How Meri Broke Out Of The Sister Wives World
In 2010, Sister Wives premiered on TLC, documenting the lives of the polygamist Brown family. As explained in the popular series, Kody Brown "married" four women, Robyn, Christine, Janelle, and Meri, but it’s Meri Brown who was the most interesting member of the household — she’s different from the other women.
Meri has been faced with heartache and has been involved in an online affair, but she has also struggled with her own unique set of problems, ranging from jealousy to loneliness (she claimed on an episode that she felt she was doing her life by herself). However, these issues have helped shape who she is today. Here are some reasons why Meri Brown is not your typical sister wife, and how she has ultimately broken away from the Sister Wives world to find herself, and focus on the things that she loves.
She legally divorced Kody
Meri was Kody’s first wife, but she legally divorced him so that he could marry his fourth wife, Robyn. People reported that this was the only way for Kody to adopt Robyn’s three children from another marriage, which Meri hinted at during an episode of Sister Wives. She said, "If ever I’m having an emotional moment about what I’ve lost, I just think, it’s not about me, it’s about the kids."
However, the official statement the Browns gave Entertainment Tonight made no mention of the kids. Instead they said, "We have chosen to legally restructure our family. We made this decision together as a family. We are grateful to our family, friends and fans for all their love and support."
This decision was one that understandably hurt Meri. During a TLC special (via Daily Mail) she spoke about her divorce from Kody, saying, "It’s the end of something that we had had, in a way, for 24 and a half years. But at the same time, I know I have eternity with the family. I know it’s not the end."
She’s not immune to jealousy
One of the most surprising things about the Brown family when Sister Wives first aired was that the women didn’t seem to get jealous of each other, despite all "sharing" a husband. At least that’s what fans had always thought, until Meri and Christine decided to open up about the taboo J-word and what life’s really like when the cameras aren’t rolling. That’s reality TV for you right there — after cuts, edits, and self-censoring on-camera, viewers don’t always get to see the full picture. You’re shocked, we know.
Speaking of how they have all felt jealous, Meri said, "We all just have different levels of jealousy moments, at different times, depending on where we were within ourselves." Christine also chimed in, revealing, "What I get jealous about most is time, and where he spends his time. I think about time a lot."
So it turns out that life as a sister wife isn’t always a walk in the park.
Janelle and Meri are "terrified" of being alone together
Even though the wives in many ways share a life, they aren’t always together and sometimes that’s because they really don’t want to be. It was revealed on the show that Meri and Janelle have not always had the best relationship, and they needed to speak to therapist Nancy Hunterton about their issues. While in a therapy session Janelle admitted to Meri that "the thought of going somewhere with you for a couple of days terrifies me."
She then went on to admit that it wasn’t because Meri is a scary person, but is because being together is emotionally terrifying and that the two women are seldom alone together — not even for a car ride, which is was their therapist advised them to go on together. Meri later reflected on what Hunterton had told them to do, and she wasn’t thrilled by thought of being alone with Janelle, either. She said, "Being in a car together and listening to an audiobook about vulnerability with Janelle, that’s like a lot."
She felt like she was married to a stranger
While she’s been through a lot, one of the most hurtful things that Meri had to go through as part of this complicated family was divorcing Kody so that he could legally marry Robyn. The entire experience caused a whole lot of problems between Meri and Kody, straining their relationship.
The couple tried to save their marriage, but during an episode of Sister Wives, Meri admitted that she didn’t even know who she was married to anymore. She said, "Kody, I just feel like I’ve spent a lot of years not knowing where we were. You know both of us have been avoiding any sort of anything with our relationship."
She later added how the experience has led to feelings of loneliness and isolation. She said, "I feel like I’m just doing my life by myself. That’s not what I signed up for." She also admitted during an episode of the show that she felt alone. She confessed that her home is so quiet that she puts music on every morning just to drown out the silence. She said, "I just feel lonely. I’m just alone, so much at the time."
She pushed Kody away
During one specific episode of Sister Wives, viewers learned a lot about the dynamics between Meri and her spiritual husband Kody, including the fact that there was a lot of tension in their relationship. Meri also admitted that her affair influenced the way she felt about her family.
