Signs Christine And Kody Brown's Marriage Was Never Going To Last

We can thank the TLC network for several programs opening our perspectives on various niche topics. Ever wonder what it must be like to date internationally and go through the lengthy K-1 visa process? Tuning into "90 Day Fiancé" is all the education you need (and the drama that ensues is icing on the cake). Curious about a fundamentalist Christian family dynamic and what goes on behind closed doors? The "19 Kids and Counting" show and spin-off "Counting On" fit the bill, providing an equally intriguing experience for viewers. Ever been interested in what a polygamist marriage is truly like and what complications its participants experience? TLC's "Sister Wives" is the show to set on your DVR, having documented Kody Brown and his four wives since 2010.

When we first met Kody, the devout Mormon polygamist had three wives — Meri Brown, Janelle Brown, and Christine Brown. Legally married to Meri only but "spiritually" married to Janelle and Christine, the polygamist family navigated life in Utah, occupying the spotlight and facing some legal proceedings. When fourth wife, Robyn Brown, was brought onto the scene, cracks began to surface, and Christine found herself conflicted. Years of taking a back seat took a toll, and Christine ultimately decided to leave Kody and the polygamist life behind — but was her decision predictable? Over the seasons of "Sister Wives" and the media shared by Christine herself, it became inevitable to fans that she would be flying solo sooner rather than later.

Christine referred to herself as the 'basement wife' early on

When we met the Brown family, the polygamists lived under one roof in Utah. In the first episode of Season 1, a diagram of the home was presented on-screen, showing viewers how the house was separated into three distinct sections, one for each wife. It didn't go unnoticed that Christine Brown's area of the home was in the basement, and it's a sentiment that Kody Brown's spiritual wife spoke about throughout the show, clearly displaying to viewers that she felt a certain level of insecurity as it related to her status in the family.

During a special episode of "Sister Wives," Christine even referred to herself as the "basement wife," telling the camera that she didn't feel like a "head wife" amid the polygamist marriage. You may ask yourself what a basement wife is and if it's a commonly used term in polygamist marriages. As Distractify pointed out, a "basement wife" essentially refers to the marriage that is of the least importance amid a polygamist dynamic, and Christine made it abundantly clear that she felt a certain level of self-doubt.

"In the plural community, there's certainly a 'basement-wife' mentality. If you have a situation where there's a wife that's the queen bee, well, the other wife goes in the basement, and she doesn't matter as much. And I've seen it enough. I've seen it a lot," she said. "I chose to be weaker. I just did."

Welcoming fourth wife Robyn into the marriage came at an awkward time for Christine

Christine Brown made it clear that she felt a certain level of inferiority compared to her other sister wives. Still, that self-doubt became even more severe when Kody Brown took on a fourth wife. In the first season of "Sister Wives," Kody starts to pursue Robyn Brown and eventually brings her into the fold as his fourth wife — he even legally divorced Meri Brown to marry Robyn, indicating that a power dynamic might be at play. And, as noted by TV Showcase, the timing of Robyn's arrival came at an incredibly vulnerable time for Christine. Pregnant with her and Kody's sixth child at the time, Christine was in labor when Kody and Robyn kissed for the first time — a controversial thing, given that they weren't married at the time.

Things got even more tense between the four sister wives when they went wedding dress shopping together as Robyn was preparing for the special day with Kody. As Meri, Janelle Brown, and Christine later found out, Kody was the one who chose Robyn's wedding dress. While this may not sound like a huge issue, Christine and Janelle were devastated by the admission, as Kody "did not care" what they chose to wear on their wedding days. It was clear that the cracks were starting to emerge in Christine's dynamic with Kody and the other sister wives.

Kody and Christine's anniversary celebrations raised questions about their marriage

Throughout the seasons of "Sister Wives," viewers saw the Browns move from Utah to Arizona, raise their children, and navigate the celebrations and difficulties that everyday life has to offer. However, it became apparent with time that Kody and Christine Brown were not prioritizing their relationship as a dedicated married couple would, and nothing brought this to the surface than their wedding anniversary celebration in 2020.

As many of us know, making time for your spouse is essential. You should never stop "dating" one another; you should try as much as possible to set aside time for dinners just the two of you, and focusing on your relationship outside your roles as mom and dad can save a marriage from going under. But when it was time to celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary, Kody and Christine made a quick trip to the hardware store and then had dinner with their kids.

