The stars of Sister Wives are part of a tangled family tree that is a bit confusing to understand.
This isn’t uncommon in polygamous families, given the small population of people who practice plural marriage.
In Janelle Brown’s case, she was a monogamist before entering into Kody Brown’s marriage with Meri Brown, officially making them polygamists.
Janelle wasn’t raised in the faith like Meri was, but she felt compelled to practice the religion and plural marriage as an adult, as did Kody.
What some Sister Wives viewers may not know is that Janelle and Meri were related by marriage before they became sister wives.
That’s because before spiritually tying the knot with Kody, Janelle was married to Meri’s brother, Adam Barber, making Meri and Janelle sisters-in-law before they shared a husband.
Janelle Brown fails to mention that she was once married to Meri Brown’s brother
In a recent preview of an upcoming episode of Sister Wives, Janelle talked about knowing Meri before marrying Kody.
Janelle never mentioned that she was married to Meri’s brother, only that she was friends with Meri’s family before falling in love with and marrying Kody.
This hasn’t sat well with many Sister Wives viewers, who sounded off recently in a Reddit thread asking: “Why does Janelle ignore she was married to Meri’s brother?”
Along with a clip of the preview of Janelle mentioning Meri’s family, the Redditor wrote, “In this new snippet, she just says she was friends with Meri’s family.”
“Are they trying to erase the idea she was married to her brother first?🤣” they added.
Sister Wives viewers try to understand why Janelle keeps her marriage to Adam Barber hush-hush
Other Redditors chimed in, offering their opinions about why Janelle fails to mention that Meri’s brother was her first husband.
One Sister Wives viewer surmised that Meri doesn’t like Janelle for that reason, so Janelle doesn’t talk about it.
Another Redditor felt that it’s brushed under the rug because it “doesn’t fit into the picture of polygamy they are trying to portray. They are trying to show that they all chose polygamy out of their own free will.”
One Sister Wives fan called the scenario “creepy” and felt as though it would add to the “already incestuous image people have of polygamy.”
“Probably because it actually would be a valid reason why [Meri and Janelle] have not got along from the get go,” commented another Redditor.
The Brown family tree is complicated
Interestingly, Janelle isn’t the only one in the Brown family to have ties — either by blood relation or marriage — to other family members.
Janelle’s late mother, Sheryl Brown, became Kody’s father, William Brown’s second wife, essentially becoming Janelle’s biological mother and mother-in-law.
Kody and Janelle’s eldest daughter, Madison “Maddie” Brown-Brush, is married to Caleb Brush, whose sister was married to Kody’s late brother, Curtis.
Kody and his ex-wife, Christine Brown, shared the same great-great-great-grandparents, technically making them fourth cousins.
Also, Robyn Brown’s ex-husband, David Jessop, is related to Meri through marriage and happens to be Christine’s first cousin and Kody’s third cousin.
It certainly is confusing trying to keep up with the Browns’ intertwined family tree, especially as their family continues to grow, adding more grandchildren to the super-sized family.
Sister Wives airs on Sundays at 10/9c on TLC.