“Sister Wives” didn’t waste any time addressing Meri Brown’s catfishing scandal in the Season 7 premiere of the hit TLC reality drama. In fact, the series delved deep into the controversial topic of Meri’s emotional infidelity when the show made its anticipated return to the small screen Sunday night.
Robyn begins the two-hour premiere stating that since the Brown family returned from their vacation to Alaska “everything has changed” — including their family dynamic when Meri finally revealed her jaw-dropping news. According to Kody’s first wife, she began to tell her husband and fellow sister wives about getting catfished on their family vacation — which viewers saw in the Season 6 finale — but instead she decided to keep her lips sealed, not wanting to end their incredible trip on a “horrible note.”
So, she waited to tell her family that a woman pretending to be a man had duped her when they were in Colorado, visiting Hunter for parents’ weekend.
“I ended up in Robyn’s hotel room one night and told her what was going on,” Meri says during the family’s first therapy session in episode 1, titled “Catfishing Fallout.”
Robyn recounts the night, stating that Meri “was very nervous” when she finally opened up about what was happening to her. “I could tell she was really embarrassed. She was worried I was going to judge her and she sat there and told me some pretty horrifying things that had happened to her — things that she’s still dealing with.”
Meri divulges during the therapy session that the person who was blackmailing her online had threatened both her and her family.
“[They said] you don’t want to mess with me,” Meri explains. But, Robyn encouraged Meri to open up to the rest of the family with the burden she’s been carrying all alone. A week later, she told her family the grief she’s been dealing with — and they were shocked to say the least.
Janelle says “this [was] a huge wake-up call” for her. Sure, she’s read about catfishing scandals in magazines but no one she knew — especially someone she loves who is living next door to her — had experienced it themselves. Christine is also disgusted to learn what her sister wife has been dealing with.
“That is just evil to create all these identities to deceive people,” Kody’s third wife says in a confessional.
But how is Kody handling Meri’s emotional online affair? The patriarch of the plural family explains that he “should have tried staying close to [Meri] when she tried to shut [him] out.”
“That was my fault,” he adds before addressing the questions he had about what had happened. Kody explains that he felt “kicked to the curb” when Meri secluded herself and thought that Meri “didn’t want out of the family” but that she wanted out of the relationship with him.
“Is that right? Because, that’s how I feel,” he tells her during therapy. Meri replies, stating that yes, she was angry with Kody for not taking better care of their relationship because if he did then maybe she wouldn’t have been in this predicament. But she also is angry at the person who attacked her and herself for “bringing [the chaos] into the family.”
Meri concludes the Season 7 premiere by stating that the uphill battle isn’t over for her or her family yet. “There’s still a lot of stuff to figure out and we still have this person doing things and causing problems for us,” she explains in a confessional before the camera cuts to her breaking down in therapy.
Kody rushes to his wife’s side, wraps his arms around her and consoles her. “I’m sorry this happened. We’ll be here for you,” he says.
“Sister Wives” airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. EDT on TLC.