Police investigate polygamist family on TLC reality show

Police in Lehi, Utah told People yesterday that they are investigating a possible felony charge of bigamy against the stars of TLC’s reality show, Sister Wives, which centers on a husband, Kody Brown, and his four wives. While TLC declined to comment, Brown and his wives, who collectively have 13 children and three step-children, released the following statement to EW: “We are disappointed in the announcement of an investigation, but when we decided to do this show, we knew there would be risks. But for the sake of our family, and most importantly, our kids, we felt it was a risk worth taking.”


Comments (148 total) Add your comment
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  • Jack

    I am not a polygamist. But I think that the illegality of polagmy is as bad or worse then the ban on same sex marriage. The government should not be using religious texts to draw up laws governing family structure. I hope the family fights this as far as they can.

    • M

      Where is the line drawn then? If the governent can’t draw the line at hetero/homo sexual, multiple husbands/wives, where does it get drawn? Family members? Animals? There has to be some recognized structure to a legal marriage. PLEASE don’t get me wrong and suggest i equate gay marriage to a man and a dog getting married, I’m simply saying at some point there has to be a limit. I do not know where that limit should be, but it has to exist. The old adage of ‘its not hurting anyone’ and ‘its none of my business’ has to have its limits somewhere.

      • Kat

        M, I think the government will and always has to consider marriage as being between two people, given the various tax ramifications/rights as next of kin/etc. A man living with one woman as his legal wife and a couple other wives as mistresses shouldn’t be illegal *unless* they are committing welfare fraud, as al mentions below. And a man married to another man or a woman married to another woman creates no issue in terms of the government’s understand of marriage, so long as it’s just the two of them. One spouse per person.

      • The Devil

        @M – the key to drawing the line should be at “consenting human adults.”

      • IMO

        Consent. That’s the difference. Over 18? A US citizen? Not a felon? Marrital disclosure? Go from there, not from magic texts.

      • Karate Pants

        I find myself in The Devil’s corner. Simply well put, the line SHOULD be at consenting human adults. Why we (people like Ray, below, for instance) concern ourselves with anything beyond that..well, that’s beyond me.

      • M

        I hope you mean non blood related consenting adults. Also, 2 or as many as they feel like?

      • The Devil

        @M, I also don’t see the problem between two consenting related adults (eww, I know). Now, the question of whether they are should be allowed to have biological children, and that’s where it gets tricky. But I also think that’s a completely different debate (I think there’s already laws against that in some states?). And yes, i think as long as all adults are consenting, then they’re allowed to be in as many relationships as they’d like. As someone pointed out below – it’s no different than your average pro-athlete. We’re just sticking paper and words to it.

      • Karate Pants

        Wait…what? Why don’t you have a problem with related adults humping?

      • AR

        To me, consenting adults covers the issue, regardless of the relationship of the parties.

    • AngieLam18

      I think the law was drawn up to protect people. I think it has less to with the polygamy as a religion, and more to do with protecting people from being conned by a partner who is living multiple lives, etc. I’m not being very articulate here, but I think you get what I am trying to say?

      • Stormy

        There’s more to it. In polygamous situation, only one woman is the legal wife. The other “spiritual” marriages don’t count and in many cases the other “wives” collect state welfare, aid to dependent children. This makes tax payers the ones who are paying for the polygamous lifestyle.

      • Larry

        Stormy is on the money (and a great porn star to boot). I don’t want to pay for welfare for someone else’s “wife”.

      • Mac

        Well, then, the problem is with the welfare law. I don’t see why a group of consenting adults cannot get married. The fact is, religious values has decided it’s not “right”.

      • scholarly122

        Not true. The same welfare rules apply for these people as they do anyone else, and the women all work. The father of the child is responsible for the child weather he is in a polygamous relationship or not.

