Sister Wives: Who is Kody’s legal wife?

Kody Brown of Sister Wives
Kody Brown of Sister Wives. Pic credit: TLC

With four wives, Kody Brown gets asked a lot of questions surrounding his marriages. One of the most frequently asked fan questions is who is Kody’s legal wife?

Technically, Kody has had two legal wives, but as there can only be one legal wife at a time, the simple answer is currently Robyn Brown.

Kody married his first wife, Meri, legally in 1990. As neither of them had been married before, it made sense that Meri would hold the title of his legal wife first. This is common practice in plural marriage.

Janelle, who joined the family three years after Meri and Kody wed, has only ever been spiritually married to Kody. Third wife, Christine, became Kody’s second spiritual wife a year after Janelle joined the family.

Of Kody’s four wives, only one has never been legally married: Christine.

Kody’s fourth wife, Robyn, was spiritually married to Kody in 2010; a whopping 16 years after he had last taken a wife.

And that’s where things get interesting.

When Robyn entered the family, she brought three children, Breanna, Aurora, and Dayton, from a previous marriage to David Jessop, a cousin to both Kody and Christine. In order to legally adopt Robyn’s kids, Kody would have to be legally married to Robyn. But he was already legally married to Meri at the time.

In 2014, Meri offered to legally divorce Kody in order for him to legally marry Robyn, allowing him the opportunity to legally adopt her three children. Adopting Robyn’s kids would afford them the same insurance and other benefits that the rest of the Brown kids received.

Kody considers all four of his wives ‘spiritual wives’

Meri and Kody aren’t the only ones in the polygamist quintet who have divorced. Janelle was previously married to Meri’s brother, Adam Barber.

Kody Brown and his four wives: Meri, Robyn, Janelle, and Christine
Kody Brown and his four wives: Meri, Robyn, Janelle, and Christine. Pic credit: TLC

She divorced him after about two years of marriage. Shortly after, she met Kody. She had remained friends of Meri’s family, despite the divorce from Adam.

When Janelle first met Kody, she described it as having “forgotten something and suddenly” remembering it.

It’s a bit confusing trying to keep up with the family’s lineage

It’s not uncommon for plural families to have complicated and intertwined family trees, given that they account for such a small percentage of the population. And with more and more Brown children getting married and having kids of their own, the family tree only continues to grow.

Sister Wives airs on Sundays at 10/9c on TLC.

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