How Meri broke out of the Sister Wives world

TLC's popular show Sister Wives follows the lives of the polygamist Brown family. Kody Brown is "married" to four women, Robyn, Christine, Janelle and Meri, but it's Meri Brown who is the most interesting member of the household — she's different from the other women.

Meri has been faced with heartache and has been involved in online affair, but she has also struggled with her own unique set of problems, ranging from jealousy to loneliness (she claimed on an episode that she felt she was doing her life by herself). However, these issues have helped shape who she is today. Here are some reasons why Meri Brown is not your typical sister wife, and how she has ultimately broken away from the Sister Wives world to find herself, and focus on the things that she loves. 

She legally divorced Kody

Meri was Kody's first wife, but she legally divorced him so that he could marry his fourth wife, Robyn. People reported that this was the only way for Kody to adopt Robyn's three children from another marriage, which Meri hinted at during an episode of Sister Wives. She said, "If ever I'm having an emotional moment about what I've lost, I just think, it's not about me, it's about the kids." 

However, the official statement the Browns gave Entertainment Tonight made no mention of the kids. Instead they said, "We have chosen to legally restructure our family. We made this decision together as a family. We are grateful to our family, friends and fans for all their love and support."

This decision was one that understandably hurt Meri. During a TLC special (via Daily Mail) she spoke about her divorce from Kody, saying, "It's the end of something that we had had, in a way, for 24 and a half years. But at the same time, I know I have eternity with the family. I know it's not the end."

She looked for love online

In 2015, it was revealed that Meri had been involved in a catfishing scandal. According to People magazine, Meri thought she had been speaking with a man named Sam, however, it later became clear to her that she had been duped, and the person she was really speaking to was a woman. In a separate interview with People, she commented on the trickery: "I didn't know how to get out of the situation without putting myself, family, and friends at greater risk. It was a very difficult time. I had a lot of anxiety."

But before she realized her online lover wasn't who she thought he was, she seemed happy and even admitted that she was flirting with "him." During a one-hour special of Catching the Catfisher (via People), Meri spoke about this, saying, "It sounded like a guy with a southern accent. We laughed a lot. It was easy to connect with him, just because there was so much in common…. He was very, very flirty with me. And … I am a little bit flirty too." 

She's not immune to jealousy

One of the most surprising things about the Brown family when Sister Wives first aired was that the women didn't seem to get jealous of each other, despite all "sharing" a husband. At least that's what fans had always thought, until Meri and Christine decided to open up about the taboo J-word and what life's really like when the cameras aren't rolling. That's reality TV for you right there — after cuts, edits, and self-censoring on-camera, viewers don't always get to see the full picture. You're shocked, we know.

Speaking of how they have all felt jealous, Meri said, "We all just have different levels of jealousy moments, at different times, depending on where we were within ourselves." Christine also chimed in, revealing "what I get jealous about most is time, and where he spends his time. I think about time a lot."

So it turns out that life as a sister wife isn't always a walk in the park.

She's learning to accept her daughter

In 2017, Meri and Kody's only daughter, Mariah, bravely revealed to her whole family that she identifies as a lesbian. During an interview with People, Mariah opened up about how her sexuality conflicts with her family's strict fundamental beliefs. She said, "I remember being in church and they talked about how being gay was bad, but none of that came from my parents. It was from the church and the people I was around." 

Meri revealed during an episode of the show that when it comes to romantic relationships, she had a very different vision for her daughter. She said, "I just always expected that she would grow up, meet a guy, get married, have kids." She then went on to acknowledge disappointment that she would not have a relationship with a son-in-law like her sister wives, Janelle and Christine, do. 

That said, Meri has made an effort to accept her daughter. During an interview with People, she said, "I'm so proud of [Mariah] for having the strength." Meri clearly continues to try to be more openminded and set aside any of her personal discomfort, as evidenced by her loving tweets and Instagram posts about both Mariah and her girlfriend Audrey.