    • Ray Powers

      I think that liberal mvmt. in america has gone way overboard in the public eye. For starters, I don’t like for my kids to feel that it is ok for a man and an man to kiss in public, same goes for a woman ands a woman. When the e.r.a. protects the gay community and the faith based “christian” community is forced to accept and deal with descecration of human morals, honor, and integrity, not to mention family values as meant to be, “Adam and Eve”, not from adam and steve nor sue and peggy! I’m tired of having filth pushed down my throat every day on t.v. and even out there in my world that God gave me too. What one does behind closed doors is their own bussiness, but don’t push it on me or mine, that’s just wrong.Our country has gone to the dogs in kthe past 40 years, and we will have to pay for this as some of us are paying today. How much more will our children have to pay tomorrow, after all they are our future right? This means a little less reality tv that focus on the ratings by confusion or immoral subject matter, let’s insue morally correct antics on our children. True character is attained, not given freely.

      • ok

        Ummmmmm, Wrong subject. But since you brought it up, I am tired of you bible freaks being able to spread your hate around! Simmer down and read your golden book and try and learn from it.

      • ok

        And the children will be ok. I am tired of people like YOU forcing your “life style” in our face!

      • DGently

        Ray, I’m so glad you put the word Christian in quotes. Why? Folks like you, in my book, are not really Christians. More like hate mongers.

      • Jay

        Ummm, Ray… the hypocritical nature of your post troubles me.
        In my eyes, you are a Christian terrorist. Maybe you dont strap a bomb to yourself, but you are equally ignorant.

        Stop trying to push your beliefs on others

      • Ray (a diff one)

        As long as you pay for the TV that sits in your living room you are choosing what you watch in your home; which is where your right of “what you see” ends. You step into the public and we ALL have rights; not just the “anointed.” I am married, live in suburbia, with two dogs, and two cats, but can’t stand for someone to make others feel bad because of some sort of self-annointed PUBLIC voice of reason. Believe whatever you want, but is is up to YOU to sensor your kids in your home (you don’t like TV-don’t CHOOSE to pay for it every month!). However, when you step off your lawn don’t expect other people to change their life because of the way YOU feel; that would simply be wrong.

      • Doug

        Ray Powers, I appreciate your comments. Whether people want to believe it or not, the Creator of this universe we live in defined a certain order we are to live by and he revealed that order in the Bible. People can ignore that if they want but in the end every knee will bow before The Creator God and his Son Jesus Christ. This isn’t some game where everyone gets to determine their own rules but unfortunately many live that way.

      • Jeanette

        I’ve always wondered why the people who are so worried about gay couples aren’t ticked off at adulterers, porn, strip clubs, child molesters,etc. Apparently being gay is the biggest sin of all and will destroy society as we know it. I’ve been married to a wonderful man for 26 years and we have two incredible sons. I know without a moment’s hesitation that two gay men or women kissing isn’t a threat to the solidity of my union or to the values in our home. I’ve watched marriages around us fall apart because of affairs, porn addiction, and substance abuse. I don’t know of a single marriage that ended because two gay men down the street shared a kiss.

      • Dee

        Amen!! Our children are being confused!

      • Dwight

        If it was OK for a man to kiss a man then it would be OK for say a male polar bear to get it on with another male polar bear, but they don’t? You know what happens when a male polar bear is attracted to another male polar bear? Nothing because it doesn’t happen. Why? Because male polar bears don’t have daddy issues, or shows like Austin and Santino.

      • JenR

        I would totally watch the polar bear Austin and Santino.

      • Heather

        Yes your God gave you this world and your beliefs are what they are but as their faith shows it is okay under their beliefs and their religion to do what they do. If you really look in the bible God affirmed a gay couple. I personally am a one woman man and would not settle for anything other then a one woman man but their belief entitles them to either marry 15 women or marry someone of the same sex that is their belief if you were a true “christian” as you say you are Ray Powers then you would except people for who they are and not JUDGE them. There is only one true judge and that’s God so who are you to say what is right or wrong that is for our Father to determine!!!!

    • Ames

      I agree with you on principle: if concenting adults choose to live a polygamous lifestyle, then they should be free to do so. However, in practice this is not the case. Often young girls are forced into marriage with much older men. Basically, it is sanctioned child molestation.

      • Kristen

        Yes, and that is when the age of consent comes in, and the laws against incest. however, as long as they’re consenting adults, I don’t see what the problem is if its consenting adults in an actual loving relationship.