She said that the person she’d spoken with "was planting things in my head and just telling me how horrible my family was. And specifically how horrible Kody was." These comments affected Meri, and she started to push her husband away.
In the same episode, Kody reminded Meri on camera that she said she wanted him to leave her alone. He said, "You asked me to not be around you. You invited me away. You told me to go away." So while the relationship was strained on a lot of levels, it was Meri who apparently ultimately pushed Kody away.
She looked for love online
In 2016, Meri described her online affair a year earlier as a catfishing scandal. According to People magazine, Meri thought she had been speaking with a man named Sam. However, it later became clear to her that she had been duped, and the person she was really speaking to was a woman. In a separate interview with People, she commented on the trickery: "I didn’t know how to get out of the situation without putting myself, family, and friends at greater risk. It was a very difficult time. I had a lot of anxiety."
But before she realized her online lover wasn’t who she thought he was, she seemed happy and even admitted that she was flirting with "him." During a one-hour special of Catching the Catfisher (via People), Meri spoke about this, saying, "It sounded like a guy with a southern accent. We laughed a lot. It was easy to connect with him, just because there was so much in common…. He was very, very flirty with me. And … I am a little bit flirty too."
"She hasn’t seemed like herself for a long time"
After the news of Meri’s online affair was revealed, it also emerged that her sister wives and husband had noticed something wasn’t quite right, despite not knowing why. During an interview on TLC in the clip titled "What She Is Going Through," fellow wife Robyn revealed that "Meri hasn’t been herself for a long time." Janelle also admitted that Meri was "a little more distant from the family," adding, "We are anxious to help her in any way we can."
Husband Kody can be seen shaking his head in the video, clearly at a loss. He said, "I didn’t know what to think. I’m waiting for her to express something to me… I don’t know." He continued to reiterate his other wives’ observations, saying, "She hasn’t felt well for a long time. She hasn’t seemed like herself for a long time."
She’s learning to accept her daughter
In 2017, Meri and Kody’s only daughter, Mariah, bravely revealed to her whole family that she identifies as a lesbian. During an interview with People, Mariah opened up about how her sexuality conflicts with her family’s strict fundamental beliefs. She said, "I remember being in church and they talked about how being gay was bad, but none of that came from my parents. It was from the church and the people I was around."
Meri revealed during an episode of the show that when it comes to romantic relationships, she had a very different vision for her daughter. She said, "I just always expected that she would grow up, meet a guy, get married, have kids." She then went on to acknowledge disappointment that she would not have a relationship with a son-in-law like her sister wives, Janelle and Christine, do.
That said, Meri has made an effort to accept her daughter. During an interview with People, she said, "I’m so proud of [Mariah] for having the strength." Meri clearly continues to try to be more openminded and set aside any of her personal discomfort, as evidenced by her loving tweets and Instagram posts about both Mariah and her girlfriend Audrey.
She’s become an entrepreneur
In 2016, Meri got a new job — her Instagram bio indicates "Lovin’ me some LuLa!!" and links to her Facebook group dedicated to selling LuLaRoe products. It’s a job that she is clearly passionate about — so much so that she’s even changed her username to lularoemeribrown.
She is doing this job for herself, and she appears to be loving every minute. She thanked the company for the opportunity in an Instagram post, writing: "Training is fabulous. I am blessed and so happy to be on this #LuLaRoe journey with @lularoemaile and so many other fabulous women who only want to bless and build others up."
Fast forward to 2018, and Meri still can’t stop gushing about her job as a LuLaRoe ambassador. From hosting product giveaways to hitting the road with fellow Lula ladies, this is one sister wife with some serious hustle. And considering she almost exclusively sports LuLaRoe clothing in her social media snapshots, it’s safe to say Meri really does believe in the brand. That said, with an onslaught of lawsuits in 2018, the future of LuLaRoe appears to be rocky, to say the least. Only time will tell what will become of Meri’s beloved business.
Two words: sweat equity
LuLaRoe isn’t the only gig keeping Meri busy. In December 2017, the sister-wife saw a dream realized when she turned a historic family home into a bed and breakfast. Located in Parowan, Utah, the house-turned-business boasts special significance for Meri — her great-great-grandparents built it in 1870. So, naturally, she named the new B&B after the great-great family matriarch, dubbing it Lizzie’s Heritage Inn.
