Janelle and Kody spiritually wed in 1993, three years after the Wyoming native married first wife Meri Brown. In 1994, Christine Brown joined their family, and Robyn Brown rounded out the plural brood in 2010.
The polygamist legally married Robyn in 2014 after divorcing Meri, with whom he chose to continue a spiritual union. The family restructuring allowed Kody to legally adopt Robyn’s three children from a past relationship. Years later, fractures emerged in Janelle and Kody’s relationship after his marriage to Christine came to an end in 2021.
During season 17 of Sister Wives, which was filmed in 2021 and aired in 2022, fans watched as Janelle and Kody butted heads over their kids. The pair share six children: Logan, Maddie, Hunter, Garrison, Gabriel and Savanah.
“It’s been a bit of a civil war. The whole family in a way,” Kody said during the December 2022 finale. “I’m looking at Janelle wondering whose side she’s on.”
Elsewhere in the episode, Janelle revealed that she wanted to spend time with their kids apart from the plural family over the holidays after Kody’s strict COVID-19 rules drove a wedge within the family. (Kody created a strain between him and sons Gabe and Garrison after claiming they lacked respect for him amid the coronavirus pandemic.)
“To be honest with you, I really don’t know if I want to do the work. It feels like I’m being forced to choose between my children and this group,” she explained at the time. “At the end of the day, I think I’d rather be with my kids. … There’s a strong pull to just run away and do the easy thing.”
Later that month, Janelle confirmed during part 1 of the Sister Wives: One-on-One special that she and Kody had been “separated for several months” — and that she was happier because of it. (Meri, meanwhile, confirmed her own split from the patriarch that same month.)
“Part of me thinks, ‘OK, my religion requires that you continue to make a marriage work.’ I deeply believe in my faith,” Janelle further explained during part 3 of the tell-all, which aired in January 2023. “I have been so much at peace that I don’t know how to reconcile that. I know I’m happy. I don’t want him to come back. But my faith requires that we are married eternally.”
Scroll down to read Janelle’s most empowering and honest quotes about moving forward after her split from Kody: