The truth about Robyn from Sister Wives

Sister Wives star Kody Brown and his wives Christine, Meri, Janelle, and Robyn often find themselves in the tabloids. After all, a man with four wives is bound to attract attention, especially when there's a TLC reality TV show about his unusual relationships. And, with all the stories out there, it can often be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Robyn, who joined the family in 2010, is the newest of Kody's four wives, but there's more to her than being a sister wife and a mom to the clan's many children.

Robyn has led an even more interesting life than even the most avid viewers of the show know about. There's a lot happening behind the scenes with Kody's fourth wife, and it all shows just how incredible and strong Robyn is. From her childhood and the difficulties she has overcome throughout her life to becoming a reality star and a member of one of the world's most famous families, here's the truth about Sister Wives' Robyn.

Kody isn't her first husband

Robyn was married before she met Kody. Her first marriage — to David Jessop — lasted from 1999 to 2007, and the couple had three children together. The marriage was a rocky one, although Robyn kept the details of their relationship under wraps for some time. In 2011, she revealed why she left her ex-husband. She claimed on Twitter (via E! News) that Jessop was abusive. "Just to clarify, I do not tolerate my kids getting bullied," she wrote in 2011. "I ended my first marriage because of abuse. My kids come first ALWAYS."

Radar Online revealed that Jessop's pattern of abuse continued long after the divorce. He was arrested in January 2018 for allegedly assaulting a family member and causing bodily injury. Jessop was held in custody for four days and pleaded not guilty. The charge was eventually changed to disorderly conduct, and Jessop was made to pay fines.

She's Kody's only legal spouse

As polygamy is illegal in the United States, Kody can only be legally married to one of his wives. While he views all of them as his spouses — Kody considers them all "spiritually married" — only Robyn is his legal wife. However, that wasn't always the case. Meri was actually Kody's first (and legal) wife, with Christine and Janelle being his "spiritual wives" and Robyn later joining the family as a "spiritual wife" in 2010.

A few years later, Kody divorced Meri so that he could become legally wed to Robyn. "We have chosen to legally restructure our family," the family said in a 2015 statement (via People). "We made this decision together as a family. We are grateful to our family, friends and fans for all their love and support."

Kody married Robyn not because he loved her more than Meri, but so that her three children from her previous marriage could get access to Kody's health insurance. The kids didn't often see their biological father, who didn't pay child support, and legally marrying Robyn allowed Kody to adopt her kids.

She's sometimes felt like a homewrecker

Introducing a new person into the family can be difficult, whether it's a member of the extended family, a baby, or a new wife. Robyn's introduction into the Brown household caused some tension and left Robyn feeling a little guilty. While Kody's other wives welcomed Robyn, they struggled with the new addition to their family. "I'm not going to lie — there are jealousy issues," Meri told Oprah shortly after Kody and Robyn's wedding. "Those are natural. Hopefully that's something that I can overcome." Even though the family was on board with Robyn marrying Kody, Robyn herself felt like she was throwing off the family dynamic by marrying Kody. "They had a really wonderful thing, and I've stirred it up," Robyn said. She added that she considered not joining the family and that she felt like an interloper.

"I'm so sorry," she said to her sister wives. "I know I'm making you struggle. I'm so sorry. I hate this."

Adjusting to having a fourth mom was tricky for the family's kids

Robyn joining the Brown family wasn't just a difficult transition for Kody's other wives. It was also tricky for the 13 kids who were part of the family before she came along. Today, Robyn is close to all of the Brown children and thinks of them as her own, but adding another mom to the Brown home took some getting used to. "It was a different thought because you grow up with four parents, or three moms, your whole life," Janelle's daughter Madison told Oprah. "Then Robyn comes in, and it messed up things a little bit."

Madison and the other kids grew to love their new parent, though. "I was really happy Robyn came in because Robyn and I get along really well," said Madison. Christine said that Robyn also bonded quickly with her teenage daughters. "My kids want to go over and hang out at her house all of the time," she said.

The family business, My Sisterwife's Closet, was her idea

While Kody and all of the sister wives are involved in My Sisterwife's Closet, an online jewelry and clothing boutique, it was Robyn who came up with the idea. "My Sisterwife's Closet was originally my dream, but Meri was supportive from the very beginning and she and I worked well together," she wrote on the website's blog. "She really liked my dream of making sure our pieces were made in America, were hand-crafted and high quality."

