The Untold Truth Of Sister Wives' Maddie Brown

Fans first met Sister Wives' Maddie Brown when she was just a teenager, one of 13 offspring produced by polygamist Kody Brown and his trio of wives. Since the TLC show's debut in 2010, viewers have watched her grow up onscreen, blossoming from awkward teenager to self-assured mother of two.

"Sister Wives is about husband Kody, his three wives Meri, Janelle and Christine and their combined 13 children, and shows how they attempt to navigate life as a 'normal' family in a society that shuns their lifestyle," noted TLC's 2010 announcement introducing the show. "From their unconventional family structure and living arrangements to financial challenges, each episode exposes the inner workings of a polygamist household, revealing the tight-knit and loving relationships between Kody's wives." And, of course, those of their children.

While fans of the show witnessed Maddie Brown's dating journey and eventual marriage, there's still a lot to be learned about the woman now known as Maddie Brush.

Sister Wives' Maddie Brown is one of 18 kids from dad Kody Brown's plural marriage


When her family's TLC show launched in 2010, Sister Wives' Maddie Brown was one of six children shared by Kody Brown and second wife Janelle. She had 12 siblings total at the time, but she's been joined by a few more since then.

Kody later added a fourth wife to the family, Robyn, and adopted her three children from a previous relationship. In addition, Kody and Robyn then had two biological children of their own, for a total kid count of 18, just one shy of fellow TLC family the Duggars of 19 Kids and Counting — although, to be fair, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had all 19 without the help of sister wives to share the childbearing load.

Having that many siblings to wrangle definitely caused some stressful moments during Maddie Brown's wedding. "Family, you are more than welcome to be here. However, I'm going to ask that you remain quiet," she told her large and chatty clan when she tried to walk them through the rehearsal, as reported by Us Weekly. "I don't care about your input right now."

This is how Sister Wives star Maddie Brown's father reacted to news she wouldn't be polygamous

A 2014 episode of Sister Wivesa series considered to be one of TLC's worst shows, focused on Maddie Brown's teenage dating. In one of the confessional interviews, she declared she had no intention of following the plural marriage path of her polygamist parents. "I am not going to be a polygamist," she insisted, admitting that she sensed disappointment from her father about her decision.

"I think my dad is sad that I won't be a polygamist, but I think he's also kind of just come to the realization that it's not gonna happen," she added bluntly.

"You know, I would never impose plural marriage on my children," Kody Brown said in that same episode. "I might advise it for some of them, might not for others. I believe in my marriage system but I don't believe that it's for everybody." Added mom Janelle, "Maddie for a long time has expressed that she's not interested in a plural marriage. Her opinion is that she loves the family that she grew up in ... but she's like, 'It's not for me.' So that's where she is and she's very vocal about it."

Sister Wives' Maddie Brown announced her engagement in 2015

In 2015, Sister Wives' Maddie Brown announced that she and boyfriend Caleb Brush had become engaged. "We are making plans for a wonderful outdoor wedding, hopefully in the country," she told People

Before the engagement, Brush first asked Kody Brown for his daughter's hand, and, once he received his approval, he took Maddie for a ride on his ATV. After pulling up at a particularly scenic spot, he surprised the TLC star with a blue diamond ring and popped the question.

"It was cold and we were huddled in jackets and I thought he was crazy to stop," Maddie Brown told the magazine of the surprise proposal. "He said to come look over here. So I walked with him to the edge. He told me he could never express how much he loved me, but he wanted to spend his life trying, and went down on one knee and pulled out a box." She noted, "I started kissing him and saying, 'Yes, yes!'"

Would Sister Wives' Maddie Brown ever have a plural marriage?

After Sister Wives' Maddie Brown revealed her engagement to People, her fiancé reiterated his bride-to-be's vow that she would never be a sister wife. "We are not living plural marriage," Caleb Brush explained. "We support Maddie's family with their choice of living plural marriage and they support us with our choice in just marrying each other."

Several of the TLC stars' siblings share her view. In a Sister Wives tell-all episode, as reported by Us Weekly, Aspyn, Kody Brown's son with Christine, said, "I don't want to do plural marriage," adding, "I kind of feel bad that none of us want to, but it was just not what we were meant to do I guess."

Christine's son Paedon felt the same way: "I believe in the religion and I believe in the faith, but I see how my dad does it and he does it amazingly. He's very strong and very powerful and I don't think I could do that."

Sister Wives star Maddie Brown's dad officiated her wedding

Sister Wives' Maddie Brown may have rejected the polygamous lifestyle, but she certainly didn't reject her family, though it's considered to be one of many reality TV families with huge secrets. That was crystal clear when she asked her dad to perform her wedding to Caleb Brush, with her entire family gathered for the big day.

