‘Sister Wives’: Janelle Brown Admits Meri and Kody Brown Have ‘Deep’ Issues in Their Marriage

The problems between Kody Brown and his first wife, Meri Brown, have been more evident than ever this season on TLC’s Sister Wives. Kody’s second wife, Janelle Brown, recently spoke to Us Weekly about how Meri and Kody’s marital problems were affecting the rest of the family as well.

Janelle Brown, Meri Brown, Kody Brown and Christine Brown from "Sister Wives" attend a pre-show reception for the grand opening of "Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas" at the New Tropicana Las Vegas April 13, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Janelle, Meri, Kody, and Christine Brown | Ethan Miller/Getty Images for AEG Live

Janelle Brown said she didn’t like to talk about her sister wives with Kody Brown

In her recent interview, Janelle said that she wasn’t always aware of everything that was going on between Kody and her sister wives – and that was by design.

“Kody does a very good job of keeping things very separate,” Janelle explained. “He doesn’t talk about the other wives with me. And if he did, I wouldn’t want to, because I think that’s dangerous for my relationship. I need to have a separate relationship.”

Still, Kody’s second wife said she wasn’t above an occasional gripe about Kody with his third wife, Christine Brown. But the Sister Wives star said she didn’t like to get into too much detail about anyone’s relationship problems with him, or her own; that could just get too messy, too quickly.

“Sometimes I’ll call and say, ‘I don’t like your husband today,’ or something, to Christine,” Janelle laughed. “But it’s not a dish session, because you can circle the drain. That can get really toxic. I try not to feed that, because it’s not a healthy headspace.”

RELATED: ‘Sister Wives’: Kody Brown Admits He’s Emotionally Exhausted, Burnt Out, and ‘Stalling’ in His Marriages – ‘One of the Worst Fights I’ve Ever Had With a Woman’

Meri and Kody’s problems sometimes ‘spill over into the family’

As for Kody and Meri’s relationship, Janelle confirmed that they were still on the outs, as far as she could tell.

“They have struggled for a long time, and it really kind of hurts when I see them being not good,” the Sister Wives star said sadly. “It sort of spills over into the family. It doesn’t feel like everything is completely calm, completely whole.”

Janelle continued, “I’m always trying to advocate and go to bat for both of them. It’s just a hard thing for the whole family.”

The mom of six explained that Kody’s problems with one wife often affected his other marriages, too. Even if she didn’t always know the details of what was going on, she could often feel the “heaviness” in the room when one of his relationships wasn’t going well.

“I can always feel that angst,” Janelle shared. “So Kody is always carrying this little bit of a heavy burden…I can always kind of feel that that’s on his shoulders.”

The ‘Sister Wives’ star said she hoped Kody and Meri could work things out

When asked whether she hoped that Meri and Kody would ultimately work out the kinks in their marriage and come together once again, Janelle’s answer was a resounding “yes.”

“Yes!” the Sister Wives star exclaimed without hesitation. “We have been together for so many years, and I just cannot imagine after three decades – I don’t want to change any piece of our lives, of our family. What do you do after 30 years? That’s, like, my whole life. That’s longer than when I was single.”

Janelle added, however, that she really didn’t know the true relationship status between Meri and Kody. Still, she was happy with where she and Meri were in their own relationship, as they’d had problems in the past.

“I don’t know how she and Kody really are, because I don’t talk to them about that,” the 51-year-old said. “But Meri and I have really great conversations. We’ve done a lot of work on our relationship.”

Janelle also revealed that she sometimes felt uncomfortable and awkward when Kody and Meri’s marital problems played out on Sister Wives.

“I will admit that sometimes when those scenes come on…I make it a time to go get my bathroom break or go get a snack when that’s airing,” she said. “I usually can handle most of it, but that one’s been really rough for me. I sort of zone out when they’re talking, because I feel like I’m being a bit intrusive or something.”

Ultimately, she hoped Kody and Meri could work it out for the good of their marriage – and the rest of the Brown family as well.