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Polygamist patriarch Kody Brown of TLC’s Sister Wives has always had a very different relationship with each of his four wives (Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown). While the Browns certainly function as a family unit, what with 18 children and two grandchildren, each of Kody’s marriages has its own unique challenges and triumphs.

In the Brown family’s 2012 memoir, Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage, Kody reflected on the beginning of each of his relationships with his wives.

While Kody grew to form a deep, loving bond with each of his spouses—and while, at one point or another, he realized that he had a “destiny” with all four of his wives—he only described himself as having fallen in “love at first sight” with his fourth wife, Robyn, whom he married in 2010.

Robyn, Meri, Kody, Christine, and Janelle Brown
Robyn, Meri, Kody, Christine, and Janelle Brown | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Kody had a crush on Meri right away

Kody and Meri met while Kody, who had been raised in the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormon church), was still investigating Meri’s faith—the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), a branch of fundamentalism Mormonism that believes in the practice of polygamy, or plural marriage. Meri was just 18 years old at the time.

When Meri and Kody met at church, they had an immediate attraction that eventually grew into a friendship, and, later, an infatuation.

Meri wrote in Becoming Sister Wives that she had never been courted by any other man before she met her future husband. Their first meeting was a “brief hello,” during which she believed the two “caught each other’s eyes.” It wasn’t until later that they began spending time together. Meri admired Kody’s enthusiasm for their shared faith, as well as his outgoing nature and “loud and enthusiastic presence.”

As for Kody, he immediately noticed Meri’s “remarkable purity.” While he had a “sneaking suspicion that [they] were soulmates,” he admitted that he “rejected that notion” in favor of getting to know her more deeply on a spiritual level.

Still, that didn’t mean it wasn’t difficult for Kody to remain patient. “Meri was so cute and sweet when I met her that I had a hard time suppressing my hopelessly romantic nature,” the Sister Wives star wrote. Eventually, Kody converted to Meri’s faith, and the two married in 1990.

His relationship with Janelle started more slowly

While Kody had a crush on Meri after just a few weeks of knowing her, his relationships with his second wife, Janelle, and his third wife, Christine, developed more gradually.

Kody met Janelle—who was also a convert to the AUB, having been raised in the mainstream LDS church—in rather unconventional circumstances. At the time, Janelle was married to Meri’s brother, Adam Barber. Janelle and Adam had a short-lived, tumultuous marriage, but Meri and Kody remained friends with her.

“We both knew that Janelle had endured a rough period during her short-lived marriage, and we wanted to make sure that she remained close with Meri’s family despite the divorce,” Kody wrote in Becoming Sister Wives. “We, as well as Meri’s parents, were looking out for Janelle purely because we cared about her. There was never any thought in my mind, or in Meri’s, of Janelle becoming a wife.”

Kody’s relationship with Janelle remained platonic for some time. In fact, even after they married in 1993, it took time for Janelle and Kody to warm to each other romantically. Janelle wrote in the Browns’ memoir that it took years for her “true love story” with Kody to begin.

Christine had an immediate attraction to her future husband

Meanwhile, Kody’s third wife, Christine, was immediately smitten with him, often flirting with him at church events. While Christine thought Kody was handsome the second she first saw him one morning at church, Kody didn’t notice his third wife quite as quickly.

When Kody did notice Christine at a church dance, though, she left quite an impression on him.

“There was one girl who caught my eye—Christine,” the Sister Wives star wrote of that fateful evening. “She was wearing a turquoise dress with a lace ruffle at the collar. She was bubbly and sweet and as cute as anyone I’d ever seen before. She was also overflowing with positivity…There was an undeniable spark between us. When I looked at her, I had a feeling—call it a sixth sense—that our destinies were interlaced.”

But, at that time, Kody and Meri were not looking to add to their family. They were still trying to establish a solid marriage themselves, and Kody felt it would be “unfair” to Meri to pursue a courtship so early on in their relationship.

Meri also displayed some jealousy when Christine flirted with Kody at church events, which led the Sister Wives star to wait before expressing his interest in Christine.

“I couldn’t deny that Christine would be part of my family someday, but we all needed to grow up first,” Kody wrote. In fact, Kody and Christine were friends for three years before they ultimately got married in 1994.

The ‘Sister Wives’ star admitted he fell in love with his fourth wife at ‘first sight’

Kody didn’t get married again until he met Robyn, his fourth and youngest wife, many years later. At the time, Robyn was reeling from a difficult divorce and struggling as a single mom of three children. But, during a visit to her cousin in Lehi, Utah, the Sister Wives star couldn’t help noticing Kody at church.

“All of a sudden, he looked up and our eyes met,” Robyn wrote wistfully of the moment she first saw Kody. “I’m not exaggerating when I say I felt as though I’d been shot through with a bolt of lightning. When this happened, I was stunned. I was embarrassed, too, and looked down at my feet.”

At a church dance a month later, Kody asked Robyn to dance with him—and Robyn described the moment as life-changing, leaving her feeling that they “were the only people in the world” for those few moments on the dance floor.


‘Sister Wives’: Kody Brown Broke Meri Brown’s Heart While They Were Dating

Meanwhile, Kody admitted that he was “nervous” when he first met Robyn, because he knew she was divorced. He was concerned that her divorce might bring baggage into the family. But his first wife, Meri, “sensed that there was something special about Robyn.” And Kody soon felt it, too.

“The minute Robyn and I hit the dance floor, I became transfixed by her spirit,” Kody wrote in Becoming Sister Wives. “I couldn’t deny the spark I felt—not the kind of spark you feel in your loins, but something deep and transcendent. I guess you could call it love at first sight.”

Sister Wives fans have long speculated that Robyn is Kody’s favorite wife. The very different ways in which he wrote about his first encounters with each wife might add fuel to that fire. Still, every love story is different, and Robyn and Kody have had their own share of marital struggles since they tied the knot in 2010.