"It's no secret that Kody and I have been in a rough spot for a long time," she told the women. "I have decided to leave Kody. It's a hard decision. I need to make a choice for happiness. I need to make a choice to have joy in my life and peace and there hasn't been a lot of hope at all until I decided to leave. I feel strongly this is the best choice for me."
Bryant Livingston/TLC/Everett Kody Brown (center), surrounded by Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown
Last November, Christine announced on Instagram that her spiritual marriage to Kody was over. In September 2021, she relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah, and still lives there with daughter Truely, 12. (The exes are also parents to son Paedon, 24, and daughters Aspyn, 27; Mykelti, 26; Gwendlyn, 20, and Ysabel, 19.)
Kim Raff Christine Brown
While Kody and Christine's marriage hadn't been functioning well for some time, the news of the split still came as a surprise to the other wives.
"I'm in shock," Robyn later admitted. "I don't know what to say here. I don't know what to say to her. It's not really computing. It's just not making sense right now. I've been through a divorce. I know what this means. We're not just talking about three kids and a husband and a wife. We're talking about 18 kids, spouses, grand babies and five of us that are all connected and committed to each other and technically married."
Joe Pugliese/TLC/Everett Kody Brown with his wives and children
Meri later told cameras: "This is just a big announcement. I'm just processing at this point. I'm not happy right now. I'm not happy with the situation. It makes me angry. C'mon you guys can't we all just get our heads out of our butts?"
But Janelle, who has remained closest to Christine, already had an idea that big changes were headed for their family.
"I intellectually knew this was coming. But here we are today. It's hard to know something and then to actually have it happen," she said.
While Kody has struggled to accept the fact that Christine wanted to end their marriage, he did acknowledge it's been a long time coming.
"I think that our relationship has been so bad for so long is specific to Christine's change of heart regarding plural marriage," he said. "I think that I was spread so think and she needed a certain level of attention led us to where we're at and plural marriage just hasn't worked for her for many, many years."
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Sister Wives airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.