‘Sister Wives’: Janelle Brown Asks Her Sister Wives a Hard-Hitting Question About Polygamy – and Kody Drops a Bombshell

Polygamist Kody Brown and his four wives – Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown – will return to TLC this Valentine’s Day for the premiere of Sister Wives season 15 starting at 10 p.m. EST. In a new sneak peek from the upcoming season, the five spouses of the fractured Brown family get into an intense discussion about what polygamy means to each of them.

Robyn, Janelle, Meri, and Christine Brown from 'Sister Wives' lined up on the red carpet at 'Mamma Mia!' in Las Vegas
Robyn, Janelle, Meri, and Christine Brown | Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic

Janelle Brown asks her sister wives why they became polygamists

In TLC’s latest sneak peek of the new season of Sister Wives, Kody’s second wife, Janelle, challenges her husband and sister wives with a question about why they entered polygamy. In their religion – a sect of fundamentalist Mormonism known as the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) – they refer to polygamy as “plural marriage” or simply “the principle.”

“So, I’ve been thinking, ‘How do I start this?’” Janelle begins, clearly launching into a touchy subject. “Because I need to communicate where I’m coming from. Why did you enter into plural marriage?”

Janelle’s sister wives are immediately curious about why she’s asking them such a potentially sensitive question.

“I wonder where she’s going with this,” Kody’s first wife, Meri, muses. Kody’s third wife, Christine, says she, too, is “surprised” by Janelle’s unexpected line of questioning.

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Meri and Christine Brown say they grew up in polygamous families

As for Janelle, who didn’t grow up in the fundamentalist Mormon faith, she says she was attracted to the idea of a large family and the “group synergy” that could be achieved in plural marriage. She also says she wanted to improve and grow as a person.

“The whole purpose, we truly believe, of living plural marriage,” Janelle explains in the Sister Wives sneak peek, “is that you have to learn how not to be selfish.”

Meri says that polygamy was all she ever knew. Her father took his first plural wife when she was 11 years old.

“I guess, for me, it was just being raised in it,” the Sister Wives star says. “I had a lot of years with other moms and other siblings that weren’t just from my mom. So it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me.”

Meanwhile, Christine hoped for the “sisterhood” that polygamy could bring into her life. Her grandmothers – who were sister wives – were so close that they continued to live together after their husband, Christine’s grandfather, died.

“To me, that’s what family was, was a lot of grandmas,” Christine says. “And then I had two moms. That’s what a normal family was to me.”

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Kody Brown reveals that he no longer wants to advocate for plural marriage

Kody’s fourth wife, Robyn, was also drawn to the idea of a big family. She met Kody when she was a divorced single mother with three children, and she wanted to fit into a cohesive community.

“The big family thing was always really cool to me,” Robyn shares. “I loved, when I first met you guys, how you guys functioned.”

“We seemed so functional,” Kody jokes, hinting at problems lurking underneath the surface.

“Boy, we pulled the wool over your eyes,” Meri jokes in turn.

Finally, Kody speaks up to give his own thoughts on the matter – and his answer is surprising.

“I’ve thought about this a lot lately, because I’ve told friends that I didn’t want to be an advocate of plural marriage anymore,” the Sister Wives star says, “because I am more aware now than I ever was before of the apparent and obvious unfairness in the relationship.”

This is a shocking turn of events from the Brown family patriarch, given that he has been such a fierce advocate of polygamy over the years.