Sister Wives fans all have their favorites. Kody Brown has four wives who are part of the long-running series that has seen them uprooted from Utah, moving to Las Vegas, and now happily settled in scenic Flagstaff, Arizona.
And only one is legally a wife, Robyn. But Meri Brown was the very first wife and had the very first child with Kody Brown.
Kody’s first “OG” sister wife Meri is the mother of Mariah Brown, the daughter that is happily engaged to be wed to Audrey, adding a fun LGBTQ element to an otherwise fundamentalist Mormon construct that is their lives.
Meri and Kody’s estrangement has played out over the ten years that the show has aired on TLC. The two were legally married until he divorced her to marry Robyn so he could legally adopt her children.
The last few years being the hardest
Their marriage began in 1990 when Meri was just 19 years old.
Meri was Kody’s only wife for three years until he entered a spiritual marriage to Janelle in 1993, with Christine and Robyn following. Fans know that Meri was Kody’s only legal spouse in the beginning.
After having their daughter Mariah in 1995, the couple had conception troubles, and Meri revealed on the show that she had a miscarriage in 2008.
It was a catfishing scandal that rocked the reality TV world and exposed just how unhappy Meri was in this convoluted relationship where four women and one man call each other husband and wife and raised 18 kids and a few grandkids.
But fans new to the series want to know, what happened that made Meri go off the reservation so dramatically and publicly?
The likeliest culprit was loneliness.
That time that Meri Brown got catfished: All about Sister Wives’ biggest scandal
It was in 2015 that Meri got catfished online and exposed.
According to InTouch Weekly, after legally divorcing Kody, Meri had an unfortunate lack of judgment as she began an online romance with who she thought was a man named Sam Cooper.
Cooper was a woman named Jackie Overton.
After revealing herself, Jackie penned a tell-all under the name Sam Cooper, called Almost Meri’ed, detailing their six-month online dalliance.
There were texts and voicemails that Meri allegedly left her.
The catfishing scandal was creating a visible strain on Kody and Meri’s relationship.
“This catfish was planting things in my head and telling me how horrible my family was and specifically how horrible Kody was,” she said during a 2016 episode.
To their credit, the family rallied behind Meri and threw their support to her. They never publicly denounced her for this incident.
Meri has since drifted away further from Kody. She appears aloof and distant in many episodes since of Sister Wives.
But in recent years. Meri seems to have found her second act.
She opened bed and breakfast Lizzie’s Heritage Inn in Utah in late 2017, and viewers can see despite the cooling-off between Meri and Kody, they seem to make it work for the cameras anyway.
Her relationship with the other wives seems normalized now as well.
Sister Wives airs Sundays at 10/9c on TLC.