I’m new to this show, so most of you probably know more about Kody Brown and his “wives” – Meri, Christine, Janelle and Robyn – than I do. This is what I’ve learned so far. Only one of them is a wife in the eyes of law, Meri, and the rest are joined in what they refer to as a spiritual union. It’s those spiritual unions that have a lot of people looking at them with some side-eye, but they all claim that, as they follow the tenets of the Apostolic United Brethren church – a subset of the church of Latter Days Saints – what they’re doing is within their belief system which allows for multiple wives. The women in the UAB can’t have multiple husbands, but given the fact that this isn’t the only religion that treats women like second class citizens I’m not going to judge, although why anyone would want more than one spouse is beyond me. I don’t understand it and I’m not even going to try. From what I’ve seen, they don’t seem to be hurting anyone with their lifestyle and their kids appear to relatively normal and well-adjusted.
I’m also missing what one woman, never mind four, see in the patriarch of this family of 22, Kody Brown. It’s not just that he looks like a leftover from the British invasion of the 1960′s, but that he doesn’t seem to bring much to the table, yet struts around like some sort of cock rooster in charge of multiple henhouses. I think what drew me to watching this “reality” show was the number of questions it raises. I don’t mean their “marriages”. I just keep wondering – and I’m sure I’m not the only one – how they manage to make ends meet.
Their financial situation is a big part of this season’s storyline, because they happen to be building four very large houses on a cul-de-sac in Las Vegas. They’ve been living in four rental homes, spread around town and are finding that their cohesive family is unraveling because of the distance. They had to move to Nevada a couple of years ago because the authorities in Utah were leveling charges against Kody for his polygamy. I don’t get that either. If only one of the wives is considered legal and the others are only spiritual wives, then I don’t see what crime they’ve committed. It’s all moot, though, because now they’re languishing in Sin City and starting over without fear of any legal entanglements.
Getting back to their sources of income, which aren’t exactly clear. When asked, Kody says something about having been in advertising, but that job doesn’t exist anymore. Viewers never see him, or any of them, for that matter, going off to work on a regular basis. In the first couple of episodes this year, we see that Christine has been studying to get her real estate license and she’s also been bitching that no one’s been around to help her with her kids, including her toddler, Truely. All of that studying paid off and she passed on the second attempt, but that career came to a screeching halt when she found out that you can’t sell houses Monday through Friday – 9AM to 5PM. It really came as a shock to her when she was told that realtors do most of their work during the evening and on the weekends. That’s that – she’s not gonna do it. Janelle is a real estate agent but I don’t know whether she’s still pursuing her career.
Wife number 4 – Robyn – also has plans to make some money. She’s designing jewelry and selling it on the internet. You can find the pieces at http://mysisterwifescloset.com/ if you’re interested. It’s a little pricey and there’s a very specific market for the jewelry. If you happen to like and support their lifestyle, you’d wear it. Kody and the 3 other “wives” aren’t thrilled with what they call her hobby business, though and she takes to pouting and whining because they aren’t helping and supporting her dream. Robyn pout and whines a lot. Maybe that’s why she and Kody first fell in love – he’s been known to throw his share of tantrums.
Let’s see now. No real estate is being sold and very little jewelry is being ordered and yet the houses on the cul-de-sac are in the drywall stage. By the way, each of these homes is going to cost them over $400,00, totaling about $1.7 million. Maybe you can understand my confusion over their finances a little better with that bit of info. That’s not even taking cars, food, utilities, clothing, schooling, etc for themselves and 17 children. Because Meri is the only legitimate wife, she and Kody have applied for financing together. The rest of them are on the hook for securing their own mortgages. There have been plenty of discussions among them about satisfying creditors before any lender will approve their loans. Robyn is carrying debt under three different names, most of which is from a previous marriage and divorce. None of this seems to bother them, though and they make routine visits to the construction site to add to or change the homes. If I understand this group correctly, they pool their money and each wife has been given a budget for their homes.
I finally found their website – http://www.kodybrownfamily.com/ - which explained how some of their money is made. Along with the line of jewelry, their book and their speaking engagements, the Kody Brown family – you have to call them the Kody Brown family, not the Brown Family, cuz Kody likes that – is a tab that sends you to a site where they sell products from LIV International. You can’t miss it, it’s the one that says “Pick Your Green Drink”, which sends you to a site with a Kody Brown family photo and the line “Detox the world, one family at a time”. LIV sells health drinks, cleanses, diet supplements, etc, in the same way that Amway sell pots and pans, and cleaning products. LIV representatives go out into the world, give demonstrations and try to recruit new reps by offering incentives, like points towards ocean cruises. Kody must be very good at it, because he won a Nissan Murano Cross cabriolet from the company.
So there you have it. The Kody Brown Family sells miracle water and some silly jewelry. Doesn’t sound like anything new to anyone who watches reality TV. I’ll check in on them now and then, just to see how those houses are going and if anyone happens to go to work. If you want to drop by the cul-de-sac, Sister Wives is brought to us courtesy of TLC and airs on Sunday nights at 9PM. I’m going to work on a chart to keep track of the family tree. It’s more tangled than a honeysuckle vine.