TLC’s Sister Wives provides a strong introduction to the world of polygamy, especially as it relates to the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) sect of fundamentalist Mormonism. Kody Brown, the family patriarch, has four wives: Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn. He also boasts a grand total of 18 children and two grandchildren.
All of this can create quite a wild family tree. The many connections between family members appear quite incredible to outsiders, but also remarkable is the fact that the connections continue even with the Brown family’s married children.
Many fans of the show might be surprised to learn that Kody’s second wife was once married to the brother of his first wife. Janelle was married to Meri’s brother, Adam, for just two years, and they had no children. They were able to have a simple divorce before Janelle went on to marry her former sister-in-law’s husband. What a twisted web!
Janelle and Meri have alluded to their deep connection on the show. In fact, Janelle has claimed on the show that at one time Kody and Meri were just her polygamous friends.
Things also get a little more interwoven when you consider that Janelle’s mom became one of the wives of Kody’s father. Janelle’s mom, Sheryl Brown, married Kody’s father, William Winn Brown, years ago. For Sheryl, this meant converting to a new way of life.
When William died in 2013, Sheryl became one of three widows.
Technically, this would mean that Jenelle and Kody are step-siblings (though not legally). It does seem as if their union was supported by the entire family.
The twisted family tree also extends to the Brown family’s children. For example, Janelle’s daughter Maddie married a man named Caleb Brush.
Caleb is the brother of Kody’s sister-in-law. To put it simply, Kody had a brother, Curtis, who passed away. Curtis was married to Erica Brush Brown, whose brother is Caleb. In short, Maddie is married to her aunt’s brother (there is no blood relation, of course).
Together, Maddie and Caleb have two children. The birth of their second child was featured on the latest season finale of the show.
Third wife Christine also has some unique connections to big names in the AUB universe. On the show, many viewers may have heard Christine mention that her family was split up after her grandfather was outed as a polygamist. Her grandfather was an infamous member of the Allred family.
Christine also has a special connection with Robyn. Robyn was previously married to a man named David Preston Jessop. Jessop is actually Christine’s cousin. In fact, Jessop is apparently also a third cousin to Kody.