The Untold Truth Of Sister Wives' Meri Brown

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

TLC  monster hit series "Sister Wives" has been on the air for an astounding 16 seasons, and it is gearing up for a 17th run! Over the course of several years, fans have gotten familiar with the inner workings of the famous polygamous family and its members – Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown — along with their 18 beautiful children.

While plenty of the cast's feelings, experiences, and secrets have been captured on camera and exposed in the media, there seems to be plenty of information floating around that viewers aren't aware of. First wife Meri Brown happily shares her thoughts with cameras, but there also seems to be a whole lot she tries to keep under wraps. Meri's life has certainly been packed full of ups, downs, and just about everything in between, and through it all, she remains a steady and devoted member of the Brown clan.

Meri Brown grew up in polygamy

Meri Brown is no strange to plural marriage. Like her fellow sister-wife, Robyn Brown, Meri grew up in the unconventional and often controversial lifestyle. In the Brown family memoir, "Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage," Meri recalled her upbringing in the LDS faith, her parents' awakening and calling to plural marriage, a move from California to Utah and her mom's desire for her father to take a second wife with fondness. 

Following her family's conversion to polygamy, she found herself surrounded by five mothers and 27 siblings. In the book, Meri recalled being excited at new moms or sister wives joining her growing family. In Meri's memory, the wives and children were all happy, and her father was a fair and kind dad. Looking at Meri's childhood experience, it is no surprise that once she was grown and ready to start her own family, Meri sought plural marriage for herself.

Meri and Kody Brown wed young

Meri Brown met her future husband, Kody Brown, when she was only 18 years old. The young pair met at their church, with initial introductions performed by Meri's friend and Kody's sister, Christy.  Of that first meeting, as revealed in the family's book "Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage," Meri said, "I was a little taken with Kody right off the bat." Kody's future bride thought, "He was definitely cute and had a great attitude. He was talkative and engaged me in conversation, and made me feel comfortable around him." Per Meri's recollections, it was love at first sight.

The two youngsters were indeed smitten with one another, but they always knew it would never just be the two of them until the end of time. "When we were talking about marriage and stuff, at that point, [Kody] and I both knew that eventually, we would take another wife or wives into the family." Three years after Kody and Meri wed, they took Janelle into their union as Kody's second wife.

The sister wife struggled to carry children

Kody and Meri Brown have been together for over 30 years, and in those three-plus decades, they have biologically welcomed one child into the Brown family. While many families choose to have a single child, Meri and Kody had certainly hoped for more baby Browns. Meri has openly struggled with her fertility. While she was Kody's first wife, it was five years into their marriage before she had her first and only baby, Leon. In those five years, Kody went on to have a son with his second wife, Janelle, and a daughter with his third wife, Christine. Leon, who also goes by Leo, came out as transgender in June 2022 and uses they/them pronouns. 

With the birth of her child, Meri was confident that her spell with infertility was broken. Sadly, that wasn't the case, and it would be 12 years before Meri got pregnant again, only to suffer a miscarriage at 10 weeks. "I completely assumed that after I had [Leon], it would be very easy for me to conceive again," Meri said in a 2012 episode. "And that just didn't happen. So, after years of a rollercoaster, we had finally backed off. ... I was so frustrated and so angry. I didn't understand why, after another 12 years of trying, and then, it was just taken away from us. I didn't understand that. It was really hard."

Meri lost a job because of her lifestyle

When the Brown family lived in Utah, Meri Brown worked in the mental health industry. Prior to landing her job, she revealed her family's lifestyle, choosing to be as transparent as possible. All seemed well until the family's TLC show hit the airwaves. Once the Browns became big-time news, everything at Meri's job seemed to change for the worse, resulting in the loss of Meri's career. 

She shared her feelings on the matter in an Oprah interview. "They felt that they needed to protect the company, I think," Meri said. "It actually makes me really sad because I loved my job. It breaks my heart, definitely. ... But I understand where they're coming from." Meri and the family made a move to Las Vegas, and Kody's first wife transformed herself professionally. From a mental health worker to bona fide businesswoman, Meri is a woman of many talents.

