RECAP: The ‘Sister Wives’ Expose Kody On Explosive Tell-All Special
In the first of three one-on-one sessions with the Brown Family, the host, Sukanya Krishnan, holds the Sister Wives adults accountable for the things they said and did this season. Will Kody Brown, Meri Brown, Janelle Brown, Christine Brown, or Robyn Brown take any ownership over their individual roles in the family divisions and breakdowns?
Kody and each wife meet individually with the host to discuss Season 16 (filmed in the summer of 2020 through January of 2021). The footage in interspersed as each adult is interviewed, and even though they watch clips of what each is saying in real time, the interviews are solo.
Sister Wives: Janelle’s Not Happy
First up is Janelle. Janelle talks about her Covid experience and how different people in the family and across the country had differing risk tolerance to possible exposure to Covid. Pre-Covid, Janelle thought the family was distant and isolating, but it was worsening after moving to Flagstaff from Las Vegas. Janelle says that there are two danger zones to relationships in polygamy. The first is not being “conscientious and actively working” on relationships, and the second is spending “too much time in your head imagining.”
Kody Brown says that in Las Vegas the family was united in what they had done but admits there was a “perpetual dishonesty” to keep some relationships good and healthy. Robyn later mentions how much was swept under the rug and ignored through the years. And once the family moved to Flagstaff, the adults didn’t have to work on it as much and do things as they used to do it.
Meri says that the family wasn’t interacting much in Flagstaff, so she dismissed it as moving to a new town and getting settled. Robyn says that sometimes when they don’t see each other, they imagine things, imagine feelings, or keep things from each other. Christine admits that she felt on the outs, and that had quite a bit to do with what was in her head in combination with watching Kody act differently in other marriages. Meri and Robyn were shocked that Christine said she felt like she was on the outs with the others, but Meri understood how Christine felt because she has felt that way at times. Christine said that her relationship with Kody was fractured before Covid, but she was willing to work on it since they had the wake-up-call dinner.
Kody talks about the evolution of Covid protocols in their family. Kody sees the family reaction about his Covid rules as disrespect and disloyalty. Kody does say that he can look back now and say that maybe he was too strict, but protecting his family was his goal. Kody seemed consumed by the “what ifs” as many in the pandemic were and still are. Kody says that Robyn immediately complied. Janelle was mostly compliant but couldn’t keep her kids compliant. And Christine was not compliant. Kody doesn’t even mention Meri as one of his wives in this exchange. Christine does say that she was “following CDC protocols, just not Kody’s protocols.” Kody brings up the fact that in the past, Truely Brown almost died of kidney failure, and it’s foremost in his mind.
Sister Wives: Robyn’s Fake Tears
Robyn Brown wanted everyone to come together to solve the issues of Covid protocols (and compromise) to protect each other and their family culture, but it didn’t happen. Robyn breaks down and says it’s painful and it felt like the unity disappeared. Robyn doesn’t know if the family can come back from it.
Meri is asked about loneliness during Covid. Clips are shown of each wife talking about loneliness. Meri thinks it was easier not to work on their relationships. Janelle says that Kody has become “so absolute.” Janelle was mourning and sad, missing her family. Meri says that even if she got Covid, no one would know or even check on her. Janelle is upset to hear that Meri said that. Janelle says, “We are a family. I get everything is super strained with her and Kody. I get that. But she’s choosing a family identity, so let’s be a family.”
Sister Wives: Christine Is Done
Christine says that watching Kody and Meri’s marriage disintegrate has impacted her. She says, “My heart breaks when I think about their marriage, and I don’t want to be in a loveless marriage.” Clips are shown of Kody and Meri’s relationship through the years. Kody says he was shut out during the catfishing situation when Meri and a strange man (who was actually a woman) were communicating. Kody has said in the past that Meri unloads her emotions into a burden that he’s expected to carry.
Sister Wives: Meri Talks Catfish Affair
Meri talks about the past when Janelle came into the picture, Meri was jealous. Meri says that she didn’t know how to handle it. Kody didn’t know how to handle her. And Janelle was just in the middle of it. Then Christine came into the family, so Meri was jealous again. Meri still had her relationship with Kody when Robyn joined the family. Kody says that there isn’t really anything to talk about with respect to Meri. Then he goes on to say that there was a “hardness in their marriage that was so difficult and so antagonistic that I don’t know why we were in it.” Kody says Meri can leave anytime, but he can’t. He says it’s a double standard in polygamy, eluding to their faith. Then Sukanya uses the word abandon, and Kody gets very defensive. Kody says that Meri had an affair and considered leaving him for a “better, richer man.” He says that Meri can’t admit now that it happened that way and the rest of the family circled around to protect her. He says that Meri “sees herself as a victim, which is true, but that she did nothing wrong.”
Meri says that many people think that catfishing was the big fracture in their marriage, but it wasn’t. Then Meri talks about their thirtieth wedding anniversary date. Meri says that currently, she is still committed and made her choice, and she has hope for a reconciliation with her husband. Kody says that he won’t even be in a conjugal relationship with her because he’s not going to go through emotional torture again. He says that she’s still part of the family, and if religion was set aside, they probably would have been divorced long ago. Meri admits they haven’t had sex in more than a decade.
When Meri is asked about Christine in that same situation, Meri says that she and Christine are “two different people with two different sets of values.” Christine says that Meri must be more “fine with it” than she is. Kody doubles down saying, “to have intimacy in a relationship where there is no real safety, I’m not going there.” Kody says that he doesn’t not feel safe with Meri and never will again. He says he will be her friend. He will do what he can to protect her, and he will support her out on Coyote Pass, but he won’t ever feel safe in an intimate place with her again.
Next time, on part 2, there is discussion about the nanny and how Robyn feels like she’s the target of many things that should not be aimed at her. And Robyn says the fact that she’s the only wife with a functional marriage to Kody, makes her angry. Christine admits that she’s finished with polygamy. So many questions remain, but it’s great that there are finally some direct questions after a few seasons with no reunion shows. Sukanya Krishnan seems to be asking what all of us want to know!
Part one of what will be a 3-part special event premieres Sunday, Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. ET.
Kelli Bergheimer is an opinionated redhead, reality tv junkie, and freelance writer for All About the Tea.