Is Meri Brown Breaking Free of the ‘Sister Wives’ Mold?

Polygamist Meri Brown of TLC’s Sister Wives has been open for the past several years about her rocky relationship with husband Kody Brown and sister wives Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown.

Now, Sister Wives fans are cheering on Kody’s first wife as she appears to embrace a newfound sense of independence.

Janelle Brown, Meri Brown, Kody Brown, and Christine Brown
Janelle Brown, Meri Brown, Kody Brown and Christine Brown | Ethan Miller/Getty Images for AEG Live

Meri’s empty-nester status and catfish scandal set her apart

Meri and Kody Brown documented their struggle with secondary infertility on TLC’s Sister Wives. The couple has only one child, 24-year-old Mariah Brown. Meri’s three sister wives all have several children with Kody.

Since the show’s first season, Meri has expressed that, although she’s close with her sister wives’ kids, she has always felt “left out” to a degree because of her fertility struggles. When Mariah headed off to college several years ago, Meri struggled to find her place in the family.

Fourth wife Robyn Brown came into the family in 2009, bringing three children from her previous marriage with her. Kody legally divorced Meri in order to adopt Robyn’s children as his own. Still, the couple is considered “eternally married” according to their fundamentalist Mormon doctrine.

Complicating matters even further, Meri dealt publicly with a catfish scandal back in 2015. Alleged internet catfish Jackie Overton, going by the name of Samuel Cooper, developed a flirtatious relationship with Meri under the male guise.

Although Kody has been reticent to discuss the issue in detail on camera, the couple’s relationship has suffered ever since.

Meri is deeply involved with LuLaRoe

In the past several years, Meri has become a well-known salesperson and “hype girl” for the multilevel marketing company and clothing retailer, LuLaRoe. Her Instagram handle is even “@lularoemeribrown.”

Some fans have called out Meri for supporting a company that some see as exploitative. However, the Sister Wives star is a passionate defender of the business. It also seems that the company has given Meri a certain degree of financial independence.

She frequently posts photos with friends she meets during her time at LuLaRoe and even travels for company meetups and sales events. Most recently, Meri set off on a cruise to Mexico.

Kody’s first wife is also the proud owner of a successful inn

Meri and the rest of the Sister Wives parents argued over Meri’s longing to purchase a property in Parowan, Utah, that was built by her great-great-grandparents. The other Browns refused to invest in the historic home, so Meri made the purchase on her own.

It seems like the first Sister Wives matriarch made the right decision, though. Meri turned the property into Lizzie’s Heritage Inn, which was recently voted Best Country Inn in Utah for the second year in a row.

Meri openly supports her out-and-proud daughter

Kody’s and Meri’s daughter Mariah came out as gay on a recent season of Sister Wives. The 24-year-old, now a graduate student at Loyola University in Chicago, is engaged to her longtime girlfriend, Audrey Kriss.

To her credit, Meri has been supportive of Mariah since she came out, attending the Women’s March and Pride events with her and even visiting a gay bar on Sister Wives. She recently penned a sweet tribute to her daughter, saying her sexuality was “never an issue.”

Although the other Browns are supportive of gay rights, Meri has been by far the most vocal of the five Brown parents in that regard.

She also lives separately from her family in a rental home

The Sister Wives parents recently moved from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Flagstaff, Arizona. Although the family purchased a massive property that may be used for a sprawling joint home for all four wives, they are currently still living separately.

Christine and Robyn have both purchased homes in Flagstaff with Kody. Meanwhile, Janelle and Meri are both still renting houses, sparking rumors that Kody and his first wife are still on the outs.