Big Love brought polygamy into the public conversation. Now TLC’s new Sister Wives gives its practitioners a platform to have their say.
The docu-series revolves around a fundamentalist Mormon, Kody Brown, whose family in Utah includes three — soon to be four — wives and 13 children. It airs Sunday nights.
“I felt like the secretiveness of the (polygamist) society has been a little bit dangerous for the society, as well as the public,” Brown says of the practice. “This is part of our reason for essentially ‘coming out’ — it’s a story that needs to be told.”
The Browns’ story is as much about the logistics of running such a large household, as satiating the audience’s curiosity about their lifestyle.
“Like every other American family, it just takes everything that we’ve got (to make it work),” says Christine, Kody’s third wife.
The family’s co-workers and kids’ friends are aware of the Browns’ practices (there is, technically, only one legal marriage).
The clan lives in one home divided into three apartments, with Robyn, the impending fourth wife, currently living in a separate house (she also has three children with a former husband).
“We are strong personalities, believe me,” says second wife, Janelle of her sister wives.
“We are raising these children who have all of this exposure to these strong, awesome women, and I think you will see that they have turned out beautifully.”
And if you’re wondering about any jealously amongst the women and their man, like in Big Love, there is a system for Kody to spend time with each wife.
“We just have a schedule. I’m actually still trying to figure it out,” he jokes.