On Sunday night’s episode of “Sister Wives,” the pair got candid about the experience that impacted the polygamist family. Brown, 52, said that after the incident his relationship with Meri, 50, fractured.
In 2015, Meri revealed that she’d been catfished after entering into an online relationship with someone she thought was a man, People magazine reported. However, the person turned out to be a female admirer. Brown and Meri entered therapy to cope with the emotional fallout, but the patriarch later said that he no longer desired to be intimate with her.
Brown and his four wives share a combined 18 children.
“About five years ago, Meri and I were in a bad place,” he explained, as quoted by the outlet. “She basically asked me to stop staying at her house and ultimately what happened is she went through an experience where she was catfished by a person pretending to be somebody else.”
Kody and Meri Brown. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
According to Brown, Meri’s online relationship “turned out to be extremely exploitative and abusive.”
“And from that experience, Meri and I sort of saw our marriage just dissolve,” he added.
Meri told cameras that at the time of the scandal, Brown was “more distant than I wanted him to be.”
“At night, I just wanted him to put his arm around me,” she said. “And I couldn’t sleep because of this outside situation. And I did not manage the situation well. I said to him, ‘Can you just not stay here for a while? Can we just take a break for a minute?’ He took it as, ‘Go away and don’t ever come back,’ because that’s what he’s done. And that’s not what I meant.”
Kody Brown with his four wives. (Getty)
“I was just like, ‘Can we just take a break so I can get through some stuff?’” she continued. “And for him to say, ‘That didn’t work out very well for you last time,’ I’m feeling like, ‘OK, you’re right, it didn’t work out at all.’ But that’s not what I was saying.’ We’ve never come back together from that.”
Brown agreed with his first wife’s observation.
“The catfish situation and basically the year before it, whatever happened, it just got flippin’ ugly,” he said. “And even a year into living in Flagstaff, [Arizona], I was still dealing with a lot of bitterness about our past. In the past few months, I’ve been able to really let that go for myself. And I feel more friendly with Meri than I have felt in six or more years.”
Brown clarified that while he and Meri are on friendlier terms, he still doesn’t desire to be intimate with her.
“It doesn’t mean I’ve got any romantic inclinations within our marriage,” he said.
Brown and his family have been living apart in four separate homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kody Brown originally tied the knot with Meri in 1990. (Photo by Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images)
Brown and Meri tied the knot in 1990. Three years later, the couple welcomed sister wife Janelle into their plural marriage, followed by Christine in 1994. Robyn joined the family as a fourth wife in 2010.
Brown was only legally married to Meri. However, Meri agreed to divorce Brown so he could tie the knot with Robyn in 2014. That legal change would allow Robyn’s three children from a previous marriage to access the same benefits as the rest of Brown’s children.
Brown said he considers himself to be “spiritually” married to his four wives.
“Sister Wives,” a reality TV series on TLC, aims to show how Brown and his family navigate life in a world that seems to shun their lifestyle. The series has been airing since 2010.
Being married to more than one person, or bigamy is illegal across the United States. The law in Mormon-heavy Utah is considered stricter because of a unique provision that bars married people from living with a second “spiritual spouse.”
‘Sister Wives’ has been airing since 2010. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned polygamy in 1890 and strictly prohibits it today. The Browns consider themselves fundamentalist Mormons.
Back in 2019, Brown told Fox News that the family has agreed on not considering a fifth wife anytime soon.
“We really took the fifth wife thing off the table a long time ago,” said Brown. “And because we don’t want to snub the concept, we’ve always sort of been very casually dismissing it, and I think that’s one reason the question keeps coming up. But it’s technically been off the table as long as we’ve done the show.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.