While news broke a few weeks ago that polygamist Kody Brown was divorcing wife No. 1, Meri, to marry wife No. 4, Robyn, the episode tonight revealed the startling emotion behind the “split.”
More: Sister Wives star Kody Brown marries fourth wife
Of course, the family first and foremost assured fans that the divorce was only legal. Kody and Meri are not splitting up. Kody is marrying Robyn (in the eyes of the law) so that her children from her first marriage can receive health benefits. Because polygamy is technically illegal, and Kody can only be officially — in the eyes of the state — married to one woman at a time, the marriage made sense since the rest of the children are Kody’s by blood and, therefore, all receive benefits. By making Robyn’s kids a part of the family by official marriage, he can get them into the insurance fold.
That’s all well and good, and information we already knew. What we didn’t know is how emotional the process would be for the family, despite only reorganizing for the sake of the state. (Or so they say.)
It also wasn’t revealed until this episode that the idea to shuffle the family was actually Meri’s idea and not based off Kody’s suggestion. In fact, Meri went to see the lawyer without Kody.
“You know, I’ve been kind of thinking about this for about five years,” Meri tells the camera, since about the time Robyn came into the family. She goes on to say she hasn’t talked much about it because she’s been trying to figure it out in her head first. She’s not even sure, at first, if it’s something she can do.
“I want to see about a legal divorce from Kody,” Meri strains to say to the lawyer. Though the episode ends there, next week promises to delve into the issue entirely. And it’s abundantly clear that it isn’t easy for Meri. Between explaining that her, “heart is pounding” to struggling to even say the word “divorce,” emotions are riding high.
At the end of it all, even though Meri insists she’ll still be a present member of the family, it still feels like she’s taking a step away. And whether this is because her kids are older so she’s ready for the next chapter, because she wants to pursue her own adventures because her feelings for Kody aren’t as strong anymore or because she really is concerned about Robyn’s kids remains to be seen. But this is far from the first time we’ve seen Meri struggle with the relationship.
In fact, during tonight’s episode, Meri even admits that she and Kody are still working on their relationship after Janelle came into the mix of the family years ago. She explains the sister wives’ bond she expected in the family was not what she got. And it’s hard not to wonder if those sentiments are an undercurrent of the divorce.
Even though it’s in a reality show, it’s hard to know what exactly is going on behind closed doors with the family, who has always tried to put on such a united front at the end of the day. One thing is for sure: The ending of this episode definitely felt heartbreaking, and I found myself not wanting Meri to go through with the divorce, though we know she ultimately does.