Viewers of TLC’s Sister Wives have carefully watched the dismantling of the Brown family throughout the series’ 18 seasons. While the clan presented a united front for the cameras, other heated issues were bubbling beneath the polygamist family’s happy facade. The most glaring was Kody Brown’s legal and now only wife, Robyn Brown, who insisted she wanted to live polygamy upon entering the Brown family as its fourth wife in 2010.
However, she appeared to fight the lifestyle more times than embracing it. Here are three ironic ways how.
Robyn Brown never coordinated childcare with her fellow sister wives
When Kody Brown and his wives Meri, Janelle, and Christine lived together in one home in Lehi, Utah, they appeared to be one family. The show depicted the clan as working together to raise their shared children.
Christine was the stay-at-home mother who tended to childcare while Meri, Janelle, and Kody worked. Kody appeared to split his time between all three wives, rotating nights so there was no favoritism.
However, when Robyn entered the picture, Kody’s schedule significantly shifted. She lived three hours away, taking him away from his family while he courted her.
After their marriage, Robyn moved closer to the Browns. But cracks soon began to show in her relationship with her sister wives during season 8, when Christine confronted Robyn about not allowing her to watch her kids, employing her niece Mindy instead.
A Reddit post featured a clip where Christine told Robyn, “Don’t you want a relationship with me? Don’t you want a relationship with your sister wife? It broke my heart that you’re never going to need me.”
She achieved head wife status rather quickly
Typically, in polygamist culture, there is one head wife. That was Meri Brown’s role as Kody’s first and only legal wife for over 20 years in the Brown family.
Meri had a leadership role in the family. However, her status changed in 2014 when Kody divorced her to marry Robyn so he could legally adopt her children four years after their spiritual union.
Therefore, Meri’s status immediately changed. But Kody and Robyn insisted that there were no favorite wives and that their family dynamic was equal, with each wife having the same relationship with Kody.
However, it was apparent throughout the series that Kody did play favorites when it came to Robyn. She said, “Kody is not somebody to be run by one of his wives,” a statement which has since come to be disputed on-camera by Christine, Janelle, and Meri.
But during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Kody (and some fans allege Robyn) made a series of unrealistic rules that all family members were to abide by. Kody’s wives believed Robyn held more power than they did.
These beliefs lead Kody to respond, “It’s pissing me off. They’re looking to Robyn, like, for some approval. I don’t have a head wife in this family.”
Robyn Brown didn’t have close relationships with 2 of her three sister wives
While Kody Brown’s wives all had distinctly different personalities, they tried to get along for the good of their family. However, from the start, Robyn Brown was kept separate from her sister wives and never forged close relationships with Janelle or Christine. Meri, on the other hand, was closest to.
Whether or not this was by design on Kody’s or Robyn’s part, she and the other women never truly bonded. Janelle and Robyn struggled within their relationship, not connecting as friends.
“I had a conversation with Janelle recently where I said, ‘Hey, let’s figure this out. I want a good sister-wife relationship. I know they exist,’” Robyn said in an earlier season. She recalled: “And she kind of said, ‘Well, you know, I’ll have to think about that.’”
Christine has documented her dissatisfaction with her relationship with Robyn during Sister Wives confessionals. She discussed trying to forge a closer bond with Robyn, only to be rebuffed.
Her religious faith led her to continue trying to rebuild their relationship, but her jealousy of Robyn and Kody’s closeness clouded her vision for a future friendship. She often said it was “clear” that “Kody had favorites.”
Robyn Brown is currently Kody Brown’s only life. Christine, Janelle, and Meri Brown have all left polygamy and their status as Kody’s spiritual wives behind.
Sister Wives airs Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on TLC.