“Of course I still get jealous,” the TLC personality, 51, told Us Weekly exclusively on Tuesday, March 16. “But I learned a long time ago [that] you really just have to figure out how to be OK with yourself.”
Janelle entered her “spiritual marriage” with Kody, 52, in January 1993, three years after he legally tied the knot with first wife Meri Brown. The Wyoming native is also husband to Christine Brown and Robyn Brown, whom he legally wed in December 2014 in an effort to “restructure” their blended family. (Kody divorced Meri, 50, in September 2014, but they remain “spiritually married.”)
Instead of dwelling on the differences between her relationship and Kody’s other partnerships, Janelle tries to keep a positive outlook. “You have strengths, and you have blessings and you have opportunities that you’re given … you can’t compare,” she told Us. “I just think comparison is, like, the death of plural marriage.”
Finding that inner confidence took a little time. “I remember the transition [into polygamy] and thought I was always pretty independent,” she added. “It became like, ‘Look, I’m OK. I have a lot to offer.’ So, that really helped me through those kinds of emotions.”
Janelle, who shares six children with Kody, has learned to feel comfortable not always being the center of her husband’s attention. However, some of Kody’s other relationships have taken a sharp turn in recent years. In February, the Becoming Sister Wives author exclusively revealed that he and Meri “have been in a very dark place for a very long time.”
Kody continued: “I hope that some communication heals things. It’s been a long time and it’s been very difficult. … I feel like my wives are living four separate lives, but I don’t feel like I’m living four separate lives.”
Tensions rose between Kody and his first wife after they were no longer a wedded couple by law — and they’re reaching a breaking point. “I can’t control what he thinks or feels,” Meri told Us of her marital woes earlier this month. “All I can do is show up as the best version of me.”
During a February episode of Sister Wives, Meri said that her relationship with Kody was “dead” and “over.” One month later, she admitted that the comment was “taken a little bit out of context.”
Meri told Us: “It was not me saying, ‘This is over, I’m done.’ What it was, was me saying where we were and what had happened was done and over, and now we need to figure out a new normal for us [and] figure us out. … Any improvement that we can make on the relationship between me and him, I think it would be great.”
When it comes to the drama between Kody and Meri, Janelle tries to keep her distance and stay patient. “We’re not perfect,” she said on Tuesday, admitting that the best solution is to “take turns” with all the other wives. “We have our own things that trip us up, for sure, but I think we’ve come a million miles in the 30 years that we’ve been a family.”
After multiple decades in a plural marriage, Janelle has picked up plenty of important lessons, including knowing when to remove herself from a heated situation.
“I know when it’s just time for me to go, to put myself to bed because I’m getting too tired and too dramatic,” she teased. “I just need to excuse myself for the day and we’ll pick it back up tomorrow.”
Sister Wives airs on TLC Sundays at 10 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi