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TCA Press Tour: Reality TV meets polygamy in TLC's 'Sister Wives'

August 6, 2010 | 12:29 pm

In a TV press tour first, a man and his four wives came to press tour on Friday.

But it wasn't the cast of HBO's "Big Love." It was the cast of a new reality show, "Sister Wives," which premieres next month on TLC.

The seven-episode series follows the lives of a Utah polygamist, Kody Brown, and his three wives, Meri, Janelle, and Christine, and his soon-to-be fourth wife, Robyn. But technically, Meri is the only wife, the one Kody's legally beholden to, but his heart belongs to all four of them.

Fundamentalist Mormons, the Browns have 13 children between them -- though three of them are Robyn's from a previous marriage. The first three wives live in one compound in three separate apartments. They hope to soon add another apartment so that Robyn and her three children can move in.

Although they've lived their lives mostly in secret -- they have told co-workers and friends -- they're ready to open up on a larger scale about their lifestyle and are not worried about being arrested, they said. "We knew there were risks but we feel that the story, for the sake of our entire family, is an important one to tell," Janelle, the second wife said.

"As every other American family, this takes everything we've got," Robyn said. Asked what they saw in their husband to make them want to share them, the women said they feel they have a lot of freedom in their lives because they live in a plural family. Like Bill Henderson and his wives on "Big Love," the Browns operate on a schedule by which they share Kody.

"I'm still trying to figure it out," he said.

"There's a constant party going on in this family," said Robyn, who said she sought to join a plural family after her divorce.

--Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: From left, Janelle, Christine, Kody, Meri, Robyn. Credit: Bryant Livingston / TLC