A Look At Kody Brown's Financial Struggles Over The Years

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The patriarch of TLC's "Sister Wives," Kody Brown, has had a decent amount of financial struggles over the years. During the series' 17 seasons, we have seen Kody deal with different situations around money. Despite Kody making five figures per episode of "Sister Wives," the controversial reality star has faced allegations that he's bad at managing funds, and his recurring financial troubles are backing those claims.

Kody previously had four sister wives, whose families the series focused on. However, after Meri, Janelle, and Christine Brown decided it was time to go their own ways, the polygamist is down to only one wife, Robyn Brown. Going from five to only two incomes to support his huge family — including 18 kids — has to be a blow to his wallet. But he's no stranger to a lack of money. Despite Kody's lengthy job history, he has already filed for bankruptcy once before and has since made his money-related fears clear and public, and not always in the most respectable way.

The patriarch's bankruptcy

Kody Brown has had his fair share of financial woes over the years, filing for his first bankruptcy in 2005 alongside one of his ex-wives, Meri Brown. The couple jointly initiated the legal proceedings to avoid paying their debts, which weren't all that small.

In 2005, the Brown family patriarch was legally married to Meri and in a spiritual union with Janelle and Christine Brown. Kody and his three wives shared 12 children at that point and struggled to finance their lifestyle with so many people in the family. As Meri was Kody's only legal wife, it made sense for the two of them to file for bankruptcy as spouses. According to legal documents obtained by RadarOnline, the Browns had $5 in all of their joint bank accounts and just $10 in hard cash.

The documents state that Kody had a monthly income of $4,000 working as a salesman, and Meri was pulling in $625 per month as an engraver. Their salaries were far below what was needed to pay off their staggering debt of close to $230,000, which had racked up thanks to mortgages, cars, and credit card debt. Two years later, the case was closed, and the Brown spouses were ordered to pay close to $188,000, about 20% less than the original debt amount.

Kody felt uneasy about money amid Christine's departure

Christine Brown, Kody Brown's third wife, decided to end their spiritual union in 2021 due to being neglected in comparison to the other sister wives, stating that she felt like a "basement wife." As the pair were never legally married, the question of splitting their finances came up after their breakup, and Kody was visibly fretting. In the "Sister Wives" premiere episode for season 17, Christine and Kody openly discussed her departure from their plural family, and she said she wanted to move to Utah, where most of her kids live.

"You don't break up the family with what you're trying to do," Kody slammed her but continued on to show his true worry, which was a hypothetical man in Christine's life who was going to want Kody's money. He also expressed anxiety over losing access to the youngest child he shares with his ex-partner, Truely, but when Christine asked him what his biggest fear really was, the patriarch said, "Utah. A greedy boyfriend. A user. A greedy new husband."

At no point did Kody express remorse for how he's treated Christine throughout the years, but he has been very open about wanting his money close by, where no potential future partner can get a hold of it. Christine eventually moved to Utah and found her next husband after divorcing Kody. According to The U.S. Sun, Kody believes her engagement is a PR stunt and his ex's way of mocking him.

He pressured Janelle to buy a house he couldn't afford

Kody Brown is no stranger to projecting his money-related anxieties onto his ex-partners. Janelle Brown, his second wife, with whom he was spiritually married from 1993 to 2022, has gotten a public taste of it in one of the show's episodes. After Christine Brown decided to leave Kody, the patriarch didn't want to let go of her old house and had been pressuring Janelle into purchasing it for quite some time as he couldn't afford it himself.

"All Kody talked about was how much he was sad that he was losing this house that Christine had," said Janelle, adding that she feels like he was using her and her money to keep the house in the family, despite knowing that's not what she wants to do. "It's almost like he feels like if he keeps telling me, he's going to steamroll me, and I'll lay down and be like, 'OK, we'll do it,'" the second sister wife stated in her episode confessional.

Kody had previously purchased a property on Coyote Pass land in Flagstaff, Arizona, and had promised his four sister wives their own houses. However, the building stalled, and Janelle felt it would never happen if she bought Christine's old house. Kody was unhappy with her decision and dismissively stated that Janelle doesn't respect him, so he won't be breaking his back to finish the Coyote Pass project to fulfill her wishes.

The family struggled to pay off Coyote Pass land for years

Kody Brown's property-related money troubles didn't end with the house he shares with his remaining wife, Robyn Brown. Before Christine, Janelle, and Meri Brown decided to break free, the Brown family purchased four parcels of Coyote Pass land in Flagstaff, Arizona. This was in 2018, and the land set them back $820,000. The original plan was to build each sister wife their own house to live in, as well as a fifth house for Kody. However, that never happened, and the family struggled to pay the land off for years.

As the property was split into four different parcels, each of the sister wives was listed on separate parcels along with Kody. Christine and Meri managed to purchase their pieces of land, but Janelle and Robyn's parcels were unpaid initially. It took five years for Kody, Janelle, and Robyn to pay for their shares in full, but there is still nothing happening in terms of building. Considering Christine sold her parcel back to Kody after their split, and since Meri and Janelle are also no longer with Kody, it seems their Coyote Pass dream is dying out.

Kody and wife Robyn have house-related debts

With three out of the original four sister wives leaving him, Kody Brown is down to just two incomes to care for his large family. His only remaining wife, Robyn Brown, is reported to make money from "Sister Wives" content, including the show and the family's book, "Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage." With their plural family falling apart, it is up in the air what the "Sister Wives" series will look like in the future.

Kody and Robyn reside in a 4,400-square-foot woodland cabin in Flagstaff, Arizona, for which they've taken out two separate loans. The spouses obtained ownership of the property worth $890,000 in 2019 and initially contributed $225,000 of the full purchase price. It's been reported that the pair have submitted a $150,000 application for a home equity line of credit and have also asked for an additional $130,000 loan. At that time, they were reported to owe close to $550,000 for the Flagstaff property and had over $2,000 of tax debt on top of it, according to Arizona court documents.

Gwendlyn Brown, Christine Brown's daughter, revealed that her dad and Robyn are not so good with money and are spending beyond their means, which could be the reason for the accumulated house debt. "I think that my dad and Robyn have a terrible habit of spending very crazy," she shared in a YouTube video, adding that none of Kody's ex-wives are taking any money from him.