"In the name of Israel's God, do you, Caleb James Brush, of your own free will and choice, take Madison Rose Brown to be your lawful wedded wife?" Kody Brown asked Brush in the ceremony. "With all my heart, I do," the groom declared with a nod while the bride beamed. Kody asked his daughter the same question, also inquiring if she would take Caleb to be her "lawful wedded husband and soulmate, to have, to hold, to comfort?" She responded, "With all my heart, I do." 

"I'm pretty excited," the newlywed bride told Us Weekly shortly after the ceremony. "It doesn't feel real."

Sister Wives' Maddie Brown welcomed her first child after 72 hours of labor

Maddie Brown and Caleb Brush didn't wait long before starting a family. In May 2017 — less than a year after their wedding — they welcomed son Axel. "We're feeling both excited and exhausted at the same time," the new parents said in a statement to People. "We're looking forward to having a family. Now that he's here we're excited to grow our family a little bit more and spread our love even more."

Axel's arrival, however, was not an easy one. As documented in an episode of Sister Wives a series some believe to be fake – Maddie was in labor for an excruciating 72 hours during the home birth at the Brown family house. "She's taken such good care of herself during the pregnancy, so not to have a fast labor — so hard," Kody Brown's sister wife Christine said. Clearly, Maddie Brown must have an all too-real understanding of what happens to your body when you give birth.

"Having Maddie give birth in our home was pretty intense," admitted Kody in a special video in which he and Janelle introduced their first-ever grandchild. "It was 72 hours of labor and 12 hours of hard labor. ... It was interesting because we were all there together. Everybody was kind of cheering her on. I think honestly she was drawing strength somehow from all of us being there."

A Sister Wives spinoff featuring Maddie Brown and her husband was reportedly in the works

After Sister Wives' Maddie Brown welcomed son Axel, rumors began to circulate that TLC was looking at creating a new Sister Wives spinoff show focusing on the newlyweds. In 2017, Life & Style reported that plans for a spinoff were in the works.

"Viewers adore the pair and TLC is getting lots of sponsorship offers, so they want to do a show with Maddie and Caleb [Brush]," an insider told the magazine. "People love Maddie because she is so down-to-earth and Caleb because he is such an outdoorsman. They make the perfect couple." According to Life & Style's report, the spinoff would focus "on their lives as a married couple and their experience as first-time parents."

Despite the report and the insider's claims, by the end of 2019, a spinoff had yet to arrive, and, when TLC announced the 2020 season of Sister Wives, there was no mention of a spinoff.

Sister Wives' Maddie Brown welcomed her second child not long after her firstborn's birth

In January 2019, Sister Wives' Maddie Brown and husband Caleb Brush announced they were expecting a second child, due to arrive that August. "I am really excited," Maddie Brown, then 23, told People. "This pregnancy feels less real for some reason, but I am still over the moon! I have no idea what I think it is. I'll just be happy with a healthy baby."

She also revealed how she expected son Axel to respond to the arrival of a sibling. "I think he'll be a little jealous at first," the reality TV star divulged. "Our world revolves around him right now and that's changing just a touch." She went on, "He'll have to share, which he's good at, but I'm not sure about everything. I think once he warms up he will be really happy to have another sibling."

Maddie Brown later shared the first photo of her newborn daughter, Evangalynn Kodi Brush, on Instagram. She noted her child was "born right on time and just right on 8/20."

Sister Wives star Maddie Brown's daughter was born with a rare medical condition

In October 2019, Sister Wives' Maddie Brown gave an exclusive interview to People to reveal that her newborn daughter had been diagnosed with fibular aplasia, tibial campomelia and oligosyndactyly (FATCO) syndrome, "an extremely rare genetic disorder that affects bone formation in utero."

As the TLC star explained, the doctor examined daughter Evangalynn for an extended period of time after the birth, causing Maddie Brown to be "[stressed] out the whole time." After more than two hours, the doctor broke the news. "That's when he told me, 'I can't find all 10 fingers,'" she said. "There were lots of emotions, but I was also relieved because there could have been a whole lot more wrong."

Maddie Brown revealed her daughter was missing a thumb and a toe. Additionally, one leg was missing a fibula (a.k.a. the calf bone), while her tibia (shinbone) was bowed. Two of the newborn's fingers were also fused together. "We were shocked. I was just sitting there trying to comprehend what's going on, having just had a baby as they are bringing in all these specialists. I was freaking out," she admitted, adding, "There's still a lot of unknowns, which is hard."