The catfishing scandal

Social media can be a very deceiving and dangerous place, and Meri Brown has learned this fact the hard way. In 2015, she started connecting with people via the internet. One person in particular began to pay close attention to her. Of the interaction, Meri said, "I got into this situation talking to one person who really made me trust him. He was just saying all the right things."

Meri thought she had a genuine connection to this person, whom she thought was a Chicago businessman. It turned out that the person Meri was confiding and trusting in was actually a woman. Meri came clean with her family about the catfishing ordeal, and for all intents and purposes, it looked as if the Brown family was willing and ready to support her. She told People, "My family has supported and stood by me. I am grateful to them for their love and strength through this difficult time." Not all of Meri's family relationships bounced back to normal, however.

While Meri is still very much a part of the Brown family, things with her and Kody never really rebounded following her internet indiscretion. They tried therapy, but as of this writing, their relationship is platonic.

She makes money through several business ventures

Meri Brown might have lost a job back in Utah, but that wasn't the end of her working days. Meri is a hustler and a hard worker, and her go-getter mentality has allowed her to stretch herself businesswise.

After making their new home in Las Vegas, Nevada, Meri and her fellow sister wife Christine got involved with the clothing company Luluroe. Even after the company was accused of running a pyramid scheme, Meri stayed on board, and it appears to be paying off for her financially. She also owns a bed and breakfast, Lizzie's Heritage Inn, in Utah. The family B & B, located just outside Parowan, is one of the state's most successful bed and breakfast establishments. While Meri's husband and sister wives didn't seem keen on helping Meri secure the property, Meri managed to make that dream happen independently. Her business ventures have paid off, and the reality star is now worth an estimated $400,000. 

Meri and Kody no longer have an intimate marriage

Relationships like Kody and Meri Brown's, ones that span several decades, are bound to go through peaks and valleys. It seems that Kody and his first wife have been living in a valley for a long time now. Meri revealed that the pair have not engaged in physical intimacy in about 10 years. She went on to say that she "would love it if he would hold my hand, but that's just not where we are."

Meri's husband, Kody, doesn't seem to be all that interested in ever lighting the fire that once burned between them. Kody told his wife, "Meri, I just don't see us getting back together," before saying they couldn't reconcile because "there's just no chance that I ever want that again." He went on to explain, "There's a point where intimacy is just damage. It's misleading to have intimacy in a relationship where there's no real safety. I'm not going there. No, and I never will again. I will be her friend. I will do what I can to protect her. I'm never going to feel safe in an intimate place." As things stand, Meri Brown will have to be satisfied with playing the role of friend to Kody.

She turned down Robyn's generous proposal

Meri Brown and her sister wife Robyn have always had a close relationship. It was Meri, after all, who helped bring her husband and his fourth wife together! The pair were so close at one time that Robyn offered Meri what some would consider the ultimate gift — a gift Meri decided to turn down.

Following the birth of Solomon, Kody and Robyn's first biological child together, Robyn made the selfless offer to carry Meri and Kody's baby next, in hopes that acting as a surrogate would bring Meri peace and joy after so many years of yearning for another child. In the end, Kody and Meri declined Robyn's offer. While the decision was difficult for the pair, Meri said, "I don't want to have a child just to feel like I'm included." Nonetheless, it was still an amazing thing for Robyn to suggest to her sister wife.

Meri hasn't always been friendly with her sister wives

Sharing a husband is going to come with its own set of unique challenges, as Meri Brown knows all too well. She was Kody's first wife, and while the pair always knew more wives would enter their family, that doesn't mean the transition to plural marriage was a seamless one. Meri has admitted to faults in how she handled Janelle's entry into the clan, per "Becoming Sister Wives." "I never took the time to think about how I should upon up my space — both physical and emotional — to accommodate a new wife ... The biggest mistake we made when we married Janelle was us all moving into a house together and not giving Janelle and me the space we needed to develop and nurture our own relationships with Kody. Having us all in the same house brought Janelle face-to-face on a daily basis with the romantic relationship Kody and I had."

