Robyn Brown got into the public eye on 26 September 2010, upon the release of the first episode of the now ultra-famous reality TV series by TLC entitled “Sister Wives.” She is known as the only legal wife of Kody Brown, who also had three other ‘wives’ at the start of the show. As is the case with most individuals who rose to prominence in the reality genre, Robyn indeed has some monsters looming in the closet.
While she started out as just another wife in the series, who obviously enjoyed the majority of Kody’s love and affection, most fans believed that his disposition would only last temporarily, as their relationship was fresh and passionate at the time. However, over the years, it became apparent that Robyn isn’t likely to stop being the favorite anytime soon, leading many to believe that she employed various subversive tactics to maintain that position in the wives’ hierarchy.
To understand what it might be that Robyn did out of purely selfish intent, it’s important to first point out what the whole series is all about, since its very premise attributes controversy to most of its aspects, yet that isn’t actually Robyn’s fault.
The core of “Sister Wives”
“Sister Wives” follows the life of the Browns – a polygamist family that consists of Kody Brown, his four wives as well as their combined 18 children. It is composed of Kody’s legal wife, Robyn, and his three other wives, Christine, Janelle, and Meri, whom he has married in the supposed spirit world.
The show has been on air for over a decade, releasing 17 seasons by early 2023. The newest 18th season has been confirmed by Christine, but no official release date has been announced yet. Despite rumors that the show may be coming to an end soon, there is still no verifiable confirmation from TLC or the Brown family.
“Sister Wives” has been a source of controversy, and has sparked debates about polygamy and its legality. In fact, the show’s premiere caused quite a stir, as it was the first time a show on mainstream television had featured a polygamist family. Over the decade and change of its duration, the series has faced criticism from groups that oppose polygamy, while others have praised it for shedding light on an often-misunderstood way of life.
The show has also been criticized for the portrayal of the family members, as some viewers believe that the show romanticizes polygamy, and doesn’t accurately depict the challenges faced by such families. Others had very few good words about the title, due to its lack of diversity, as the Brown family is predominantly white and Mormon.
Despite the controversies, “Sister Wives” has remained a popular show with a loyal fan base. It’s been praised for its authenticity and for the way it handles sensitive issues such as family dynamics, parenting, and relationships. While definitely not something that most people would even consider, the polygamous lifestyle of the Browns is by all means a daring move, and a step in the direction against judging and mislabeling this type of family in general.
Overall, “Sister Wives” has had a significant impact on popular culture, sparking all kinds of discussions about the nature and legality of polygamy, turning it into another one of the acceptance and anti-judgment topics that are hotly debated in this day and age. Whether or not the show continues in the future, it will always be remembered as a ground-breaking release that challenged societal norms and initiated important debates.
#ThrowbackThursday to Robyn's blog sharing her thoughts on separating the working-woman from the mom. Is this a challenge you also face? How do you balance all of your roles? http://ow.ly/EBKwe
Posted by Sister Wives on Thursday, November 20, 2014
Battling the law for a taste of history
One of the greatest achievements of Kody and his unconventional family is also their most prominent issue – evading the law in their pursuit of a polygamous union. The practice of living with multiple spouses has had a long and complicated history, in the western world most of all the US. In spite of this, people like Kody and his wives remain mostly resolute in their convictions.
The practice of polygamy dates back to ancient times, and has been enjoyed in various cultures and religions around the world. Polygamy in the US, however, is most commonly associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more generally described as the Mormon Church, which Kody and the wives are part of.
The history of polygamy in the US can be traced back to the early days of this particular religious sect. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, received what he claimed was a revelation from God in the 1830’s, which was used to sanction the practice of polygamy. Smith himself had multiple wives, and the practice was continued by his successor, Brigham Young. By the mid-19th century polygamy had become a common practice among the Mormons, most prominently in the territory of Utah, where their influence was strongest.
Miss us? Find full episodes of #SisterWives on #TLCgo and watch anywhere, anytime! https://t.co/DTocUDHq75 pic.twitter.com/bvQFqnCkul
— Janelle Brown (@JanelleBrown117) March 12, 2018
The practice of polygamy among the Mormons was met with widespread opposition and condemnation from non-Mormon Americans, who viewed it as a violation of traditional Christian values, and a threat to the stability of marriage and family life. In the late 19th century the US government took action to outlaw polygamy.
In 1862, US Congress passed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act, which made it a federal crime to practice polygamy in any of the country’s districts or territories. The law was aimed directly at Mormons, who were by far the most numerous practitioners of polygamy at the time. Despite this law, Mormon men continued marrying multiple women, leading to a series of legal battles with the federal government.
In 1879 the US Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in the case of Reynolds v. United States, upholding the constitutionality of the federal anti-polygamy law. The Court held that polygamy was not protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, and that the government had the right to regulate marriage and family life in the interest of public order and morality.