      • Jack

        Young girls or women can be forced into unhappy marriages with older men whether its polygamist or not. Does this mean we should outlaw marriage? To “protect” poor innocent women who clearly are never able to decide for themselves what kind of lifestyle they want.

    • DGently

      Hi, Jack. I want you to know that for the longest time, I felt as you did. But I’ve changed my mind – sort of. I do stand with gay people in their fight for what is termed, in my city at least, “marriage equality.” And if anyone pointed out a group of people involved in polygamy or polygyny (sp?) WITHOUT the fundamentalist Mormon bent, I’d be in the “go with God, whatever works for you” camp. But from what I’ve read of polygamy as practiced by these fundamentalist folk..the very point of it is the subjugation of women and young girls. That’s why I have real issues with polygamist men such as those featured in the TLC show.

    • Charlie

      I don’t know Jack (that’s what my friends and family tell me), but I can quickly see that he is a GENIUS. Yes, Jack, yes!!! Thanks for echoing the same wise what-government-business-is-it perspective that I’ve had for years about marriages. As to the reply from M, the line is so simple that you will probably refuse to accept it: ARE THE PEOPLE INVOLVED CONSENTING ADULTS? That’s it. Beyond that, there is no need for government regulation of personal relationships. As to taxes, I would be okay with the IRS deciding that the tax exemption applies only to the first spouse, but I’m open to other viewpoints.

      • Stormy

        Even when the rest of the spouses collect welfare for multiple children?

      • Jack

        Are you proposing that we don’t let people get married or have children simply because they may end up an welfare? If crude idea is what you are suggesting then it has nothing to do with polygamy.

    • Kristen

      I agree! Why is polygamy illegal? If they’re consenting, and if that’s a part of their religion, can’t they just say that would be discrimination for their beliefs? Who are they hurting? I saw the first show, and the kids seem normal, and happy, and it seems like their household works. They don’t seem to be on welfare. Two of the wives work, so does the husband. They take care of themselves. What’s the problem?

      • Krystal

        I agree with you Kristen… I dont understand how they can share him, but i agree that it is their right to do as they please. And their children seemed happy and healthy… Let them be!!

    • jmcg

      The gay marriage and polygamy comparison is false. You do realize that same sex marriage will be legal all over the country in the near future? The courts are overturning the bans and states are passing laws that allow it. Its taken awhile but its a sign of the times and it will go forward. Polygamy, on the other hand will NEVER be legal. The current practice is based on some weird interpretation of the Bible that an overwhelming majority of Christians don’t adhere to. Modern society will never accept this practice, much less make it legal. Don’t fool yourselves, just because its consenting adults, it is taboo and will remain so.

    • concerned

      What do you think the laws of this country was based on smart one.

      • jmcg

        What’s your point?

    • zoey

      First of al,l recognizing polygamy and allowing people to have multiple marriages is stupid because the tax/legal discussion that it would take to legalize it would be a complete waste of tax payer money. If you want to be with multiple women and have kids by them …. oh wait, tons of people already do that and they DON’T get married! The other things is that if you wanted to waste tax payer money and allow multiple marriages it would have to go both ways, e.g. women could have multiple husbands. I think all those sexist male bureaucrats would roll over dead before they allowed women to do that. Not to mention … this suggestion is complete idiocy because we have the term “baby mama drama” for a reason. Its because people don’t like sharing there husband or wife with someone else, not to mention all the women that can barely deal with taking care of their own kids. Yes, those women will just love to be stuck at home with wifey number two and all her little brats to boot. Legalized polygamy would be an epic fail for normal society where women haven’t been brainwashed into being a man’s personal doormat.

    • Jim

      You are blind and ignorant. No use trying to reason with you.

  • K

    Why was it a risk worth taking? And where do the step-kids fit in? Since a lot of polygamous families depend on welfare I wonder if they could be charged with welfare fraud too? I have no clue if this family depends on it like others have, I won’t watch the show to figure out either, just wondering.

