‘Sister Wives’: Robyn Brown Defends Filming Her Daughter’s Panic Attacks In Response to Fan Criticism

Kody Brown and his fourth wife, Robyn Brown, have always seemed to get along. But on the Mar. 8 episode of TLC’s Sister Wives, “A Breaking Point,” fans saw Kody and Robyn have their biggest onscreen fight ever.

When Robyn’s rental home in Flagstaff, the Brown family’s new hometown after moving from Las Vegas, was sold by the owner, the mom of five hoped to find another rental. But Kody insisted they buy a home instead, thus potentially delaying the family’s move out to Coyote Pass, the family’s sprawling Arizona property.

Robyn and Kody fought over renting or buying in front of their five children (three adopted by Kody from Robyn’s first marriage, and two biological) on the latest episode.

Aurora Brown, Robyn and Kody’s 17-year-old daughter, became so stressed during the argument that she had a panic attack. After Sister Wives fans criticized the family for allowing Aurora’s panic attack to be filmed, Robyn took to Twitter to defend their decision.

Robyn, Aurora, Janelle, Meri, Mariah, Gwendlyn, Aspyn, Christine, and Mykelti Brown
Robyn, Aurora, Janelle, Meri, Mariah, Gwendlyn, Aspyn, Christine, and Mykelti Brown | Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic

Aurora described her panic attacks after watching her parents argue

As Kody and Robyn began to bicker in front of their kids, Aurora started to twitch—an obvious “tell” for the start of one of her panic attacks, which she described as happening “four to five times a week” in recent months.

“Aurora’s panic attacks are sometimes triggered by stress,” Robyn explained. “If she has a high stress situation, she will have a panic attack,” Kody agreed.

And, according to Kody, Aurora’s anxiety was particularly linked to his relationship with Robyn. Because he and Robyn were Aurora’s “safe place,” the Sister Wives star said, “It stresses Aurora out when Mom and I are not totally in love and harmonious.” He explained that, during her panic attacks, Aurora felt unable to walk or even speak.

The teen’s voice began to quiver as she asked her parents to calm down. “Can you stop the word battle, or power?” she asked nervously.

Kody finally carried Aurora out of the living room and up to her bedroom as she struggled to regain control of her breathing. “We just need to get her out of this room, we just need to get her up to her bedroom,” Robyn declared.

Aurora herself opened up about how it felt to have panic attacks, and even the guilt she sometimes felt about them. “I still struggle to convince myself that I’m not the one causing it,” the Sister Wives star admitted. “Like I’m not the one instigating it. And knowing that it’s not my fault is not a bad thing, it’s just hard.”

As for what it felt like to have panic attacks, Aurora explained that it was pure overwhelm. “My mind starts going a million miles an hour and nowhere at all,” she told Sister Wives producers.

Some ‘Sister Wives’ fans thought the discussion should have been kept private

While some Sister Wives fans expressed empathy for Aurora’s panic attacks and shared stories about their own mental health symptoms, others thought the Brown family shouldn’t have allowed their minor daughter’s panic attack to be filmed.

“I bet you people are really proud of yourselves,” one critic wrote on Twitter after the episode. “Exploiting a kid having a panic attack to keep the money rolling is just gross. Is there anything you won’t do to keep Kody flush with cash?”

Another Sister Wives viewer agreed that it was an inappropriate moment to film, writing, “So let’s have our daughter’s panic attack be televised…that’ll help things along.”

Yet another fan wrote on Twitter, “Can’t believe you would allow your child to be filmed during her panic attack.”

Meanwhile, other Sister Wives fans thought Aurora’s panic attack was clearly triggered by Robyn and Kody’s argument. Several wondered why her parents would choose to fight in front of her in the first place, given that they knew about her mental health symptoms.

“Maybe try to keep some of the stress off your daughter by NOT involving the kids in adult discussions?” one viewer wrote. “Did you cause last night’s attack? Well, you certainly contributed to it, based on what we saw.”

Another fan argued that Kody and Robyn weren’t helping Aurora with her mental health symptoms by involving her in adult issues like real estate and the buying vs. renting debate. “No wonder I connect with the girl I now know is Aurora- I can feel her panic,” the Twitter user wrote. “Sorry Kody is an a** and is contributing to your panic attacks by not handling adult problems as an adult – with adults – away from children.”

Robyn took to Twitter to defend her choice to allow Aurora to film

But Robyn took to Twitter during the Sister Wives episode to explain and defend the Browns’ choice to allow Aurora’s panic attacks to be televised.

“Aurora started having real panic attacks when things got super stressful when were told we had to move,” Robyn began. “It was hard for her to think about moving again and she had a lot going on since it was her junior year. It was super hard to see her struggle.”

The 41-year-old continued by describing the mental health treatment and support her teen daughter was receiving to help with her panic attacks. “She has seen doctors to help her and we did a lot to support her through everything she was going through,” Robyn wrote. “She is so accomplished and still is doing very well in school. She is my ove achiever and expects a lot of herself. It was a very stressful hard time for her.”

Most importantly, the Sister Wives star explained, Aurora gave full consent to discuss her mental health on camera. Robyn emphasized that it was fully Aurora’s choice to do so, and that none of the adults in her life would have pushed her to talk about it.

“Aurora was given the choice whether to let her panic attack be included on the show,” Robyn wrote. “She just wanted to be able to talk about what it is like to have a panic attack too. She wants to bring awareness so people are more sensitive and supportive to those who have them.”