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, Mormons resumed serial weddings in secret, leading to continued conflict with the federal government. In 1890 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the “Manifesto” – a statement renouncing the practice of polygamy and calling on Mormons to obey the law of the land. This was in part an effort to avoid further legal conflict with the federal government, which had threatened to seize the church’s property and dissolve it as a corporation.
This renunciation marked the beginning of the end of the practice in North America. Over time, the stigma associated with polygamy grew, and engaging in it became increasingly rare. Polygamy remains illegal in the US today, although there are still some small religious communities that practice it in secret.
In part, outlawing polygamy was a response to the perceived threat to traditional Christian values and family life posed by the practice. It was also seen as a way to promote social order and stability by ensuring that marriage was strictly monogamous. Finally, it was also part of a broader effort by the federal government to assert its authority over the western territories, and bring them into line with the rest of the country, achieving both geographical and ideological unification.
The practice of polygamy remains controversial and divisive even in 2023, with some arguing that it’s a legitimate expression of religious freedom, while others view it as a form of abuse and exploitation, particularly of women and children. The debate over polygamy in the US is likely to continue for years to come, as communities that practice it continue to exist in secret, and push for greater acceptance among their neighbors and compatriots.
Those still rooting for polygamy venerate families akin to the Browns in an almost saint-like manner, resting their hopes for the future on the struggles of people like Kody and Robyn Brown. Kody in particular had to avoid legally marrying more than one woman while still staying true to his beliefs, and has achieved this by taking Meri, Christine and Janelle as spiritual spouses. In the eyes of the law, this type of marriage is seen as a type of role-play, and thus can’t be prosecuted.
Robyn Brown – the dubiously seductive fourth wife
Controversial comments from the audience regarding Robyn began almost as soon as the series took off, with many noting that Kody obviously paid a lot less attention to his other three wives when his availability to Robyn was put in perspective. Of course, the most scandalous moment from a legal standpoint is the very fact that she knowingly entered a polygamous union.
First of all, it’s been pointed out as rather odd that Robyn was quick to marry Kody very shortly after the actual TV series landed on the screen. Fans of the show and critics alike couldn’t help but wonder if Robyn’s decision to marry Kody was motivated by fame and fortune rather than love and commitment. Some even questioned whether the marriage was a sham, designed to keep the show on the air and the money rolling in.
Before becoming Kody’s fourth and legal wife in 2014, Robyn had been married to a certain David Preston Jessop, with whom she had three children. They married on 21 July 1999, and birthed Dayton in 2000, Aurora in 2003, and Breanna in 2005. The two ultimately divorced in 2007 for undisclosed reasons, although many believe Robyn had already been cheating on her husband with Kody, at least in a spiritual way.
Additionally, it’s also rather odd how those three children were incorporated among the Browns. Kody decided to adopt them into the family in 2011, but it was subsequently revealed that he had somehow legally already done this before the adoption was finalized, which raised questions about the legality of the adoption, and whether it was done for the benefit of the show.
Some also found it infuriating how Robyn managed to evade various kinds of deserved trouble before becoming part of the family. She has been accused of filing for bankruptcy before joining the show, to avoid paying previous debts incurred over a number of years. In addition, Kody’s financial situation has been questioned, with allegations that he owes tens of thousands in back taxes.
In 2018, Robyn revealed that she had been struggling with severe health issues, including heart problems and chronic pain. Some viewers criticized her for not being more transparent about her health earlier on the show, noting that it’s highly likely Robyn kept this to herself so as to maximize the profits from the show, and not impede the filming process.
While this decision on its own doesn’t harm anyone else per se, it still shows what lengths she’s willing to go to for a little extra cash. It’s thus also worthy of mention that Robyn has emerged as the wealthiest of Kody’s wives, with an estimated net worth of $600,000. This may be due in part to her entrepreneurial spirit, as she’s launched several successful businesses, including an online clothing boutique and a jewelry line.
More recently, Robyn and Kody launched a new business called Dabsark Entertainment, LLC. The company was registered in Arizona in May of 2022 and currently has only two members – Kody and Robyn. The exact nature of the business isn’t clear, but some speculate that it could be related to the family’s reality show, or other entertainment projects.
Lastly, it’s become apparent in recent times that Robyn is somehow Kody’s last remaining spiritual and legal wife, as the other three have left him over recent years. While he did indeed divorce Meri Brown so as to legally marry Robyn and adopt her children back in 2010, it wasn’t until early 2023 that his first wife truly left.
Christine Brown precipitated the final departures though, with her split coming about in November 2021, following 25 years of so-called spiritual marriage. Janelle Brown quickly followed Meri around late 2022 and early 2023, splitting up from the family as well.
Miraculously, the fourth and final wife is now reaping all of the benefits of the previous years of brand-building and withstanding the media storm that the Browns had to endure. It remains to be seen whether this is all just an accident, or whether more serious and perhaps sinister motives drove Robyn to where she is in early April 2023.