Although Janelle and Kody Brown of TLC’s Sister Wives have been through a long rough patch and are currently separated, it looks like Janelle may never actually “divorce” Kody.
During Part 3 of the the One-On-One special (airing Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023,) Janelle confirmed to Sukanya Krishnan that she was separated from Kody and that she’s been “really, really happy” with the separation.
After seeing Janelle and Kody butt heads for several seasons since the beginning of COVID, it’s welcome news to most viewers that Janelle is finding happiness in her time away from Kody.
Kody acknowledges that Janelle is enjoying her time away from him and seems to have more compassion for Janelle’s point of view than he does for Christine. He told One-On-One host Sukanya Krishnan that he loves Janelle and sees a way to fix their relationship. He also was adamant that he believes she has “suffered more” in polygamy than any of the others wives.
“I feel like Janelle came into the marriage idealistically and got shattered by the experience in plural marriage,” Kody told Sukanya with confidence.
However, this seems to be where Kody’s empathy for Janelle ends. He feels that she has shown him that she doesn’t respect him, and he values respect over love, which is definitely something Janelle doesn’t have for Kody anymore.
When Sukanya asks Janelle if it’s love, Janelle immediately answers, “At this point, no.” Instead, she says that “it,” as in her relationship with Kody, is “duty, commitment, it’s a faith that tells you work it out and stick it out.”
Even though Janelle now feels “indifferent” to Kody, she insists that she still has respect for him even though she’s angry about what’s happened with their children. Kody’s relationship with the two youngest boys he shares with Janelle disintegrated in the past few years.
The rift was seemingly over disagreements over COVID-19 protocols, but exposed deeper wounds in the family. The boys did not like what they saw as preferential treatment of Robyn over their mom and Kody saw them as disobedient and disloyal. Kody made a disrespectful remark about them implying that they would rather “get their pencils” wet than protect the health of Kody’s two youngest children with Robyn.
Janelle thinks that Kody really didn’t try to make things work for the rest of the family during COVID-19 because he wanted to stay near Robyn, who he saw as truly respecting and obeying him.
Does Kody want to get back together with Janelle?
Kody says that Janelle has made it clear to Kody that she hasn’t missed him very much. He says that he wants to work things out, but needs a new “negotiation” in order to do so.
One thing that’s keeping Kody from negotiating this marriage with Janelle is her friendship with Christine. He feels that it’s kind of a betrayal, and is bitter that they weren’t better friends for most of Christine’s marriage to Kody.
Is Janelle heartbroken over Kody?
Romance has never been huge fixture in Kody and Janelle’s marriage, but for a time during the show they were open about a blossoming romance between them. Now, the dream of any of that romance returning is completely dead and Janelle doesn’t expect it to ever return.
She says she has mourned that the part of their life was over. Janelle’s not heartbroken over that loss the way Christine was heartbroken, but she did grieve it.
She thinks there is still a chance for some sort of rekindling of a relationship with Kody, but doesn’t think either of them could put in the work that could make that happen.
Why does Janelle stay married to Kody?
From the way Janelle speaks about Kody, it sounds like she is emotionally done with him and has lost respect for his parenting. For so long, Janelle saw Kody as a great father, so losing that role in her eyes has done great damage to her ability to remain in any kind of relationship with him.
Still, she hasn’t divorced him the way Christine divorced him. Christine lost faith in their religion a long time ago, so she no longer had that to tether her to the plural marriage no matter what. Janelle, however, still has faith.
“I know I’m happy. I don’t want him to come back,” Janelle says. “But my faith requires that we are married eternally.”
“So the door is still open?” Sukyana asks.
“It has to be,” Janelle says with a sign. “But I’m not interested in having anyone walk through that door.”
One of the things that the Brown family believed about plural marriage is that it was necessary to get to a higher plane in the afterlife. Kody may actually need three spiritual wives to reach that higher plane, which means if Janelle or Meri leaves he would need to seek out a new wife.
Kody’s faith has been wavering for a while, and is still teetering towards the edge. “I’m right on the verge of not even being a polygamist,” Kody says.
Janelle may also be so entangled financially with the others in the relationship that she can’t make a clean break the way Christine made when she sold her house and walked away from Coyote Pass. Janelle doesn’t have a house to sell and most of her money has been wrapped up in Coyote Pass, Robyn’s house, and her RV. Maybe she’s waiting to fully leave until she has a better position to do so.