In the latest episode of Sister Wives, viewers who were paying attention might have caught a glimpse of one of the photos that came across the screen.
There is a photo from Meri and Kody Brown’s wedding day. In the photo, several friends and family members can be seen. Looking closely, at the far right, second wife Janelle can be seen standing next to Kody.
So why was Janelle in Kody and Meri’s wedding pictures? She mentioned this in the family’s book, Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage.
Janelle wrote about the wedding picture in the family’s book
Janelle wrote in the second chapter of the book, “If you look at their wedding pictures, you will see me and my ex-husband in several of the photos.” Janelle was married before marrying Kody. And her ex-husband? Meri’s brother, Adam Barber.
In the picture, you can vaguely see arms around Janelle’s waist, presumably those of her ex, Adam. Janelle had befriended Meri’s family long before she entered Meri and Kody’s marriage so she was a regular figure in their lives and their paths crossed quite a bit.
It wouldn’t be until later that Kody and Janelle would meet and sparks would fly. This interesting fact is just one in the tangled web that is the Brown family tree.
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Janelle’s mom, Sheryl, was married to Kody’s father, technically making Kody and Janelle step-siblings. Janelle also shares the same as Kody’s mom, Genielle, although spelled differently.
In another bizarre twist, Robyn’s ex-husband, David Jessop, is cousins with both Kody and Christine. And one family tree has Kody and Christine sharing distant grandparents, making them fourth cousins.
Tangled family trees are common in polygamist communities
Given that polygamist communities don’t account for a large percentage of the population, it makes sense that there are limited options as far as potential mates are concerned.
During the scene on the confessional couch with Meri and Kody, they discuss the norms of polygamist weddings. Typically, as they explained, polygamists don’t have big wedding celebrations.
Part of that reason is that once multiple wives start to enter the picture, those outside of the culture may take notice, which could equal legal trouble. In an attempt to keep themselves safe from the law and social persecution, polygamists usually have small celebrations.
Plural wives typically get lowkey wedding ceremonies
As Meri explained, in their particular church, first wives generally got a big wedding because they could, meaning that she didn’t have to “stay hidden.”
Kody describes his subsequent marriages as “real downplayed with Janelle and reasonably small with Christine.” Becoming “frustrated” with how that played out, Kody made a commitment to himself that if he ever married again, he would have a big celebration and not hide from anyone.
Meri agreed that she “thinks that’s fair. It makes sense.” And viewers got to see Kody hold true to his word when he married fourth wife, Robyn where the family held an elaborate reception that included their entire family and tons of guests.
Sister Wives airs on Sundays at 10/9c on TLC.