Kody and Meri Brown are opening up about their rocky relationship, which remains at a years-long standstill.
On Sunday's episode of Sister Wives, Kody's four wives — Christine, Janelle, Meri and Robyn — were hunkered down in their respective homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which came not long after the family got together to discuss the disconnect in their relationships.
Already living apart in four separate homes in Flagstaff, Arizona, the onset of the pandemic only deepened the sense of separation that had emerged among the plural family. (Kody and his wives have a combined 18 children.)
But for Kody, 52, and Meri, 50, not seeing one another frequently wasn't much of a change.
"They say that a person needs four hugs a day just to survive. People probably are not getting four hugs a day right now. I love hugs and touch, from the appropriate person, you know what I mean?" Meri said in a confessional. "And when you don't have that, it feels really, really lonely."
"I'm really careful about pushing Kody, because I don't want him to feel like I'm being demanding or pushy or anything like that," she continued. "You know, I don't know what Kody is going to be doing after the two-week quarantine. I don't know what his plans are — I can't speak to that, honestly."
Meri then revealed that while Kody — who was the only one going back and forth between the homes — visited her fellow three sister wives, he didn't come to her house much.
"He doesn't typically come to my house very often. Maybe now that Mariah and Audrey are here, he might come and visit with them at the end of the two weeks," Meri told cameras. (On last week's episode, Kody and Meri's daughter, Mariah, and her fiancée, Audrey Kriss, left Chicago and temporarily relocated to Flagstaff to self-isolate with Meri.)
She added: "But he basically is just going to be going between Janelle and Christine and Robyn, that's typically what he does. Just calling it like it is."
And Kody acknowledged that he was only seeing his first wife "once in a blue moon," saying they "quit dating" in large part because he stopped pursuing her.
"There's just been nothing going on between me and Meri," he told cameras. "She interacts with the family for the holidays and the birthdays, we get together once in a while, I see Meri once in a blue moon, but we quit dating and that's just probably because I quit calling her to say, 'Let's go do something.'"
Kody wed Meri in April 1990. Three years later, the pair welcomed sister wife Janelle into their plural marriage, who was followed in 1994 by Christine. Most recently, Robyn joined the Brown family as Kody's fourth wife in 2010.
Though Kody was originally legally married to only Meri, she agreed to divorce him so that he could tie the knot with Robyn in 2014 — a legal change that allowed Robyn's three kids from her previous marriage to access the same insurance and other benefits as the rest of Kody's children.
Despite the legality of the divorce, Kody considers himself to be spiritually married to all four wives.
But his relationship with Meri has been strained for years. In 2015, Meri dropped the shocking bombshell that she'd been "catfished" after having an online relationship with someone she thought was a man, but was actually a woman. Attempting to repair their relationship, Kody and Meri entered therapy to deal with the emotional fallout from the scandal.
A few years after the drama, in 2018, Kody admitted that he didn't desire to be intimate with Meri.
Speaking for both himself and Meri, Kody told cameras on a previous episode that "neither of us see real value in the relationship. Because if Meri and I really wanted to be together, we would."
Sister Wives airs Sundays (10 p.m. ET) on TLC.
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