When it comes to Kody Brown’s broken marriage to Meri Brown, the father of 18 deserves at least a tiny bit of credit we suppose.
Because no one can claim Kody is leading his first wife on.
In a sneak peek at this Sunday’s reunion special of Sister Wives Season 16, Kody and all four of his spouses appear on a stage and delve into the details of their unique — and, in the case of Kody and Meri, broken — relationships.
“There’s a point where intimacy is just damaged. It’s misleading to have intimacy in a relationship where there is no real safety, I’m not going there,” Kody tells the show’s host about Meri, emphasizing that he’s done being romantic with her.
“You’re telling me that you don’t feel safe with Meri?” the host asks, to which Kody responds:
“No, and I never will again. I will be her friend, I will do what I can to protect her.
“I will build a house for her out on Coyote pass, but I’m never going to feel safe in an intimate place.”
This is the most straightforward Kody has been on this topic.
But he said last season that the spark between himself and Meri was gone, and Meri said on a previous Season 16 episode that she and her spiritual spouse were only friends.
“My relationship with Meri is not the type of relationship where I’m going to talk to her every day,” Kody said on this same installment, while Meri admitted:
“Kody and I — we had a conversation recently, that kind of came down to, ‘We’re friends.’ Which I guess is a good thing.”
Is it really, though?
“I guess I just have hope for more than that,” she added on air.
How did things fall apart so badly between Kody and Meri? How did they get to this place?
It would be easy to point to Meri’s catfishing scandal in 2015, back when she and Kody separated… and she tried to find someone else… and then got fooled by someone on the Internet who was pretending to be a man interested in the Sister Wives star.
Things have been awkward between her and Kody ever since.
“It was just the catfish woke me up out of the daze I guess,” Kody says on the reunion, courtesy of this People Magazine clip, bringing up an incident that occurred between them several years back.
“So Meri’s committed to staying with the family, she has a relationship with the larger family, the kids, Robyn … and a friendship with you.
“Is that going to be enough?” the reunion host then asks Kody.
“I don’t think that’s enough for anybody, but everybody makes their choices,” Kody replies.
With all this said, why the heck does Meri continue to stick around?!?
“This is my family, like I don’t understand people who think, ‘Well just because you don’t have this relationship with Kody, why don’t you just leave?’ Because I don’t want to,” she says on the special.
“It doesn’t make sense to me when people ask me that all the time.”
Meri and Kody got married in 1990 — and then got divorced in 2014 because Kody needed to exchange vows with Robyn Brown in order to legally adopt her kids from a previous relationship.
Christine Brown, meanwhile, also lost her sex privileges with Kody last year.
Unlike Meri, however, she made it clear that she wouldn’t remain in such a platonic relationship, announcing in November that she was walking away from her marriage.
On this upcoming episode of Sister Wives, Meri says she and Christine are “two different people [with] different sets of values,” hence their contrasting reactions to Kody’s intimacy decree.
Where does Christine come down on all of this?
“I don’t know how she does it,” the mother of six says of Meri maintaining a non-sexual and non-romantic relationship with Kody, adding:
“I guess she’s more fine with it than I am.”
This special one-on-one episode of Sister Wives airs Sunday (10 p.m. ET) on TLC.