"We actually had this great plan to put a door in our house because our whole upstairs is a loft, and we haven't had a door to our bedroom," Christine told Us Weekly of their anniversary plans. "So we had a Home Depot date. Then we made one of our favorite dinners and ate with the girls and played games." We love turning a trip to the Home Depot or Costco into a date, but maybe that should be saved for a weeknight, not an anniversary.

Robyn and Christine butted heads once again about who was the 'queen wife'

As Season 15 of "Sister Wives" rolled around, it became abundantly clear that the feelings of insecurity and inadequacy that Christine Brown had felt earlier on in the show — and in her marriage to Kody Brown — had not gone away. In Season 15 Episode 4, aptly titled "The Basement Wife," Christine spoke candidly about the feelings she was experiencing, and while out to lunch with Kody and her sister wives, she finally confessed what she was going through.

"I'm sure everybody hates me all the time," Christine told her husband, Meri, Janelle, and Robyn Brown, before revealing how she felt about accepting invitations from her sister wives to go over to their houses to spend time with them. "When we get together for family gatherings, I'm like, 'Why would I want to go? Because it's just going to be a hostile environment, and no one there even likes me,'" she said.

Robyn balked, telling Christine that they are "sharing the role of mother constantly," making it difficult to navigate social and familial situations. After the episode, Robyn took to social media to share that she appreciated Christine expressing how she felt amid rising tension. "I was glad Christine was willing to speak with me," Robyn wrote on Twitter. "I know it is hard to talk about vulnerable things, but it is important to do if you want to have a stronger relationship."

Christine admitted that she wanted to move back to Utah, even though she was still married

When Kody Brown and his wives picked up their home and moved from Utah to Arizona, they did so partly because they avoided legal prosecution. In Brown v. Buhman, the polygamist family was investigated by the Lehi, Utah, police department for violating the bigamy statute in Utah. Leaving their home state behind, the Browns hit the road and the screen in an even bigger capacity. But as time went on and Christine Brown felt the pressures of polygamist life and the dissolving of her marriage, she finally admitted to her sister wives that she was ready to head back to the Beehive State.

In the Season 15 finale entitled "Everything's Upside Down," Christine and her sister wives — Janelle, Meri, and Robyn Brown — chatted about their lives in Utah after a then-recent visit and reminisced about the good times they had in the state, clearly impacting Christine more than she had bargained for.

"When we were there, you guys all talked about Utah was home, and the mountains were home, and family was there," Christine said while crying. "So I thought that you felt the same." of the responses to Christine's admission that she wanted to go "home," Janelle was impacted, telling her sister wife, "I'm sorry, I just don't even know how to make this okay for you."

Christine made a decision that left Kody 'dumbfounded'

Amid Season 16 of "Sister Wives," it became clear that Christine and Kody Brown were on different pages and had different priorities. Season 16 Episode 5, for example, showed Ysabel Brown — one of Christine and Kody's children — undergoing a rather complex spinal surgery. She had to travel to New Jersey for the procedure amid the COVID-19 pandemic when the health crisis was at an all-time high. Christine made it abundantly clear how disappointed she was that Kody was absent for the procedure. By the time the Season 16 finale rolled around, Christine was about done with her husband, asserting herself in a way that left Kody "dumbfounded."

Kody told the camera that Christine didn't mince her words about her space and their shared bedroom, an admission that left him bereft.

"She's like, 'My room is a special place for me, and nothing special happens there for us," Kody confessed, further revealing that Christine rejected the idea of having a "romance-free" marriage. Kody wanted to engage in a relationship free from intimacy because Christine had "murdered" that element of their marriage by telling the other sister wives that she wanted to leave. But in response, Christine shared on-camera that she wasn't interested in having a shattered dynamic with Kody for the rest of her life. "My heart's shattered, to be honest with you [but I'm] not interested in a half marriage or a partial marriage or whatever we have."

Christine's admission about Kody's role in her life was concerning

As it became clear with time that Christine and Kody Brown weren't taking time to prioritize their relationship, Christine's admissions about her husband on-screen brought the true reality of their marriage into focus. Amid Season 16 Episode 7 entitled "Choosing Kids Over Kody" — a very apt title given the information we're about to share — Christine admitted on-camera that she and her six children had more fun together when the polygamist patriarch was not around. If that doesn't indicate cracks in the foundation of their marriage, we don't know what does.

"I do like my independence. I really do," Christine admitted. "When Kody's around, it's fine. We do have a tendency to have more fun when he's not there though." Can someone say yikes? Amid the episode's air date, January 2, 2022, an inside source told Us Weekly that the COVID-19 pandemic had become yet another wedge in Christine and Kody's relationship, claiming that Kody used the health crisis as reasoning to keep his distance.