    • Elle

      The husband drives a Lexus and they live in a very large house. I doubt they are on any type of welfare.

    • ddp

      Where do you get the fact that a lot of polygamous families depend on welfare?

      • Kristen

        They said that because I believe the Jeffs family did depend on welfare. That was a completely different family, and i don’t believe the wives worked. Two of the wives on this show have regular jobs, as does the husband. I think “most polygamists depend on welfare” is probably an ignorant statement and a blanketed statement. Maybe some do, just like some normal families do.

      • K

        Not an ignorant statement thank you. It is used as a means of support because there is no way one man can afford to pay for all these children with all these women. If the women work – fine – but many polygamous families don’t believe the wife should work. But the fact that you watch this train wreck of a show speaks volumes.

      • Jessica

        Is it really hard to believe that someone with that many people can live without welfare? Anyone watch the Duggars? They have 19 kids and no outstanding debt. It is possible to be able to live on whatever monthly income you make. I haven’t watched the show yet, but I say let them be. As long as they aren’t hurting anyone or committing any fraud, then screw it.

  • Jay

    This is dumb…. he is only legally married to one woman. As far as the law is concerned the other women are mistresses.

    In a country where same sex marriages have become commonplace, how can you justify going after people like this?
    This is basically punishing aldutery as a federal crime. I know the people in the family dont view it that way, but I fail to see how the law can call it bigamy when he is really only married to one women as far as the government is concerned.
    And dont even get me started on religious freedoms.
    Not saying I agree with this type of mormon lifestyle, just that it is denying them of following their beliefs

    • al

      One reason why it’s illegal (and I don’t know if it’s relective of this case) is that along the lines of the law, all other wives are technically single parents with zero income. Therefore, they receive welfare benefits because they do not report the support they receive from their “husband.” Because it’s not recognized by the state, many fund their extremely large families this way. It drains the system and is considered fraud.

      • Jay

        OK, fine…. if that is the case, then investigate for “fraud”. You cant call it bigamy if the state doesn’t even recognize the other marriages.

        again… not saying I condone it, but its a losing battle legally

      • Elle

        Two of the three wives work, so they are not all single partents with no incomes. I don’t know about the new fourth wife – they didn’t address that in the first episode.

      • ddp

        All the more reason to legalize it. If they were all married then the income of all of them would be considered when applying for public assistance. Solve two problems at once, get people off the welfare roles and free up law enforcement to deal with real crimes.

    • James

      “In a country where same sex marriages have become commonplace…”

      Dude, where have you been living? Same sex marriages are not commonplace in America…PERIOD! 99.9% of it is media hype. Sure isn’t commonplace in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah or Arizona. What country are you speaking of?

    • Karate Pants

      I don’t think they would be investigated for bigamy unless there was reason to believe the guy is actually legally married to more than one of them – could he really be stupid enough to have done that, then flaunt it on national television??

      • DGently

        Hey, Karate: I think the deal is some weird legal wording about those involved in polygamy “purporting” to be married to more than one woman. It’s strange, I know, but I think if you present yourself has having more than one spouse, you’re considered a bigamist or polygamist by law. You don’t actually have to have a marriage certificate to be prosecuted.

      • Karate Pants

        Huh. I had no idea. Sounds like there’s some casual commonlaw-type approach to determining who is married/not then. Pretty murky stuff. Anyway, thanks for the education.

    • Spaz

      Just to point out Jay, this isn’t a Mormon lifestyle. They aren’t Mormons, though a couple of them may have that background. Mormon haven’t practiced polygamy for over 100 years.

      • @Spaz

        Oh, really? NO Mormons have been polygamous in the past 100 years, Spaz? Jay only said this was a type of Mormon lifestyle, not the rule. Just like monogamy is also a type of Mormon lifestyle, not the rule.

      • Kristen

        Fundamentalist mormons still practice polygamy. Not the mormon church or the LDS church. They’re not the same church. They’re different sects, kind of like different denominations.

      • M

        If memory serves polygamy was removed from the teachings of the LDS as a condition of achieving statehood. Can someone from Utah or more knowledgable than me confirm/deny?

