Christine Brown appears happily married to husband Kody on Sister Wives, but behind the scenes the third wife is “miserable.” In an exclusive interview with Christine’s aunt Kristyn Decker, she is begging her family member to leave the “cult-like” and “abusive” marriage.
Kristyn, who is the author of Fifty Years in Polygamy: Big Secrets and Little White Lies, grew up in polygamy and escaped 33 years after she married her first husband. Now that she is happily in a monogamous marriage, she is calling on her estranged niece Christine to do the same.
“I was still in polygamy when Christine joined,” she said. “She looked happy. I thought, ‘She’s crazy about Kody, so go for it!’ Even as a believer, I wanted to privately to go tell them to run. I knew how crazy and insane it was. You don’t know what you’re getting into. I wish I would’ve warned people.”
Kristyn explained how she feared she would “be held accountable and go to hell” if she left or warned people from joining plural marriages, as that is what the church teaches.
“It’s a miserable-happy life,” she explained. “The Browns are miserable-happy. They’re miserable on the inside. I don’t think any of them know what genuine happiness and freedom is. I thought I was happy. I thought life was great and I was serving God. I was happy serving God, but miserable doing it. The more you sacrifice, the better your blessings will be in heaven.”
Although Kristyn appeared on Sister Wives, the family members are now estranged.
“We have not been in touch,” she claimed. “I’ve been the bad apple to speak against polygamy. I would speak to the Browns anytime, but I don’t believe they want to speak to me.”
As for helping Christine leave Kody, she explained, “If she’s not ready, that would be the worst thing. I’m here for her if she never needs somebody.”
But she explained how it would be difficult for Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn to leave Kody with the show involved.
“If there were no show, there would’ve been a bigger chance for them to leave,” the author explained. “That’s their income! All the parties, traveling… none of that would’ve happened without the show.”
Scroll down RadarOnline.com’s gallery to go inside the “cult-like” and “abusive” marriages.
Kristyn explained how the group the Brown family belongs to is called AUB, which stands for Apostolic United Brethren. She said that while physical abuse is common, it is “not as common as emotional and mental abuse.”
“Polygamy is a system of abuse overall,” she explained. “Mental, emotional, and spiritual. The groups believe their leaders are the right ones and the others are wrong. Overall, polygamy is a system that’s harmful to men, women, children and society. You will live in polygamy and the women will be submissive. The women must let the men have other wives or they’ll go to hell.”
Kristyn compared polygamy to a “cult-system.” “If we look up cult, everything within the AUB or religion of plural marriage, the system they have and believe in, it’s cohesive. The men will be the leaders. The men are the ones who bring the women to heaven if they qualify. The final decisions are with the men. If any of those women wanted to have another man, they couldn’t. It’s not an equality or equal system.”
She explained how polygamy messed with her “life and peace.” “It hurt,” she said. “It taunted me. I just kind of stopped paying attention. If you can’t change it, move on. It’s a cult mentality.”
She explained how her heart was “broken” when her husband added a second wife. “My husband and I had a good sexual relationship, but it was never the same,” she said. “There was no loyalty. There was constant comparison. Constant, ‘He loves her more. He’d rather be with her than me.’”
Kristyn told Radar that the “more information that gets out there the better.” “My heart is still in helping victims of polygamy,” she explained. “We were all taught that protecting polygamy was more important than to protect the truth.”
First Three Wives
Kody married first wife Meri in 1990. Second wife Janelle joined the family in 1993. Christine married Kody in 1994.
Then, Robyn joined the family in 2010. They legally married in 2014 when Kody divorced Meri so he could adopt Robyn’s children from a previous marriage. The family shares 18 children all together.
In the family’s tell-all book Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage, Christine opened up about the ups and downs in their marriage.
She explained how she became resentful when Kody went on a honeymoon with Robyn, as Christine gave birth to their daughter Truley only months before.
“Kody and Robyn’s courtship came at a time of huge personal upheaval,” Christine admitted. “I was pregnant with Truely, and we had also entered new and uncharted territory as we began filming Sister Wives for TLC. When Kody started courting and then married Robyn it really rocked me. I gave birth to Truely and was suffering from extreme postpartum depression. I’d never thought I’d feel such a sense of loss and such crippling jealousy, I thought I was better and stronger than that, I really did.”
She continued that she “lost” her identity. “I couldn’t see myself as Kody’s wife,” she said. “Instead I felt inconsequential, as if I’d been pushed to the side.”