‘Sister Wives’: Meri Brown Explains Why She Felt Like ‘The Worst Mom’ When Her Daughter Came Out As Gay

Mariah Brown, the 24-year-old daughter of Meri and Kody Brown on TLC’s Sister Wives, came out to her polygamist family in 2017. While her family supported her, Mariah’s biological mom took the news a little harder than her sister wives (Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown).

On the Mar. 15 episode of Sister Wives, “Growing Up Gay and Religious,” Meri opened up about her regrets when it came to her reaction to Mariah’s announcement about her sexual orientation.

Meri, Janelle, Kody, Christine, and Robyn Brown
Meri, Janelle, Kody, Christine, and Robyn Brown | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Meri lamented her lackluster reaction to her daughter’s coming-out announcement

Meri told Sister Wives producers she wished she had been more immediately welcoming when Mariah first came out. While her sister wives jumped and ran to hug Mariah, Meri held back, a little stunned and confused.

“I remember the day that Mariah told us that she was gay,” she said. “I’ll never forget my stupid reaction. I felt like the worst mom in that moment.”

This was one time when Meri was thankful to be in a polygamist family. “Still, I was really grateful that she had three moms who reacted better than I did,” she said.

Kody’s first wife struggled with the idea of Mariah’s life being different than she had expected

In particular, Meri said she struggled with the idea that her expectations for Mariah’s life, and the dreams she’d had for her only daughter, were now going to look different.

Meri told Mariah when she came out, “I’ve always imagined when I would help you plan your wedding.”

“Well, I can still get married,” an annoyed Mariah shot back.

“I know,” Meri pressed, “but it will be different than I expected. You can still get married, I don’t know how you’re gonna have kids.”

Now, Meri said, she wishes she had focused on expressing unconditional love for her daughter instead. “All these thoughts and ideas that I had in my head of what her life was going to be like was changing,” the Sister Wives star explained. “I didn’t react well to it.”

Mariah and Meri eventually reconciled and grew close again

While Meri and Mariah’s relationship was strained for a time after Mariah came out—in part because of Mariah’s announcement and Meri’s reaction, and in part because of Meri’s notorious catfishing scandal around the same time—they eventually reconciled.

“When Mariah came out, it was a bit of a shock to me,” Meri admitted of her only daughter. But she was grateful that she wasn’t close-minded and that, in the end, it hadn’t damaged her relationship with Mariah at all. Kody’s first wife also said she loved Mariah’s relationship with Audrey Kriss, her fiancée, and described her as “Mariah’s person.”

“I’m really glad that I had experiences in my life that I was open to that, because I see so many families reject their kids or other family members when they come out as gay,” the Sister Wives star said. “I can’t imagine rejecting my daughter and not knowing who she is, like, who she truly is, and knowing her and Audrey together.”