      • DGently

        @ M – Please don’t take this as absolute fact, but this is my understanding. Early in their existence, the Mormons had been forced to move from state to state, largely because of unwarranted hatred by people holding more traditional religious views. (Dislike/distrust/illegality of polygamy was a big issue.) Finally, the Mormons decided to get out of the United States entirely. (The area we now call Utah was not a state, at the time.) However, for reasons I don’t fully understand/remember, eventually the United States wanted to annex that area…and (again, I’m not entirely sure I remember this correctly, you’ll have to look it up) the Mormons had by then built quite a community, and didn’t want to move again. Bringham Young came to something I think the Mormons call the “great accommodation.” The Mormons would give up polygamy, they could remain in the area, and Utah would become a state.

      • mike

        @ DGently — Pretty close except for the last two sentences. The U.S. Government had charged the Mormon church leaders with the crime of polygamy and in essence the government was seizing all the money of these leaders and the church while sending men to jail and making these families essentially “fatherless.” The leader of the church at the time, who is also considered as a prophet, said that a revelation from God came to him that unless polygamy ended, the church would be destroyed and that God was no longer requiring Mormons to practice polygamy (even a scripture in the Book of Mormon limits polygamy to being practiced under certain conditions). Though difficult for many Mormons to accept (the fundamentalist Mormons never accepted this revelation and are not part of the LDS church as a result), the LDS church finally did accept this revelation. The jailed men were allowed to return to their families. About a year or two later Utah was allowed entrance as a US state.

    • scholarly122

      Jay, you are correct. He is only legally married to ONE of the women. How is this illegal? Remember people, laws were made by PEOPLE (and we change them all the time!), the bible was written by disciples of Jesus…big difference.

  • jen

    it’s a risk worth taking because they get paid for the show. If as K says most polygamous families depend on welfare to survive then I can understand why they would maybe want a large paycheck. I won’t watch this show anymore then I would watch any of the other reality shows TLC produces. They are all just awful

    • M

      I think the guy also has a huge ego thinking all these women want to be with him. That may make it all worth it for him.

    • Grace

      with you on that Jen! I feel the same way with people supporting their families by having realities shows. already out of hand.

  • M

    I feel like Mills Lane needs to moderate this board; this will get ugly…
    I want a good clean fight! no hitting below the belt!
    Lets get it (the discussion) on!

  • rolise

    At least these women are all of legal age. It is the poligamists who marry teenagers and justify it by religious beliefs that are the problem.

  • Tricia

    I don’t know that poligamy is much different than a guy that goes out & knocks up multiple women???

    • dood

      …like your average pro-sports player.

      • fizzy


  • Grace

    I wondered how long it would take for authorities to file charges. To think if the families or others like this are receiving assistance too. Time to pay tax payers back people!

    • Minutiae

      But are they receiving assistance? I haven’t seen the show, but if the women aren’t receiving any assistance, then why does the state care? He’s only legally married to one woman. And as someone else posted, if they are receiving assistance, then it should be investigated as fraud.

    • fizzy

      Seriously doubt THIS family is receiving aid. They wouldn’t risk that to be on TV.

      • Laina

        Whatever they were paid it must have been a lot. The legal wife risked her anonymity and lost her job because of being on the show.

    • ddp

      So I guess you feel it should be illegal to have children with multiple women who all end up on welfare?

    • scholarly122

      Um…I’m willing to bet that Kody and his ‘sister wives” are making more money from one show than you are all year…just a guess, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t on welfare!

  • vern

    I have known this family for many years. They and good people in every way. The polygamist group they belong to does not marry off little girls to old men or advocate welfare fraud. I think people are amazed to find out that there can be a functional family with more than one mom. One thing I can tell you is that what is portrayed on the show is exactly what they are like.

    I have a suggestion: Why not start prosecuting adulterers. I am talking about people who break up other marriages just for the sake of having an affair. These people don’t care who they hurt. The damage done by adultery is far more damaging to individuals and society than polygamy when it is properly (and Kody is doing a good job)

    I say leave them alone and enjoy the show. This offends you? Watch something else.