"Kody has not been around at all. He used COVID-19 as a big excuse to not be around family. It's been his ticket to freedom essentially," the insider shared at the time. "This destroyed Christine because she really tried to give her all to the marriage."

In August 2021, Christine made waves when she put her house on the market

One of the most impactful aspects of a marriage comes with combining assets. Whether that comes as monetary interests, retirement plans, or — most notably at times — homes, married couples tend to share these aspects in equal parts. But when Christine Brown (who was still married to Kody Brown at the time) put her Arizona home on the market, beady-eyed watchers took it as a sign that things were finally falling apart for the couple. As noted by The Sun, Christine's home in Flagstaff, Arizona, was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom property that sat on about two acres. The kitchen had been customized and had beautiful stainless steel appliances, and of course, had that kitchen island that we would like to have in our homes one day to entertain. With upstairs features like a beautiful stone fireplace, a bar, and unbeatable mountain views, it seemed like Christine's home was a little oasis. even described it as "perfect for those Flagstaff nights" — where else in the country can you sit outside every evening and take in the view without the threat of wild weather?

Given Christine's seemingly perfect home, her decision to sell it certainly indicated that her marriage to Kody was essentially over. After listing the house in August, she sold the property for $700,000 in October. While she received about $25,000 less than she initially asked for, Christine successfully walked away from the property.

Kody and Christine finally announced their intentions to separate in November 2021

It was the news many loyal watchers of "Sister Wives" saw coming — in November 2021, Christine took to Instagram to share with fans and followers that she and Kody Brown were separating after more than two decades and six children together.

"After more than 25 years together, Kody and I have grown apart and I have made the difficult decision to leave," Christine wrote. "We will continue to be a strong presence in each other's lives as we parent our beautiful children and support our wonderful family. At this time, we ask for your grace and kindness as we navigate through this stage within our family. With Love, Christine Brown." The post received more than 125,000 likes and yet no comments, as Christine appeared to turn that feature off on the post.

For his part, Kody also took to Instagram to respond to Christine's news, writing in part, "Christine's decision comes with a great deal of sadness. We enjoyed many years together and I have a large amount of respect and admiration for her." Kody did admit that he and Christine were on "different paths," but that they'd remain civil toward each other for the sake of their children. As for her next move, Christine moved back to Utah and noted she was a "single woman" on the deed to her new rental property, InTouch Weekly pointed out at the time.

Only one of the sister wives was supportive of Christine's decision to leave

When Christine and Kody Brown announced that they were finally separating after years of marriage, tension, and not seeing eye-to-eye, Christine also had to navigate telling her sister wives she'd be leaving. A polygamist marriage is something that not many people engage with or understand, but we can imagine that the conversation was an incredibly emotional one. After breaking the news to Meri, Janelle, and Robyn Brown, Christine told People that the sister wives were upset.

"When I told Meri, Robyn, and Janelle, Janelle actually cried," Christine shared. "That was so hard. It was not only am I deciding to leave Kody, I was leaving them as well." But Christine's needs were not being met in her marriage, she shared with People, saying, "I needed more communication, more trust, and I realized we didn't really have a partnership." Her decision to leave wasn't without any support, however. Janelle stepped up in a meaningful way for Christine, with the former sister wife telling People that Janelle had "been supportive from the get-go."

"Janelle and I have stayed close through the whole thing," Christine further shared. "She's wonderful."

Christine's relationships with the other sister wives still appear to be strained

While Janelle Brown supported Christine Brown's decision to leave the polygamist marriage that wasn't fulfilling her life anymore, her relationship with her other sister wives was — and still appears to be — strained. Sharing with People that Kody Brown's two other wives have kept their distance, Christine explained, "I hadn't been that close to Robyn, I hadn't been that close to Meri, for years. I didn't even talk to Robyn or Meri after that. The next time I talked to them was Isabelle's graduation party and then when I told them I was moving, that's the only contact I've had with them."

Since then, fans have picked up on subtle clues that the relationships Christine has with Meri and Robyn are strained, if not entirely over. As noted by Newsweek, viewers speculate that Meri was shading Christine on social media when the divorcee launched her own cooking show on TLC. Meri had hosted her own cooking show online, and she posted "cryptic messages" on social media, pointing the copycat finger at Christine. As far as Robyn is concerned, the evident favorite wife said amid the "Sister Wives Tell All" that Christine "didn't even try" to amend tension with Kody. Clearly, there is no love lost between these two.