As ScreenRant points out, while Kody Brown is undeniably the leader of his family, fans mostly see him as a corporate thug. Kody Brown was 41 when Sister Wives first aired, in 2010, and her life up to that point was certainly eventful. His parents were strict LDS Mormons, a sect of the church that no longer believes in polygamy, but Kody Brown’s father took another wife when the young man was a teenager.
Kody Brown entered this lifestyle through first wife Meri, who belonged to a fundamentalist Mormon church that encouraged polygamy as a religious practice. Naturally, Kody liked the idea of being with Meri, but he also had the freedom to pursue other women. He made it official soon after meeting her. In fact, as Meri revealed to ABC, “On Christmas Eve — yes, two months after we met — he gave me a ring and asked me to marry him.”
Just a few years later, Kody Brown “spiritually” married Meri’s sister-in-law, Janelle Brown. As Screen Rant points out, to keep their situation a secret, Kody openly claimed that Meri Brown was his wife and Janelle his sister (technically true, since his father had married Janelle’s mom).
Janelle Brown, however, got pregnant before Meri Brown, which complicated matters. On top of that, Kody also married Christine Brown in 1994. Professionally, the patriarch has been everything from a lumberjack to a firearms shop worker and even a traveling salesman.
However, earning enough money to support an ever-growing family has always been a problem and in 1997 Janelle Brown filed for bankruptcy. She effectively abandoned their family and children for several years before Kody convinced her to try again. Despite the spouses’ many sideline activities, according to the Cheat Sheet, Meri and Kody Brown later filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and Christine in 2010 (according to Screen Rant), so joining forces with TLC was clearly pointless for a large family. Unsurprisingly, the show completely changed Kody’s life.