From the start of Sister Wives, the writing has been on the wall for the end of Kody’s marriage to his first wife, Meri. But when did Meri leave Kody from Sister Wives and why did they break up in the end? Well, like all things Sister Wives-related, the answer is complicated.
Meri and Kody Brown—two stars from TLC’s Sister Wives—married on April 21, 1990. They welcomed their first and only child together, Leon Brown, on July 29, 1995. Kody married his second wife, Janelle, in a spiritual ceremony in 1993. He married his third wife, Christine, in 1994. He married his fourth wife, Robyn, in 2010. Meri was the only wife to be legally married to Kody until 2014 when they divorced, so Kody could legally marry Robyn and adopt her three children from her previous marriage.
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Though Meri and Kody divorced in 2014, it wasn’t until years later that they ended their relationship for good. In an episode of Sister Wives in 2022, Meri called Kody’s approach to marriage “disturbing.” “It’s interesting hearing him talking about this and the parallels that (are) happening with him and Christine and me and him,” she said in a confessional interview. “It’s kind of disturbing because some of the things that he’s frustrated about with Christine, he did to me. He wants to work on it with Christine but not me.”
So when did Meri leave Kody from Sister Wives and why did they break up once and for all? Read on for what we know about when Meri left Kody from Sister Wives and a timeline of their split.
When did Meri Leave Kody from Sister Wives?
When did Meri leave Kody from Sister Wives? Meri and Kody announced their breakup in a joint Instagram post in January 2023, a month after People reported that the couple had split. “In light of a recent unapproved press release, we feel compelled to share our own truth, in our own way, and in our own timing,” the statement read. “After more than a decade of working on our relationship in our unique ways, we have made the decision to permanently terminate our marriage relationship. During this process, we are committed to kindness and respect toward each other and to all members of our family, and we are also committed to the continued healing of any and all relationships within the famiy so that we can move forward with forgiveness, grace, and love.” The statement concluded, “In kindness, Meri and Kody.”
In the caption of her post, Meri slammed People for incorrectly reporting that she had “confirmed” that her marriage to Kody was over before their relationship officially ended. “Today I reclaim my power. Last month’s article by the ‘reputable’ People Magazine quoting me as saying that I had ‘confirmed’ that Kody and I had separated was a complete lie,” Meri wrote. “The information, content, and timing was inaccurate and was based on a highly edited version of events that had been filmed months prior. In the month’s since the taping of those interviews, Kody and I have had many open and honest discussions that have led to our announcement today.”
She continued, “There is so much more to be told about this story, and I assure you, my truth will be told. But for now, know that there is peace in my heart, and I hold no animosity toward Kody. I am not, and pray that I never will be, in a place where I will enjoy making, or seeing you make, rude and demeaning comments about him. You likely will have a range of emotions and opinions at this news and want to offer comments. In doing so, please be considerate of the fact that we are real people, with real lives, and real emotions. Please try to refrain from congratulating me at the break up of my marriage. I value the relationship I had, and look forward to stepping into 2023 and my future with grace, kindness and power. Step into kindness with me. Put positive energy out into the world. Worthy Up!”
In December 2022, People shared a clip of Meri’s interview on Sister Wives: One on One, in which she opened up about her relationship issues with Kody. “‘Sister Wives’ ‘ Meri Brown Confirms Her 32-Year-Marriage to Kody Is Over: ‘He Made the Decision,’” People‘s headline read.
During the episode, Meri was asked by host Sukanya Krishnan about a scene from Sister Wives, where Kody said that he didn’t consider herself married to her. “If she wanted to move on and marry another, she wouldn’t get an argument with me,” Kody said in the clip.
When asked for her reaction to the clip, Meri responded, “It just doesn’t make sense to me that he would be so frustrated with Christine [Brown] and be like, ‘She just made this decision. We didn’t consult, we didn’t talk, she just made the decision and then he says, ‘No, I don’t consider myself married to Meri.’ Like, he just made the decision. I’ve never heard him say that to me.”
In the episode, Meri also explained how moving the family to Flagstaff, Arizona, in 2021, also took a toll on her and Kody’s relationship. “Even since being in Flagstaff, he has led me to believe that he was trying,” she said. “You know, our first anniversary that we had here in Flagstaff, it was cheers to a new beginning as opposed to this last anniversary he’s like, ‘I don’t even know why you called me Meri.’ He’s like, ‘We’re not married. We’re not acting as married.’”
Meri continued, “I said to him, ‘Then if that’s where we are, don’t you think that we should address that publicly?’ And he said, ‘No I don’t want to address it. I don’t want that to be out there publicly because I don’t want that judgment.’”
The host then asked Meri: “Where does that leave you? Are you still married to Kody? Or, do you get to decide?” to which Meri hinted that her and Kody’s relationship was over.
“Well, he’s already made the decision. You just saw him say that,” Meri said. When asked if she’d ever consider reconciliation, Meri told the host that she would be open to it but didn’t think Kody would be. “I would. I definitely would. But I don’t think that he’s interested,” she said.
Why Did Meri Leave Kody From Sister Wives?
Why did Meri leave Kody from Sister Wives? In an interview with People in August 2023, Meri explained that she and Kody broke up due to her different opinions around polygamist marriages from when she married Kody at 19 years old. “When you’re 20, 21, 25, 30, whatever, when this is happening, you’re not grown up enough,” she said. “You think you are, but you’re really not grown up enough sometimes. Or maybe it’s more not that you’re grown up enough, but more that you just don’t have the tools in your tool belt to know how to deal with some of these issues.”
She continued, “We’re taught in our church structure that jealousy is a thing that you just need to deal with and you just need to hide it, and you need to be a good person. Now I understand that jealousy is okay. It actually can be used as a guide. And before, it was like, oh, it’s wrong. I’m a bad person.”
Meri told People that, when she experienced jealousy, she would often ask herself, “What’s wrong with me for having these feelings?” she also recalled a conversation with Kody about her jealousy over his relationships with Janelle, Christine, and Robyn. “I remember Kody would ask me, ‘If you’re OK with them coming in the family, why are you jealous? Why are you having a hard time?’” Meri said. “Well, one, I’m human. Two, I didn’t understand that it’s okay to be jealous. I thought I was a bad person for having those emotions.”
Christine left Kody in November 2021, while Janelle left him in December 2021. Meri called the breakup of their family “really sad to me.” “I’m really, really, really glad of the connections that I still have within the family, and I’m glad for the people who do have connections with each other,” she said. “Just because we’re one family, doesn’t mean we all have to have the same relationship with everybody. I think that’s a misconception a lot of times. Not everybody is going to click with everybody else. There’s going to be hurts that happen along the way.”
As for where she is now, Meri told People that “life is good” after her split from Kody. “I’m successful in business. I’ve got another really exciting projects coming along. I’ve got good people surrounding me. I’ve got an awesome support system. Things are good,” she said.
Sister Wives is available to stream on Max. Here’s how to watch it for free.
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