Breaking Down All Of Kody Brown's Breakups

No other show has managed to capture the public's attention with a polygamous lifestyle as well as TLC's "Sister Wives." Kody Brown, the family patriarch, his four sister wives — three of whom are now exes — and their 18 children have been entertaining us for 17 seasons.

The plural family has, however, faced a series of breakups that have shaken their ground. Meri, Janelle, and Christine Brown have all left their respective unions with Kody, and the polygamist is currently left with only one wife, Robyn Brown. Prompted by how badly Kody was treating her, Christine was the first to leave, and Janelle followed suit soon after. Kody's icy treatment of his and Janelle's sons pushed the second sister wife over the edge.

Meri was the last to leave her spiritual union, but not of her own accord. Kody was the one who no longer wanted to be married to her, and while it took a while for Meri to accept that, she ultimately did. As the reality series focused on their joint family dynamics, we're left to see how things will unfold with all of Kody's breakups.

Why Christine left Kody

Christine Brown was Kody Brown's third wife, whom he spiritually married in 1994, and is the first of the sister wives to officially leave the Brown plural family. In November 2021, the pair announced on social media that they were going their separate ways. In her post, Christine stated that she had decided to leave Kody after more than 25 years, and in a separate announcement, Kody shared that her decision saddened him.

In the "Sister Wives" finale episode for Season 16, it was revealed that Kody and Christine no longer have a romantic relationship, which didn't work for Christine, Today reported. "I'm not okay with staying in a marriage without intimacy. That's not a real marriage. I'm not interested in a half marriage, a partial marriage, or whatever we have," she said.

When the next season premiered, Kody publicly admitted that his marriage to Christine was based on ego and that he wasn't attracted to her at the time of their wedding, according to Us Weekly. Christine then called Kody out for having a favorite wife, referring to Robyn Brown, the fourth sister wife. "I've been a third wheel for years now. It's sad ... but my relationship with Kody isn't as important [as the one with Robyn]. No matter what he says, it isn't," Christine shared in the episode. Kody dismissed the accusations and stated that Robyn is the only wife to show him respect.

The aftermath of Christine and Kody's breakup

After leaving Kody Brown, Christine Brown wanted to move from Arizona, where the plural family lived, to Utah to be closer to the pair's five adult children. She also wanted to take their youngest child, teenage daughter Truely, along with her, which didn't sit right with Kody.

"You don't break up the family with what you're trying to do," the patriarch slammed Christine in the premiere episode of Season 17, referring to Truely being away from him, per Showbiz Cheat Sheet. However, later in the episode, Kody revealed that he was actually worried about Christine moving on with someone new who might want access to his money. When she asked him what his biggest fear was, Kody answered, "Utah. A greedy boyfriend. A user. A greedy new husband."

Christine relocated to the Beehive State regardless, where she has met a new man and gotten engaged. According to People, David Woolley proposed to the "Sister Wives" star four months after dating, and she couldn't be happier. The mom of six is sharing her love for Woolley on her Instagram profile, and considering she is completely over polygamy, it is safe to say she's keeping him to herself. Kody, on the other hand, isn't so thrilled about their relationship. A source close to Kody disclosed to The U.S. Sun that the polygamist feels like his ex-wife is mocking him with her engagement and that the entire thing is a publicity stunt.

Janelle hasn't been happy with Kody for quite a while

Kody Brown spiritually married Janelle Brown in 1993, making her the second sister-wife of the Brown family and the second one to leave the patriarch. The couple welcomed six children over the course of their 29-year union. In December 2022, the couple made their decision to split public in the one-on-one special for Season 17 of "Sister Wives."

It seems that Janelle's decision to leave had been brewing for quite a while. She had moved out of the Browns plural home back in the early 2000s, when there were only three sister wives in the family. Kody shared this during the exclusive sit-down, noting that Janelle didn't get along with Meri and Christine Brown at the time. While she did move back eventually, this time around is different. "Kody and I have separated, and I'm happy, really happy," she stated in her portion of the confessional.

In addition, when COVID-19 hit, the couple didn't see eye-to-eye on how to handle their living situation, and Janelle's children didn't want to follow their dad's rules amidst the pandemic. This caused a rift between Kody and two of the sons he shares with Janelle, Gabriel and Garrison Brown. During the season 17 sit-down, Kody revealed they don't have a good relationship and can barely hold a conversation, Insider reported. That's what ultimately made Janelle leave, according to Kody and Christine's daughter Gwendlyn Brown, who made the claim in a YouTube video.

Meri's catfishing scandal took a toll on her relationship with Kody

Meri Brown, Kody Brown's first wife, whom he legally married in 1990, was the last of his breakups. It was also the only one initiated by the patriarch, not a sister wife. Meri was raised in a polygamous family herself, so when Kody wanted to introduce new wives into their marriage, she obliged. The pair did, however, divorce for Kody to legally marry Robyn Brown, his fourth wife, in 2014.

While Meri and Kody remained in a spiritual union, his legally divorcing Meri to marry somebody else caused a strain on their relationship. Not long after, Meri turned to social media for some company. In Touch Weekly reported that she met someone named Sam on Twitter, whom she thought was a man interested in a romantic relationship. After about six months of correspondence, Meri found out she was being catfished, as Sam was actually a woman named Jackie Overton.

In one episode of "Sister Wives," Meri admitted that Overton took the situation as an opportunity to turn her against Kody and that she regrets pulling away from the polygamist. "This catfish was just planting things in my head and telling me how horrible my family was, and specifically how horrible Kody was," she stated. Meri and Kody managed to move on from the scandal, but their relationship ultimately crumbled.

Meri wanted to work things out

Kody Brown has publicly stated he doesn't want to be with Meri Brown on multiple occasions. In a "Sister Wives" episode from November 2022, the patriarch said, "If [Meri] wanted to move on and marry another, she wouldn't get an argument with me. I don't believe that we can ever be functional, and I don't believe that I will ever be emotionally safe with her," Entertainment Tonight reported.

Additionally, a month later, in the one-on-one special for the show's 17th season, Kody stated he doesn't consider himself married to Meri. She felt confused about how Kody could so easily dump her but was hurt when the other sister wives left him. She also noted that Kody never told her personally that he wanted to end things between them. When the confessional host, Sukanya Krishnan, asked her whether she would get back together with Kody, Meri said she definitely would if he wanted to, but that she could recognize that's not the case.

Despite trying to work things out, Kody and Meri have ultimately called it quits after spending more than 30 years together and sharing one child. In January 2023, the pair released a joint statement on Meri's Instagram account in which they admitted to trying to fix their problems for "more than a decade."