The History Behind The Bitter Feud Between ‘Sister Wives’ Meri Brown and Janelle Brown

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Sister Wives-Meri and Janelle-

Sister Wives rolls on tonight, with the most glaring questions continuing to raise eyebrows off-camera.  The first look hinted at a possible pieced-in nod to the sordid catfish scandal that has polluted the season, with Meri Brown admitting to divorce oriented “conflicting thoughts and emotions.” Another storyline that was recently presented, involves Janelle’s desire to address and emotionally tackle the never-ending strife that exists between she and Meri. Meri stated that it took months to even grant Janelle the green light to seek “couple’s” therapy for the sister-wife duo. The reasons for the longtime discord have only been alluded to, and while the information is not new, due to the revisited storyline, I thought a refresher may be helpful. 

To begin, Janelle was once married to Meri Brown’s brother, Adam Barber, which made Kody her brother-in-law. Three months prior to Janelle and Kody being spiritually joined, Janelle’s mother married Kody’s father, making Janelle and Kody step-siblings. Weird…YES! Janelle and Adam were only married from late 1988-June 1990. According to Janelle’s bio on the TLC site, she met Kody while she was married, in 1989.  She describes the experience as an intense one.

“When he walked into the room I looked at him and had that feeling of remembering something I had forgotten. It was a singular experience.”

She speaks of attending Kody and Meri’s 1990 wedding reception, and cites “knowing Meri’s family for several years before the night I met Kody, so it was natural for me to be at their house from time to time.” I would think that being married to Meri’s brother may have had something to do with that! Did the initial magic moment between Janelle and Kody trigger the divorce between Janelle and Meri’s brother? 

Sister Wives_Meri and Janelle Brown

The Browns book, “Becoming Sister Wives” also gives us a glimpse into the inner dynamics that drove a wedge between Meri and Janelle.  According to the book, Janelle and Meri never developed a friendship, but she and Kody became close, connecting on a “cerebral level.” The book speaks of Janelle admitting that she and Kody were not in love during their courtship and spiritual union. Meri acknowledged that the dulled intensity of Janelle and Kody’s relationship aided in making her feel more secure about Kody inviting Janelle into the marriage. 

Janelle and Kody spiritually wed in 1993, and along with Meri, began living together.  Meri speaks of huge missteps in how they initially handled the co-habitation, and believes that Janelle struggled with the romance that she and Kody obviously shared. Janelle describes feeling completely unwelcome during that early period, and asserts that she and Meri’s relationship turned from “cordial to frosty, overnight.” She describes Meri’s then personality as “demanding and overbearing,” and felt that nothing she contributed to the household met Meri’s standards. The pair had horrible fights, and Janelle was the first wife to give Kody a child. Meri admits to being “harsh and aggressive,” towards Janelle, and later “devastated,” though not surprised, when Janelle became pregnant first. Viewers know that Janelle went on to have five more children, and Meri and Kody had only one child.

It is easy to understand why the legal divorce between Kody and Meri may have triggered Janelle’s growing desire to mend fences. Meri has been demoted, the pecking order has been drastically changed, and the core issues are no longer relevant.  Meri appears to want nothing to do with Kody, and has likely gotten past her raging womb envy. They all live in separate mini-mansions, and Meri is in the process of giving her heart away to a slimy con-artist. 

Janelle appears to be practically begging Meri to kiss and make up, and Meri tossing her a strangely delayed bone, seems oddly resistant.  Will TLC’s arm-twisted efforts to save the floundering, though lucrative polygamist bunch knock this storyline out of the saddle? Time will tell!


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