Janelle and Meri are "terrified" of being alone together

Even though the wives in many ways share a life, they aren't always together and sometimes that's because they really don't want to be. It was revealed on the show that Meri and Janelle have not always had the best relationship, and they needed to speak to therapist Nancy Hunterton about their issues. While in a therapy session Janelle admitted to Meri that "the thought of going somewhere with you for a couple of days terrifies me." 

She then went on to admit that it wasn't because Meri is a scary person, but is because being together is emotionally terrifying and that the two women are seldom alone together — not even for a car ride to the therapist's session. Meri later reflected on what Hunterton had told them to do, and she wasn't thrilled by thought of being alone with Janelle, either. She said, "Being in a car together and listening to an audiobook about vulnerability with Janelle, that's like a lot."

"She hasn't seemed like herself for a long time"

After the news of Meri's online affair was revealed, it also emerged that her sister wives and husband had noticed something wasn't quite right, despite not knowing why. During an interview on TLC in the clip titled "What She Is Going Through," fellow wife Robyn revealed that "Meri hasn't been herself for a long time." Janelle also admitted that Meri was "a little more distant from the family," adding, "We are anxious to help her in any way we can."

Husband Kody can be seen shaking his head in the video, clearly at a loss. He said, "I didn't know what to think. I'm waiting for her to express something to me… I don't know." He continued to reiterate his other wives' observations, saying, "She hasn't felt well for a long time. She hasn't seemed like herself for a long time."

She pushed Kody away

During one specific episode of Sister Wives, viewers learned a lot about the dynamics between Meri and her spiritual husband Kody, including the fact that there was a lot of tension in their relationship. Meri also admitted that her catfish experience with online dating influenced the way she felt about her family. 

She said that the man catfishing her "was planting things in my head and just telling me how horrible my family was. And specifically how horrible Kody was." These comments affected Meri, and she started to push her husband away. 

In the same episode, Kody reminded Meri on camera that she said she wanted him to leave her alone. He said, "You asked me to not be around you. You invited me away. You told me to go away." So while the relationship was strained on a lot of levels, it was Meri who apparently ultimately pushed Kody away.

She felt like she was married to a stranger

While she's been through a lot, one of the most hurtful things that Meri had to go through as part of this complicated family was divorcing Kody so that he could legally marry Robyn. The entire experience caused a whole lot of problems between Meri and Kody, straining their relationship. 

The couple tried to save their marriage, but during an episode of Sister Wives, Meri admitted that she didn't even know who she was married to anymore. She said, "Kody, I just feel like I've spent a lot of years not knowing where we were. You know both of us have been avoiding any sort of anything with our relationship." 

She later added how the experience has led to feelings of loneliness and isolation. She said, "I feel like I'm just doing my life by myself. That's not what I signed up for." She also admitted during an episode of the show that she felt alone. She confessed that her home is so quiet that she puts music on every morning just to drown out the silence. She said, "I just feel lonely. I'm just alone, so much at the time." 

She's become an entrepreneur

In 2016, Meri got a new job — her Instagram bio enthusiastically indicates "Lovin' me some LuLa!!" and links to her Facebook group dedicated to selling LuLaRoe products. It's a job that she is clearly passionate about — so much so that she's even changed her username to lularoemeribrown.  

She is doing this job for herself, and she appears to be loving every minute. She thanked the company for the opportunity in an Instagram post, writing: "Training is fabulous. I am blessed and so happy to be on this #LuLaRoe journey with @lularoemaile and so many other fabulous women who only want to bless and build others up."

But that's not all she's taking on. In December 2017, Meri announced the grand opening of Lizzie's Heritage Inn — a Utah-based bed and breakfast that is so much more to Meri than just a business. She revealed that the house was "built by my great-great-grandparents in 1870 and occupied by 4 generations until it sold out of the family in the 1980's." She made it her mission to get that home "back in my family, where it belongs!"