"It has been a long time dream of mine to get the home back into the family," Meri wrote on Instagram, "and after a lot of work, and when I say a lot, a mean a LOT, it is back in my family where it belongs!"
Although polygamy is still illegal in the state of Utah, some locals seem perfectly content to welcome the inn and the people who represent it. In January 2018, the town of Parowan’s then-mayor, Donald Landes, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the Browns "seem to be nice people."
Heck, not even Kody could fight the excitement! In March 2018, he tweeted, "I was forced to admit that Lizzie’s home was very magical. It was captivating." Sounds like Meri has a hit on her hands, huh?
Travel has expanded her perspective
It is said that travel is the greatest teacher, which certainly seems to ring true for Meri. Between taking on her role as a LuLaRoe brand ambassador and running Lizzie’s Heritage Inn in Utah, the Nevada-based sister-wife spends a ton of time on the go. And you know what? She does seem more worldly and well-rounded — not to mention happy — for it.
In February 2017, Meri followed her wanderlust to Nevada’s neighboring state of Arizona to live out the lyrics of "Take It Easy" by the Eagles. "Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona, because I can!" she joked on Instagram. A year later, nearly to the day, Meri made her way all the way to the opposite side of the country to scope out alligators in the Florida Everglades.
Since most of her recent travels revolve around her LuLaRoe business, you could say that Meri has found her tribe through travel. From Caribbean cruises to Chicago excursions, this sister-wife shares many exciting adventures with her new BFFL (best friends from LuLaRoe, natch).
She found her voice
While it would have been easy to fold under pressure following her catfishing scandal and other Sister Wives drama over the last few years, Meri Brown appears to have come out stronger on the other side. In fact, stepping out of the shadows could very well have given her a renewed sense of self. These days, she embraces her lifestyle in a way that has proved liberating.
In February 2017, Meri joined Kody and her other sister-wives on the steps of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City to fight for their lifestyle. Alongside hundreds of other polygamist families, the Browns rallied for the rights of those who choose plural marriage.
The following year, the family’s continued fight aired on Sister Wives. With it, Meri’s confidence rose even more — prompting her to speak out about her beliefs. "Even though I was Kody’s first wife, I always had to hide my family before we went public," Meri revealed on Twitter in February 2018. "It has been so freeing to publicly own them all. I hope more plural wives will find strength to own their families & not hide. Maybe if we all band together change will happen."
Her love life got some TLC
It’s no big secret that Meri and Kody’s relationship has suffered some substantial blows. The damage their marriage had suffered became readily apparent during the Sister Wives Tell All that aired in March 2018.
During the special, Kody confirmed that — at the time — he was not interested in being intimate with Meri and that they felt like "a divorced couple living on the same block." When asked if she felt the same, Meri responded honestly, "I think I want more of a relationship with him than we’re having right now." She added that fixing it would require "two parties wanting to work toward it."
Happily, though, it appears the couple is at least taking baby steps toward that goal. In January 2018, before the special aired, Kody and Meri brought her sister-wife’s son Solomon along for a movie date night. Then, in April, Kody made a grand romantic gesture. "Kody flew out to Chicago on my last day of #LuLaRoe leadership so we could spend our anniversary together yesterday," Meri posted on Instagram. "How sweet was that?!"
She started channeling her inner Zen
Perhaps the biggest change in Meri Brown’s life has been a positive attitude. The Sister Wives star’s sojourn toward self-enlightenment seems to have started around 2016. In November of that year, Meri participated in the popular social media Thanksgiving challenge of stating something you’re grateful for each day. Meri’s turning point can be traced to Day 22 when she divulged that "the process of allowing things to just BE" had brought peace into her life once more.
A year later, Meri couldn’t help marveling over her progress. "Today I am in awe at the amazing opportunities stretched out before me," she wrote on Instagram. "I am happy. I am successful. I am accomplishing things I once thought impossible. I am finding myself in a way I didn’t know I would. I have left the past behind and am moving forward with a positive outlook. I am happy with ME!"
And, in March 2018, Meri posted an affirmation suggesting she hasn’t lost those Zen-vibes yet: "Your life becomes a masterpiece when you learn to master peace." Wise words, indeed!