Who are The Dargers? Meet the polygamist family with one husband, three wives, and 25 children

Joe Darger and his three wives, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie
Joe Darger and his three wives, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie. Pic credit: TLC

The Dargers are an orthodox Mormon family who lives in Utah. At the helm of the family is husband, Joe Darger, and his three wives, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie.

Joe, Alina, Vicki, and Val share 25 children and 17 grandchildren

Between the four spouses, they share 25 children, including five children from Valerie’s previous (plural) marriage, and 17 grandchildren. Of the 25 children, one of Joe and Alina’s children, daughter Kyra, passed away from a heart defect at just five months of age.

Joe married his first two wives, cousins, Alina and Vicki, on the same day during a joint ceremony in 1990. Alina is his only legal wife. He later wed his third wife, Valerie, ten years later. Valerie is Vicki’s identical twin sister. Are you keeping up with the family dynamic?

The Dargers have appeared on TLC’s series Sister Wives, a documentary entitled My Three Wives, and their lives inspired the characters and events in the HBO series, Big Love. The family also published a book about their lives. The Dargers went public with their family’s lifestyle choice to bring awareness to the culture in hopes of decriminalizing it.

The Dargers, aside from their unique marriage, are much like any other typical American family. They wear contemporary clothing, attend public school, play and coach sports, and attend concerts and sporting events. The family frequently posts on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

As told in an interview by NPR, “They’re not members of any organized polygamous faith, like Warren Jeffs’ FLDS church, and they are not welcome in the Mormon church, which officially renounced polygamy in 1890 and does not tolerate it now.”

Modern-day Mormons denounce polygamy and members are excommunicated for it.

Joe is an entrepreneur who runs a construction company and real estate development company. Vicki has a podcast called Moms I Love and works part-time from home as a bookkeeper while she tends to the little kids at home. Valerie and Alina work for a family-owned residential and commercial cleaning service and also do seasonal decorating. 

The spouses share a home, but not bedrooms

Unlike their fellow polygamist friends, The Browns of Sister Wives fame, The Dargers share one home, with only one kitchen. Joe’s three wives share the responsibilities of cooking and other household chores.

Each wife has her own bedroom and Joe rotates between the three on a nightly basis. They have clearly stated, similarly to their “plyg” friends, The Browns, that their intimate relationships are separate and it’s an unwritten rule to not speak about them with each other.

Plural marriage has always been a part of the Dargers lives. Joe is one of 17 children and his father had four wives. Vicki and Val have 38 other siblings and three moms. Alina has 31 siblings and two moms.

The foursome has written a book about their lives, entitled Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage. You can read an excerpt of their book here.

In a recent interview by The New Yorker, the Dargers detail how they met, how their marriages work like other “typical” marriages, and discuss how they changed the law against polygamy.

In 2017, the polygamist quartet fought to decriminalize polygamy in the state of Utah and won in February 2020.

Once a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison in Utah, polygamy now carries a reduced offense. Essentially, it didn’t legalize polygamy, but now they liken it to getting a traffic ticket.

You can catch the Dargers on this week’s episode of Sister Wives at 10/9c on TLC.

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