“Sister Wives” is a new reality show on TLC that showcases the life of
a polygamous family living in Utah. Kody Brown is the head of the
family and has had three wives, Meri, Janelle and Christine, for 16
years. Over the course of the show, the family added fourth wife Robyn.
Altogether the family now has 16 children.
The family has come under investigation for bigamy since the show began
airing in September. If convicted of felony bigamy, Kody could face up
to 20 years in prison and each wife could face up to five years.
“It’s scary,” Kody tells Oprah. “I didn’t [expect it].”
Along with local law enforcement, there are others who aren’t happy
about the show. Meri’s former employer terminated her position in the
mental health industry after the show debuted.
“They felt that they needed to protect the company, I think,” Meri
says. “It actually makes me really sad because I loved my job. It
breaks my heart, definitely. … But I understand where they’re coming
Oprah observes that the most fascinating aspect of the show is the
sisterhood between the wives. “We’re most fascinated with the
relationship the women have with each other,” Oprah says. “In being in
the same family, you have to sort of develop a sister relationship or
friendship in order to all get along,” she says.
“It’s definitely a very bonding experience,” Meri says. “We’re sisters in that sense, and we’re very close.”
Janell adds that when you marry into a polygamous family, you aren’t
just marrying the husband, you’re marrying the family. “That’s what I
wanted,” she says.
Oprah comments that she thinks this is true for all married people. “I
think that’s the mistake a lot of people make when they marry into a
monogamous traditional family,” Oprah says. “You think you’re just
getting the person you’re marrying, but you really are marrying their
family — especially if that person has children.”
“Sister Wives” airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.