    • Josh H

      BUt… what constitues adultery? Because he could court another woman (basically cheating) and call it trying to add another the team.
      The thing that really gets me is this is alright but I’m sure you’re against gay marriage. that makes no sense.

      • Julie

        How is it cheating if all parties know about it and agree to it? Cheating is about breaking agreements.

    • E

      Why is always multiple wives and 1 man? From my understanding he didn’t like the thought of his wives having more husbands. Why not open it up to more people? They’ve already admitted there is jealousy, so it’s not a perfect solution to anyone…except the man.

      • Ames

        B/C the point is to produce as many children as possible.

      • Stormy

        Yeah, because world overpopulation isn’t a problem.

    • @vern

      Why not start prosecuting adulterers? Because it isn’t illegal. Simple enough, why don’t you grasp that? Perhaps your parents were related?

      • J

        Wow you’re a low life…


    I will never watch this show! Just seeing the previews made me sick to my stomach. Hope he gets thrown in jail!!!

    • Larry


  • Stanley


  • Morgane

    Everyone thinks this is all fine and dandy as long as no one is getting hurt, but the damage to women done by this culture is heinous and widespread (and doesn’t involve just giving young girls to men to “marry,” but devaluing women in every way and portraying it as normal and natural.)

    • The Devil

      You must be getting all your polygamy info from TV shows and movies, then. A growing number of polygamous relationships revolve around one girl and many guys, etc. I still think the key to defining our law should be around the words “consent” and “adult.” Sure, the law can make “adult” mean at least 25 yo, but that’s a different debate.

      • Kristen

        I agree with the devil? really? never thought i’d type or utter those words. This “type” of polygamy… its not like with Warren jeffs where this guy is marrying a woman who is 10 or 13. These women are of age, most of them met when they were in their 20s. And they grew up in a polygamist family, and they liked it. So they decided to be in that type of a relationship. The one wife even said she always wanted to be a third wife, not second, not first. She didn’t want to be in a marriage without what they call “sister wives.”

      • K

        So it’s all they know? So is it really a choice then?

  • oshea mann

    They know its wrong to have more than one wife but if he can do it leave him alone

  • Julia

    What is wrong with the state allowing as many consenting, uncoerced relationships /marriages as one wants? My sister has two young children and has often joked that she wouldn’t mind having a “sister wife” to help her with the kids and maybe even give her a break from sexy time with her husband. I’m sure she’s not the only woman who’s thought it might not be so bad! Better than living with your in-laws for help, Ha ha!

  • Penny

    There isn’t a good long term model on how same sex marriage affects children but what’s coming out is there are behavior problems more so in these kids so I’m not supportive of same sex marriage but if they push ss marriage then I’ll go for full support of polygamy and I don’t really agree with that either. It’s all for the guy, just a relgiously afforded reason to be unfaithful to your wife and why then, can’ women have more than 1 husband? Sorry, marriage is for a man and woman

    • Kristen


      • Jay

        It is brought up because they both can be considered “untraditional” marriages.
        I am not saying they are the same, but similar in theory. If one is legal, the other should be too

      • M

        Kristen, the reason they are similar is because marriage is, by the most traditional definition, a spiritual and legal union of a man and a woman. A common viewpoint for those who support gay marriage is that it ‘doesn’t hurt other people’, its a ‘loving, consentual, adult relationship’, and ‘why does the government have the legal right to restrict such a union’. The same questions can be applied to this subject. This is multiple people in a loving, consentual adult relationship. If not one, why not the other? If the government doesn’t have the right to restrict marriage to one man and one woman, why should it have the right to restrict it between many men/women to one man/woman?

    • jury’s out

      It’s a brilliant way for the man to get away with adultery. The first wife is so desperate to keep him that she agrees to his suggestion to move another woman in. Invariably he gets bored because these kind of men seem to have the attention span, horniness and maturity of teenagers-sees another woman and adds her to the roster. Then he can hop from bed to bed to bed whenever he pleases. Not a show I want to watch.

      • scholarly122

        These women are free to leave if they want! What part of this don’t you understand?

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