Sister Wives' Maddie Brown admits she felt "guilty" over her daughter's medical issues

The cause of fibular aplasia, tibial campomelia and oligosyndactyly (FATCO) syndrome is still unknown, and Sister Wives' Maddie Brown admitted that she immediately began wondering if she had done something wrong during her pregnancy to bring about the rare genetic condition.

"We got her diagnosis about 24 hours after she was born," she told People. "It's a genetic disorder so it's just something that happens and they don't know why." She went on, "I'm sitting there and I'm like, 'Oh, what did I do? Did I drink too much soda pop?' And I'm feeling guilty and freaking out [that] there's something wrong with my daughter."

in a heartfelt Instagram post along with a photo of her daughter, Maddie Brown wrote, "We were hesitant to share Evie's condition publicly for fear that our infant daughter would become the target of mean jokes and cyberbullying. That said, we felt not being open would be even worse and make Evie feel ashamed for something that makes her all the more special in our eyes." She added, "As a family, we have decided to be open as we walk through this journey. We want Evie to always feel pride in who she is, and all that God gave her!"

Fans overwhelmed Sister Wives' Maddie Brown with support

When Sister Wives' Maddie Brown opened up about her daughter's medical condition on Instagram, her followers responded with an avalanche of love and support.

"I keep getting on to post this, then get distracted reading all of your kind words!" she wrote in a subsequent Instagram post. "Over the past 36 hours we have been flooded with love, support, and kindness! I have had people reach out from foundations I didn't even know existed. We have been educated on sooo much! We have learned that we are so not alone in this!" She continued, "Never in a million years would I have guessed it would go this way. I was so worried and now I know it was not needed. I would say unnecessary, but I am a mom and unnecessary worrying is second nature."

Maddie Brown concluded that she spent the day with "happy tears" and feeling "relief." She added, "THANK YOU! With all of my being!"

The reason Sister Wives' Maddie Brown told mommy-shamers to "shove it"

Before going public about Evangalynn, Sister Wives' Maddie Brown faced criticism over her 2-year-old son still using a pacifier. She wrote on Instagram that she had already weaned Axel from his pacifier, but, when her daughter was born, "it was the ONE THING he regressed on!"

Her efforts to get Axel to stop using his pacifier were an exercise in futility, she explained, leaving both mother and son completely miserable. "Adding all the stress of your opinions about my child paci does not help and it makes me want to snap back with so much worse than I do and stop showing my life," she added. "I KNOW I am not the only mom who receives advice that is only meant to help but it ends up not being helpful at all. We as moms have enough guilt."

In a follow-up post, she revealed that first post "blew up" and that she'd received numerous messages from other moms experiencing the same issue: "I hope my raw and 'shove it' post helped other moms, who are in the trenches and may be struggling, to know that we are all a mess just living day to day here."

Sister Wives' Maddie Brown revealed why she was irked by her father's move to Arizona

When Kody Brown decided the family would move to Flagstaff, Ariz., the drama played out during the 2019 season of Sister Wives. Maddie Brown's mom, Janelle, in particular, was not thrilled about being separated from her grandson. Sister Wives' Maddie Brown was simiarly irked. "I think it's funny because our family is sitting here trying to convince us so hard to move. They're acting like we're leaving them, and we're the ones that are taking Axel. But I'm like, look, we moved here close to you guys, and you're the ones moving now," she said

"I'm kind of bitter because I moved here so that they could be closer to their grandson, to be closer to the family. I mean, I do believe it takes a village to raise kids, but my parents tend to move a lot, and I'm not going to follow them around the country. I'm going to do what's best for my family," she continued. She noted that she would be shocked if Flagstaff was their forever home. She wondered, "What happens if I move to Flagstaff and follow them, and they get bored and leave? I can't do that again."

Why Sister Wives' Maddie Brown moved far from her father and his sister wives

After the Brown family's move from Las Vegas to Flagstaff (amidst rumors that Kody Brown was on the hunt for a fifth wife), Maddie Brown, husband Caleb Brush, and their youngsters also made a move.  

"This is what moving pregnant looks like," Sister Wives' Maddie Brown, who was pregnant with her second child at the time, wrote on Instagram in January 2019, revealing that she and her husband were moving far away from the Browns and their Arizona home. According to the TLC star, with the rest of the family leaving Las Vegas, she and Brush decided to pull up stakes and head to North Carolina.

While she initially didn't offer any reason for the move, she provided an explanation a few months later. In July 2019, Maddie Brown returned to Instagram to post a photo of herself cradling a large baby bump, posing with Brush and son Axel. "Curious what made you guys move to NC?" one fan asked in a comment (via InTouch). The Sister Wives star offered a straightforward answer: "My husband got a job out here."