Sister Wives’ Kody Brown’s Turbulent Marriage With First Wife Meri, A Full History

The Sister Wives stars have had a lot of ups and downs in their relationship. Kody and Meri Brown were married for 30 years, and during that time they had a lot of issues they had to deal with as a couple before separating in 2022.

kody brown and his first wife meri's turbulent marriage

In April 1990, Meri and Kody married, and it was later that Kody brought Janelle, Christine, and Robyn into the picture, his second, third, and fourth wife. The nation was shocked when Sister Wives premiered on TLC in 2010.

“We have chosen to live in a plural family for many reasons, above all we have a testimony that this is what God wants us to do, and that it will make us better people. We value family above all else.” Kody wrote in 2011.

In 2013, Brown and his four wives were being investigated for violated polygamy laws in the state of Utah, and file a lawsuit as a result. The case was later dismissed, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t endured and outpoured of criticism over the years.

In 2014, Kody divorced Meri so he could marry Robyn and adopt her children.

After the divorce things quickly went downhill for Kody and Meri. In an episode of Sister Wives during season 15 of the show, the pair is shown in couples therapy where Meri said the magic was “dead” and the romance was “over”.

Kody told US Weekly in February 2021:

“In plural marriage, I don’t feel like I’ve got the right to say, ‘This is over, this is ending… I have dominion over my own body and where I’m at but I’m not in a place where, like, I can say, ‘Hey, I’m divorcing you.’ I can’t do that. … There’s other double standards that we have in the family that we sort of tolerate. And that other double standard is I don’t get to leave, but they can.”

Meri and Kody’s issues continued to show on the TLC series, and in season 17 finale, Kody said that he didn’t “want to be in a relationship with her anymore.” It was after that that Meri confirmed that Kody decided to end the marriage without telling her during the Sister Wives: One-on-One special in 2022.

Meri said she would reconsider the decision, but Kody did not share her feelings.

We’ve outlined all of the drama Kody and his four wives, including Meri, experienced during their marriage below:

April 1990

Meri and Cody were engaged for just 6 months before they were married. Kody said of Meri in Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage, “Meri was so cute and sweet when I met her that I had a hard time suppressing my hopelessly romantic nature,”

Credit: Meri Brown/Instagram

January 1993

Kody introduced Meri to Janelle Schriever (later Brown), before they were “married”. Kody and Janelle have six children together: Madison and Savanah and sons Logan, Hunter, Garrison and Gabriel.

March 1994

Four years after marrying Meri, Kody brought a third into the family – Christine. They had six kids together including Paedon and daughters Aspyn, Mykelti, Gwendlyn, Ysabel and Truely.

July 1995

Meri and Kody have their first child, Mariah, after being unable to bare children during the years prior.

September 2010

Sister Wives premiers on TLC, and at the same time Kody brought a fourth wife into the family, Robyn.

Credit: Courtesy Christine Brown/Instagram

June 2012

After the birth of Meri and Kody’s daughter Mariah, the pair became pregnant again, but after 10 weeks Meri miscarried. She would recall the loss during an episode of Sister Wives in 2021. “I completely assumed that after I had Mariah, it would be very easy for me to conceive again,” Meri said at the time. “And that just didn’t happen.” She said after this heartbreaking loss, she decided to stop trying.

September 2014

The couple divorces legally to allow Kody to marry Robyn and adopt her three kids from her previous marriage – David, Aurora and Breanna. Kody reveals that he felt deceived after marry Meri, saying that it was different from what he thought it would be.

June 2016

Two years after the divorce, Meri met someone online, but things quickly took a turn. “At the very beginning, this person was fun, funny, just good conversation,” she later found out that the person she was talking to was a catfish, as she explained on and episode of Sister Wives.

Kody said he felt “lost”. “Meri and I were struggling enough. It was very hard to communicate,” he recalled.

Credit: TLC; Courtesy Mariah Brown/Instagram

January 2017

Mariah comes out as gay, and Kody and Meri have a hard time accepting her sexual identity. “I’m still in a state of processing this,” Kody said. Meri said about the situation, “This is a little unexpected. I did not see this coming.”

January 2019

In season 13 of the TLC series, Meri pursues her dream of opening an inn, and Kody is upset, saying it was “self-indulgent”. Meri said of the inn that it wasn’t because she wanted “to be alone and independent in the business world or anything like that. It was just something that I needed to get done.” Though the Brown’s weren’t supportive, Meri hopes she’ll come around.

Credit: Courtesy Meri Brown/Instagram

December 2019

In 2019, Meri makes an emotional post on instagram about her miscarriage. “I woke up this morning thinking about how it would be to have my 12-year-old boy with me at Christmas this year,” she wrote. “Never thought I’d get the news today that a sweet little mom I know and love would be saying goodbye to her own sweet baby today too. #MiscarriageSucks.” Kody admitted that her inability to have children affected their marriage in a serious way.

April 2020

Meri and Kody decided to get couples therapy.

December 2020

Meri rassures fans about her relationship with Kody six years post-divorce in an Instagram post. “Let’s just clarify something here. I love this man. 💙… I don’t owe anyone an explanation but I’ll do it anyway. … My relationship with him is MY relationship with him. Sure we’ve had ups and downs through the years (I mean, isn’t that somewhat normal?) High highs and low lows. … But here’s my truth. I love him. I love my family. I’m committed. I have 30 years in this. We struggle. We communicate. … I’m not going anywhere.”

