Sister Wives premieres tomorrow (Sunday, May 8) and TLC is set to address the fallout of Meri Brown’s online affair with her dreamy, though imaginary lover, “Sam Cooper.”
The information-overload which details the sequence of events is indeed daunting and complicated, so to all those who didn’t want to spend hours getting up to speed — welcome to Sister Wives Catfish 101.
Below, I have condensed the main points — so to all of you nervous newbies — this is your chance to catch up, and JOIN THE SNARK!
Meri Brown was entrenched in a 6-month affair with someone whom she believed to be a international business tycoon in his early 40’s, self-identified as “Sam Cooper.” “Sam” illustrates his identity only by a half-faced photo. “Sam’s” real identity is believed to be that of a woman named Jackie Overton. Overton is allegedly a prolific online scammer, who maintains multiple social media accounts, and seeks out vulnerable personalities to score various goodies. Her modus operandi is to build a trusted friendship, in order to move in and score whatever she can. The affair occurred between March and August of 2015.
Jackie Overton and the fictional Sam Cooper
The couple met on Twitter, after Meri and Kody Brown legally divorced. While Jackie is sneaky, a needy Meri appeared to be trolling for romance, ready to jump into the sea of love, with someone, maybe anyone. Meri and Sam flirted on Twitter publicly first, then privately, spoke on the phone, and texted. Some say that what they shared could not be classified as an affair — but Meri’s faith declares a spiritual marriage just as binding as a legal one. In the eyes of her religion, it was indeed a no-no.
Sam swept Mare off of her bronzed feet, and collected around 200 voicemails with Meri’s voice gushing, whining, and flirting up a storm. Mare proclaimed her love to “Sam,” counseled “Sam,” and giggled with “Sam,”— over and over. The couple shared their hopes, fears, and intimate thoughts. Meri was heard dissing Kody, and later planned her escape into her new dreamboat savior’s arms. Meri also sent dozens of photos, many naughty in nature. Soapy legs, provocative bananas, dotted denim, and sultry poses were just a few visuals that Sam exposed.
All About the Tea exclusively broke the story, and reported the details until the Browns cracked. Meri finally admitted to a six-month period of speaking to a man, who was later discovered a woman. Mare downplayed the romance, and immediately shifted public focus onto her newly decided victim status. “Sam,” allegedly irritated that Mare broke off their relationship and future, exposed the voicemails, photos, and texts in his online blog. “Sam” continues to blog and assert that the affair was the real-deal, to this day. An e-book was written, entitled ‘Almost Meri’ed,’ which was made available on Amazon. Neither Meri, the Browns, or TLC has disclosed the identity of the person, whom they believe tricked Meri Brown’s heart. “Sam” blogged throughout the Sister Wives season, dished alleged details, and even did Facebook Q and As. Meri’s ex continues to blog about the experience today.
One of the more fascinating aspects of the story was the insight allowed to viewers, during the airing of the show. The story broke right at the beginning of the season, and fans were able to peg a scowling Meri, detach from her family. She was uncooperative during filming, ornery one minute and giddy the next. TLC added late season footage, knowing that the scandal needed to be addressed. TLC planned to wrap the season with Meri vaguely alluding to a desire to leave the family — only to abruptly tag on footage of Meri spilling about the online con, presumably after discovery. Meri still claims that she was never leaving the Browns — but her plan was obvious.
Kendra Pollard Parra is one of the main scandal backup dancers. At one time, she worked for the Browns, and was involved with their online boutique. She also appeared on the show once, as a fashion adviser. The Browns cut all ties with her, during the scandal. Pollard Parra runs a dramatic Facebook group which hosted chitchats, where “Sam” answered questions. Kendra claims to believe that Mare did fall in love with a man, and that “Sam” exists. However, some believe that she is afraid of Sam’s sidekick, Lindsay. “Lindsay” is another Overton identity, who maintains that she works for “Sam,” a sort of modern day Girl Friday. Meri met “Lindsay” in person a few times, and the pair even went to Disneyland, supposedly on the promise that “Sam” was coming along. Meri admits to meeting “Lindsay,” but not “Sam.” Meri trusted “Lindsay” along with “Sam,” and spilled alleged Brown secrets, which “Sam” exposed in his blog.
Despite dozens of investigative blogs, questions still remain. One questions the nature of the physical relationship, between the couple. “Sam” claims a traditionally sexual one, and even Meri notes being “intimate,” with her young hunk. We still don’t know if the relationship was only cyber-sexual, if a man stepped in and played a part a time or two, or if even something lesbian in nature occurred. Meri claims that she never met “Sam,” but her romeo repeatedly begs to differ. We also don’t know how the discovery was made, or how exactly the romance ended.
Meri labels the affair only “emotional,” but the voicemails and steamy photos reveal a sexual component in the mix. Meri even expressed a desire to have “Sam’s” child. Another biggie asks exactly what the other wives knew, as Meri became distant, and obviously unhappy. Many believe that freshly dubbed legal wife, Robyn, was in the mix, coaxing the affair with the help of her pal, Kendra. We just don’t know. Kody caught wind of the flirtation, and tweeted cryptically at Sam, but that is the extent of what we know for sure. No one has been able to crack the true identity of the man in the photo. Most believe that is a photo-shopped compilation of several photos, which makes the task impossible.
At the core of the charade is the ongoing legal battle the Browns have taken on against the state of Utah, fighting to legalize polygamy. Many believe that facades and charades have to stay in place, at least until the lengthy process plays out.
Jackie Overton is a career liar — but many believe the Browns to be pretty shady characters themselves. Much was exposed last season, against the Browns’ will. What course do you believe the main players will take, now that the ball is back in their cult?
Sister Wives returns with an all new season May 8 at 8/7c on TLC. Watch an exclusive sneak peek below.