Billy Brown is an American TV personality and writer born on 3 December 1953, in Fort Worth, Texas USA. He’s known for being main star of TV show “Alaskan Bush People”.
Billy was born older son of Billy Joe and Kathryn Brown. His father’s privileged position as a limousine company’s President allowed Billy and his sister Kathy to grow up in an economically privileged environment: ‘I was given new boats and cars for my birthdays. I was truly the luckiest kid in town. I had it all — money, clothes, big ticket toys and a loving family, too’.
Young Billy’s world was hit by misfortune though, as his parents and sister died in a private plane accident on 2 March 1969.
Devastated by this tragedy, 16 years old Brown was tricked into singing papers agreeing his emancipation from his family, thus losing his right to his family’s fortune: “The first month following the accident was like the world’s longest bad dream”, wrote Brown.
Billy spent the next months after the accident wandering around Texas and Nuevo Mexico in the search of odd jobs to sustain himself. However, he was consoled in his pain by a 17 years old woman named Brenda, who he married on 23 October 1969.
Settled in Texas, the couple welcomed two daughters before filing for divorce five years into their marriage. Twila is the only publicly known children of said relationship, as her sister’s name is unknown.
Billy met Ami Branson when he was working as a plumber in her mother’s Earlene house. Perceived by Branson’s family as a ‘very charismatic’ individual, they didn’t find out Billy was romancing Ami behind their backs until she was too deep in love with Brown, who she married on 16 June 1979, after threatening her mother to run away with him if she didn’t allow the union.
The couple welcomed their first child Mathew three years into their marriage in 1982, and one-year-and-half later, their second child Joshua “Bam Bam” was born in August.
Deciding normal jobs weren’t for him, Billy convinced Ami lo leave Texas and tour the country as nomads settling ultimately in Alaska, where they allegedly established themselves in the ‘wild’ isolated Mosman Island, away from civilization as they couldn’t afford living elsewhere.
After living stranded for almost two years, the family returned to Port Protection and then headed to Haines, where Billy build a house for his family, which unfortunately burned down accidentally. In 2001 Brown’s family lived in Juneau, and then at some point they moved to Santa Clarita, California. They lived there briefly before returning once again to Alaska, apparently establishing their life outdoors in the bushes.
Including Matt and Josh, the couple had seven children in total. The other five kids are named Solomon “Bear”, Gabe, Noah, Snowbird and Rainy. All of them were apparently home-schooled.
Problems With Wife’s Family
In his memoirs Billy Brown described his relationship with Ami as ‘love at first sight’ and referred to her as ‘the [most] beautiful young woman I had ever met’.
In despite of it, he allegedly lied and tricked Brinson’s into letting him marry young 15 years old Ami, who was a high school student at the time: ‘He lied about his age’ said Ami’s mother Earlene in 2017 to Radar Online, in reference to the 11 years gap between the couple.
Brown lied about his economic status as well: ‘He gave the impression that he was very wealthy and came from a wealthy family. He seduced us with the trappings of wealth.’
When the young couple welcomed their second son Josh, Billy broke another one of his promises to Ami’s family when he convinced her to leave Texas behind to become a nomad: ‘We thought that he would provide for Ami, that he would keep her in school, and never keep her from seeing us. And we never saw her again!’
At the time of the interview with Radar Online, Earlene Branson hadn’t seen her daughter for almost four decades. However, a year early in 2016 Earlene travelled to Alaska to meet Ami, in an effort to reconcile with her daughter.
The trip was highly publicized through Facebook, and Earlene’s son Jes Branson cited his mother’s health problems as the reason she wanted reunite with estranged Ami: ‘Her one wish is to see her daughter before she dies, and she’s willing to travel 7000 miles round-trip from Texas to Alaska to try and make it happen.’ Earlene’s efforts were wasted though, as at the moment of her trip Ami was vacationing in Hawaii with the rest of the Browns and couldn’t meet her mother.
On 9 November 2018 the Branson matriarch died at 85 years old. Although it was affirmed Ami was devastated by the loss of her mother, it was later reported she didn’t attend the funeral.
By the time Brown’s family was living in Haines, Billy started writing children’s books to provide for his family. Although salaries for writers aren’t too elevated, Billy works quickly gained recognition and allowed him to earn an acceptable income from it.
Besides Brown’s dozens of kids’ books, he also published his memoir entitled ‘One Wave at a Time’ in which he retells his adventures living as a nomad around US, and the hardships he and his family had to endure because of it.
Alaskan Bush People – TV Show
Premiered on Discovery in 2014, “Alaskan Bush People” featured Billy Brown’s family and their life living in the bushes. The show was promoted as “reality TV” by the network, describing its stars as ‘a remarkable family off the beaten path and into the wild Alaskan wilderness’. Audience quickly warmed up to the family and their lifestyle, resulting on high ratings for the show which quickly became number one unscripted cable program for male audiences from 18 to 49 years, with average 4 Million viewers.
Although as of today “Alaskan Bush People” has been aired for 10 seasons, it stopped drawing in new viewers at the end of fourth season when its stars faced a variety of scandals.
What Caused Alaskan Bush People’s Fan Base Suddenly Drop?
Browns family was severely reprimanded by their audience as the real nature of the show, lifestyle and economic situation was questioned.
Through an investigation made by Alaska Department of Revenue, it was concluded Browns spent more than 180 days outside the territory per year from 2009 to 2012. Therefore the family was found guilty of falsification and theft for lying in their applications for Permanent Dividends.
Benevolent leader or overbearing obsessive? Controversial Brown family patriarch Billy answers your questions in an Alaskan Bush People special #tonight 8pm
Realizing the family resided outside Alaska main part of the year, and didn’t actually live in the bushes as it was claimed in the show, a huge number of fans turned their backs at the family.
The family faced more backlash when in 2018, they rented a Beverly Hill’s mansion worth $2,7 million. Although Browns’ reason to stay in Los Angeles was the treatment for lung cancer for Ami in University of California Medical Center, fans questioned Browns’ real economic status, as the event contradicted family’s austere lifestyle and unfortunate financial situation depicted in the show.
Billy Brown estimated net worth is $500,000 as of 2020, which is a result of his appearances in Discovery’s show “Alaskan Bush People” and his earnings for his published books.
Billy is a man of white ethnicity, whose stature and current weight are unknown. His hair was naturally brown in his youth, accompanied with blue eyes.
— SoapDirt.com (@SoapDirtTV) October 27, 2019
He worked as a commercial fisherman in Northern Pacific for a brief time.
Billy supposedly didn’t allow Ami to reencounter with her family for decades.
Billy’s child from his first marriage Twila Byars, apparently didn’t see her father for 30 years, as it was showcased in an episode of “Alaskan Bush People” in which daughter and father have a seemingly warm encounter. However it was later known the encounter was scripted and the pair had been in contact before.
One of Billy’s grandchildren –daughter of Twila-, died in a car accident when she was 14 years old.
Although Ami was just a teen when she married Billy, the union was completely legal due to Texas’ laws.