Credit: Courtesy Meri Brown/Instagram

February 2021

In an Interview with use, Kody said having four wives can sometimes be a challenge. “Meri and I have been in a very dark place for a very long time,” he explained. “It’s been more about trying to get ourselves out of this hole that we dug ourselves into. … I feel like [my wives] need to understand that – that they can leave. If it’s not working for them, they can leave. Nobody’s going to be a prisoner here.”

February 2021

Kody says in an episode of Sister Wives that Meri had no value. In an inerview with Us, she said she disagreed. “I did not agree with that statement then, nor do I now because I think there is value to it,”

March 2021

Kody reveals on an episode of the TLC series that the catsfishing incident had a major impact on the marriage, saying he didn’t have “any romantic inclinations within our marriage.”

Credit: Courtesy Meri Brown/Instagram

November 2021

Christine leaves the family and Meri starts pursuing other women.

January 2022

Kody and Meri reveal the details of their relationship in the season 16 reunion of Sister Wives, and Kody admits that he doesn’t see him self being intimate with Meri ever again.

“I’m not ever going to be in a conjugal relationship with her because I’m not going to go through that emotional torture ever again.” Kody said of the relationship ” I’m not trying to make Meri sound bad, it’s just a bad match,”

April 2022

A few months after the reunion, Meri said that she was prioritizing herself in so many words. “I was called to love, not to hate. I was called to accept, not to condemn. I was called to be confident, not to fear. I was called to serve, not to neglect. I’m here to love, to learn, to serve, to impact others in a positive way,” she said on Instagram. “I am here to laugh, to enjoy life, and live it to it’s fullest. I fiercely love and protect those in my inner circle, and that circle is far reaching. My calling, my job here on this earth, is to live a life of passion, of confidence, of authenticity, true to who I am, and true to who God made me to be. I am unapologetically me.”

Credit: Courtesy of Meri Brown/Instagram

June 2022

Meris child, Leron, came out as Transgender, and she made sure to show her support. “Someone recently told me that I didn’t have to have all of my s*** figured out in order for me to share myself with the world,” Leon said “So here’s me, definitely not having almost any of my s*** figured out, to let you know that I am trans. My name is Leon or Leo (i love both) and my pronouns are they/them.” Meri reposted the post to her own Instagram.

June 2022

Meri goes to the Grand Canyon by herself, and posts about it on Instagram. “Sometimes life throws little curveballs. Sometimes those curveballs aren’t too shabby. Embrace the change. Embrace the adventure, … This just makes me resolve to actually come spend a whole day out here taking in all the majesty.”

September 2022

Meri travels to Mexico, again by herself. On Instagram, she wrote “What a great day here in Mexico! I spent most of the day on my deck, basking in the sunlight, thinking, planning, reading, writing, all the things that fill my soul! …Take time for yourself every once in a while! Nurture your heart and your mind. It’s good for you! 💙💙.”

Credit: Courtesy of Meri Brown/Instagram

October 2022

During season 17, Christine tells the other Sister Wives that she is leaving Kody. The group had mixed reactions, including Meri.

“When I married Kody, when Janelle married Kody, when Christine married Kody, when Robyn married Kody — each one of us made a commitment to each other. To all of us. That we would love each other. That we would respect each other. That we would stick through it thick and thin and we’d work these things out. Come on, you guys, can’t we get our heads out of our butts?” Meri said.

While Meri said she still had faith in her marriage with Kody, Kody felt differently. “I’m going to be the head of my household again,” Kody said after hearing of Christine’s decision “So, I’m not going to be circumvented in that. If everybody is willing to conform to patriarchy again, I guess.” Christine is now married to David Woolley.

October 2022

Meri’s mom died in 2021, and Kody tells her that she should move to Utah to run the Inn. Meri’s stated in season 17 how heartbroken she felt about Kody’s suggestion.

“I was here are the very beginning. I helped start this family. It was me and him and we had plans. He loved me,” she said.

December 2022

Janelle and Kody reveal that they are separated during the season 17 finale of Sister Wives. Kody also says he wants to end his marriage with Meri.

“It’s interesting hearing him talking about this and the parallels that are happening with him and Christine and me and him,” Meri said during a confessional.

“Ironically, Meri’s trying to support me and I don’t want to be in a relationship with her anymore.” Kody said.

Credit: Courtesy of Meri Brown/Instagram

December 2022

In the Sister Wives One-on-One special, Meri revealed her feelings about Kody’s statement that he doesn’t feel like they are married after being together for so long. “He just made the decision,” she said.

She went on to say the she thought Kody was actually trying back in 2018 when they first moved to Texas, but things changed.

“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, … And I said to him then, ‘If that’s where we are, don’t you think that we should address that publicly?’” She said the he didn’t want to talk about it.

December 2022

Meri’s split from Kody is confirmed, and Meri posted to Instagram “Not all is always as it seems, … Often, we accept a version of a story as truth because it fits the narrative we’ve created, or what we want to believe. It’s not always about what you’re looking at but also where you’re looking from. Everyone has their own experiences and their own truths. Remember, no matter how flat the pancake is, it always has two sides.” With 18 children together, they finally called it quits.

January 2023

“I don’t think Kody realizes the queen that I am,” Meri said on Sister Wives: One-on-One. “People change. Maybe he is just at this place that like, ‘She’s just not for me anymore.’ And he’s now finally just saying that.” She said only time will tell if her and Kody get back together.