Robyn got the rest of the family involved, because she wanted to give the family something to work on together. "They had been together for a long time bonding before I married Kody and joined the family and I was craving something that would help bond the five of us," she wrote. "I also saw the potential of having each of our different styles of us four sisterwives going into products and pieces. I really thought it would make the brand richer. I loved the idea of reaching so many women with our different perspectives."

A huge part of being a sister wife is actually being a mom

The Brown family is huge, and we mean huge. Robyn has five biological children, but she also considers the 13 kids that were already part of the family before she married into it to be hers. "Being a Mom has been one of the most joyful experiences of my life," she wrote on the My Sisterwife's Closet blog. "I absolutely love it. I have never loved another person more than I love my children."

Of course, being a mom to 18 kids is a massive responsibility, even though she has her husband and her sister wives with whom to share the job. Robyn said that being a parent is "one of the hardest things" she does.

Fortunately, she had a great example in her own mom who gave her some great advice. "One of the things that my own Mother taught me is that you have to take care and love yourself," she wrote. "For me, other than the love that God gives me, I have to make sure I know how to fill up my own Love Tank (the little place inside myself that holds the reserve of love and energy I use to do all the amazing stuff I do)!"

One of her sons is autistic

Becoming a parent is a challenge for most people, but Robyn's transition into motherhood was trickier than it is for many parents. Her son Dayton is on the autism spectrum and wasn't diagnosed until he was in second grade. "When Dayton was little he struggled with balance, coordination and knowing how to use his body," she wrote on the My Sister Wife's Closet blog about her son's challenges. "When he was excited he would flap his arms and jump around the room."

The diagnosis helped Robyn learn how to help and nurture her son. "The more I learned and researched the more I started to understand what challenges were ahead for him and what I had to do as a mom to support him and advocate for him," she wrote. "It was my job as his mother to help the world open their eyes to the amazing person before them, help fight for him to get the support he needed and help eliminate stress for him as much as I could … It has been a long journey but I have been determined to make sure he has every opportunity to be successful and happy. "

Her parents were also in a plural marriage

Robyn grew up with parents who were in a plural marriage. Her mother's relationship with her sister wives proved to be an inspiration to her, and she grew up close to them. In spite of her happy experience growing up with parents in a plural marriage, she hid her family's status from her classmates. "My mom's sisterwives loved me as their own and polygamy or plural marriage described my family," she wrote on the My Sisterwife's Closet blog. "I remember my mom would say my sister-you-know-what when she was in public just to be careful. When we started the show Sister Wives, it was almost hard for me to be okay with the title of the show. The word was so sacred to me, but so negative to the rest of the world."

Today, Robyn has her own sister wives and appreciates them. "I love my sisterwives and our relationship is unique and irreplaceable," she said.

Some of her jewelry designs are deeply personal

Robyn designs much of the jewelry for My Sisterwife's Closet, and many of her designs hold a personal significance for her. "Choose to Keep Going, " one of her bracelets featuring a semi-colon reads. The piece was designed to raise suicide awareness and was made in honor of a loved one of Robyn's that ended his life. "The idea that tomorrow is a new day, don't give up keep going," she told Fox. "That's what the semi-colon is all about. It's not over."

Robyn added that she hopes raising more awareness will encourage people struggling with suicidal thoughts to talk about it. "It needs to be something that if someone is feeling that way, that it's not, 'oh my gosh, I can't believe you're thinking that kind of a thing', but 'OK, explain to me why and what can we do to help you,'" she said. "I wish so much that I could have talked to my sweetheart, my loved one that night he was considering it. It needs to be talked about."    

Out of all the wives, she has the biggest rental home

In 2018, the Brown family moved to Arizona from Las Vegas. They had originally moved to Vegas from Utah in 2011 after being threatened with prosecution following the debut of Sister Wives. "Utah is hostile toward polygamists," Kody told the Associated Press. "There is a very natural and subtle discrimination from the public because of those anti-polygamy laws."

