister wife.  She has three children from a previous marriage that range in age from 5-10 years-old.

When you add all that up Mr. Kody Brown has three sister wives, 13 children, one possible future 4th sister wife and 3 additional children.  If Robyn and her kids become an official addition that would make this a family of 21!

The Brown’s live in the town of Lehi, Utah.  Through a public records search I was able to locate the following photo of the Brown’s house via the Utah County Assessor’s Office:

Unlike the fictitious Hendrickson family from Big Love the Brown’s haven’t been as desperate in keeping their polygamist lifestyle a secret.  This doesn’t mean they’re not cautious about who they share their information with.  In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune Kody Brown stated:

“In the past, polygamists have had to be secret due to the threat of indictment or expulsion from work. Our civil rights got thrown out a long time ago.  Even though society has evolved to the point of not knocking on my door with pitch forks and a lynch mob, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t get away with it.”

When asked about the fact that a polygamist family from his county will be on the airwaves Utah County prosecutor Craig Johnson said, “the Utah County Attorney’s Office does not have a comment on the show.”  While many certainly do not approve of their choice, Brown has done his best to keep things within the law having only legally married Meri.

I was also able to dig up additional info on The Brown’s from a video BBC news report filed in March of 2009.  In the video you see a well adjusted and happy if not somewhat chaotic family.  During the piece Kody has all the children identify themselves by which sister wife is their mother.  Later, his two oldest daughters are asked if they are considering following in their parent’s polygamist footsteps.  One unequivocally says no while the other indicates that the decision is still up in the air.

Sister Wives should be a fascinating and highly controversial show.  What do you think about the Brown’s and TLC’s decision to run with this concept?  I know I’ll be tuned in!