Meri and Christine have had contention over the years as well, primarily due to insecurities and jealousy issues. Meri and Robyn haven't had the same relationship woes as Meri and her other sister wives, and for the most part, Robyn has championed Meri, even ticking off Kody in her unwavering support.

She is now a major supporter of LGBTQ+

Leon Brown, as previously mentioned, is Meri Brown's one child with her husband, Kody Brown. Meri's dream was always to have another kid, and it seems that thanks to her child, that dream is finally coming true! No, Meri isn't expecting a baby; she is gaining a child-in-law. After coming out to their father and mothers, Leon fell in love with Audrey Kriss.

The couple is now engaged, and Meri could not be more thrilled to welcome Audrey into the family. While Leon's initial announcement regarding their sexuality caught Meri off guard, she has been vocal as to how she herself is disappointed in that knee-jerk reaction. Meri can't take back how she digested her child's news, but she decided to move forward and be nothing but loving and supportive to the amazing couple. Meri and the pair often visit, and Meri showed support when Audrey came out as transgender themself in December 2021.

Meri Brown is a divorced woman

Out of the four wives who are or have been wed to Kody Brown, three of them have been legally divorced. Second wife Janelle Brown was first briefly married to Adam Clark Barber before divorcing him and joining the Brown family. For nine years, Robyn was hitched to her three oldest children's father, David Jessop. Meri Brown has also been divorced ... technically.

While Janelle and Robyn were married to other men before marrying Kody Brown, Meri has only ever been linked to Kody. She first married him in 1990, six months after they first laid eyes on each other. From their "I do's," Meri remained Kody's legal wife (with the other three women joining him in a spiritual union) until 2014. Kody and Meri legally divorced that year so that he could marry his fourth wife, Robyn. The swap had to occur so that Kody could legally adopt Robyn's three older children, solidifying their standing in the Brown clan should anything ever happen to their mom. 

She views all the kids as hers

Meri Brown might only have one biological child with her husband Kody but considers herself blessed to have so many Brown kids in her life. She once posted a picture of herself and Ariella (Robyn and Kody's youngest child) to Instagram, singing the little one's praises. When someone inquired about Ariella being a stepchild, Meri corrected the fan, saying she didn't have any stepkids. The comment made what many already knew crystal clear. In Meri's eyes, all of the family's children are equally precious to her.

Viewers of the show could see just how much love Meri has for her sister wives' kids when she and Robyn's children finally got to spend some long-overdue holiday time together in 2022. Once reunited, it was plain as day that Meri missed the children so much during their separation, and the kids clearly felt the same way about Meri. 

Meri Brown's travels

The Brown family has certainly moved around quite a bit, with each wife feeling a different connection to a certain space. In 2018, it was announced the Browns would say farewell to Las Vegas and head to Flagstaff, Arizona, to start anew. Some wives, like second wife Janelle Brown, love living in Flagstaff! On the other side of the spectrum, former third wife Christine pleaded for a leave before calling her marriage quits. (She now calls Utah home.)

Meri Brown has found a balance between her new home in Flagstaff and old-ish stomping grounds. When she is not in Arizona, she is likely at her bed and breakfast establishment. Parowan, Utah, where Lizzie's Heritage Inn is located, is of sentimental significance to Meri, as it has been in her family for generations.

Meri, like Janelle and Christine, has also been traveling. Christine and Janelle Brown took their kids to the "happiest place on earth" in March 2022. Janelle and her sister set sail for adventures across the big pond in bright and beautiful Portugal in May of that year, and Meri found her inner peace in Oregon. Meri took to Instagram to express her joy while taking in the breathtaking beauty of the west coast. "Days by the beach, nights by the fire, all of it surrounded by people I love!" Meri continued, "The time I spent on the Oregon coast last weekend was fulfilling, relaxing, invigorating, rejuvenating, all the things my body and soul needed."