The family rented out homes after relocating to Arizona. As each of the wives maintains their own living space, Meri, Christine, Janelle, and Robyn each have their own house. Not all of the Brown wive's homes are created equal, however. According to Radar Online, Robyn is renting out a million dollar home, while Janelle is in a much smaller house. While they didn't reveal how big the homes Meri and Christine are staying in are, Robyn's massive luxury home helped fuel rumors that she is Kody's favorite wife.

But she owns the smallest parcel of land

Even though they rented out homes after moving to Arizona, the Brown family does plan to build their own homes near each other. They've already purchased the lots, with each individual lot being deeded to Kody and one of his wives. While Robyn's rental home might be the nicest, she has one of the the smallest plots of land in the planned compound.

The plot was purchased for $820,000 and split into four lots, according to Radar Online. Janelle's parcel is 2.42 acres, as is Robyn's. Meri and Christine, however, have much larger plots of land. Meri's is 4.48 acres large, while Christine's is larger than Janelle's and Robyn's plots put together, measuring in at a whopping 5.16 acres. Even though Janelle and Robyn have smaller plots, they're also named on their sister wives' deeds. Janelle is listed on the property deeded to Kody and Meri, while Robyn is listed on the plot in Kody and Christine's names.

Her sweet Christmas tradition

Every family has their holiday traditions, and the Browns are no different. When Robyn joined the family, she wanted to usher in Christmas with her own special holiday tradition that she had started with her biological children. She explained on the My Sisterwife's Closet blog that she would buy each of her children Christmas ornaments every year, so that when they got married they would have their own ornament collections. "Each year, I put a small fake tree up in each of my children's bedrooms and then one by one, I decorate their tree with them with their ornaments and reminisce about Christmas past or just talk about whatever is on their mind," she wrote. "It is a tradition we all look forward to."

She started the tradition with the Brown kids, too, giving each child a new ornament on Christmas Eve. "My favorites are the ones I have handmade myself," she wrote. "I love handmade gifts to get or to give, and it is always a lot of fun for me to make them.  

Christine allegedly hates her

While the Brown women put on a united front for the media, there are rumors that the sister wives aren't exactly sisterly. Robyn's relationship with Christine has been said to be particularly strained, with Christine admitting to some of the tension herself. Christine told Oprah that she was jealous of Kody's courtship with Robyn because it took time away from their family. She was also upset about the way Kody and Robyn got engaged, as it went against their faith. "I found out that Kody sealed the engagement with a kiss, and I freaked," she said. "We didn't kiss until over the altar. … So, to me, the fact that he had kissed Robyn was devastating."

Long after the engagement, rumors continued to swirl about the relationship between the two women. Family friend Kendra Pollard told Life & Style (via International Business Times) that "Christine really wants to rip Robyn's eyes out," adding that Christine "thinks Robyn is obnoxious, spoiled and a home wrecker."

She's reportedly considered leaving Kody

Marriage is hard enough, but it's even harder when there are three other wives in the mix and your personal life is aired on television. There's a lot of speculation that the Browns aren't as happy as they make themselves out to be on the air. How much of their marriage is just for show, and how much of it is genuine? According to some rumors, Robyn has considered leaving husband Kody in the past.

In 2016, Radar Online reported that Robyn was planning on moving away from Kody. "There were a lot of communication issues and a lot of fighting," a source told the publication. "Kody is really bad at handling stressful situations and wants to be safe all the time, and when Robyn could no longer be his source of comfort. He couldn't handle it."

While we now know that the split never happened, one thing that's clear is that being a member of the Sister Wives family isn't always easy.

Faith keeps their marriage going strong

How have the Sister Wives kept their marriage going in the face of adversity and tabloids that won't leave them alone? Being a sister wife isn't always easy, but Robyn has a secret weapon: her faith. She believes it's what keeps their home life happy. "It absolutely guides us in everything that we do," she told Fox News. "You don't see a lot of cat fights in our family, and a lot of that is because culturally and spiritually we are taught that we treat each other with charity and with love and we… go forward with a Christ-like type of attitude towards each other."

Robyn added that if it wasn't for the family's strong convictions, they probably wouldn't be able to maintain their marriage.  "If we didn't have the guidance of faith, religion or spirituality in our lives, I don't think we'd ever be able to be functional in this kind of lifestyle," she said.