“The last two years have been really hard,” said Janelle’s son Gabriel, while the kids and Kody threw the blame at each other for the tension between them.
The holidays were a little less happy for Sister Wives star Kody Brown in 2022.
While the reality TV star is father to 18 children with four women — Robyn, Meri, Janelle and Christine Brown — he only saw a small fraction of them for Christmas last year, as seen on Sunday’s new episode of the TLC show.
Saying things were “not as Christmasy as it should be,” Kody only spent Christmas and Christmas Eve with wives Meri and Robyn and his children with the latter. Christine, who left Kody, celebrated separately with her kids, while Janelle — who had a massive fight with Kody after Thanksgiving — did the same.
The family dynamic really splintered after Kody placed restrictions on the family during Covid lockdown. He felt some of the kids — especially his sons with Janelle — weren’t respecting his orders and were prioritizing their social lives over safety; they, however, felt he was prioritizing his family with wife Robyn over everyone else. Following the blowout between Kody and Janelle, she and her kids said on Sunday’s episode that he didn’t reach out at all over Christmas.
“No text, no conversation and he hasn’t been in contact with Savanah either,” said Janelle, who hadn’t yet told her kids about the argument she had with their father.
Speaking in a confessional alongside siblings Savanah and Garrison, the couple’s son Gabriel said “the last two years have been really hard” for them. “I am glad to maintain a pretty happy relationship with a lot of my family. I can’t help but feel like we’ve kept the door open when some haven’t,” he claimed.
“We were one big family and now we’re kind of separate,” added Savanah, before Garrison said they had all reached out “and tried to be open” with their father — only to have been “neglected and overlooked for offenses that were believed to have happened, but they never did.”
Kody, however, denied their account — adding in his own confessional that “they idea they wanted to connect with Robyn and our kids or Robyn and I rejecting them is not true.” He said he reached out to them repeatedly, “only to get rejection” himself, before saying the kids were “not being fair.”
While Janelle wasn’t expecting to see Kody at all on Christmas Day, she hoped he would at least connect with Savanah, who she felt “has done nothing to you.” That, it seems, never happened.
“I feel overwhelming relief, but there is a little bit of a sadness that Kody is not showing up for his kids,” said Janelle. “For the last 30 years I’ve celebrated Christmas as a family. This feels good, this feels peaceful, this feels joyful. I kind of told the kids their dad and I had a bad fight that we’re probably not coming back from. My kids weren’t surprised. They’ve observed our relationship for several years and thought maybe it was time to find something different, find something better.”
Savanah went on to say the Christmas they had on their own was “very quiet” but also “pleasant,” while Gabriel said he found himself “enjoying it a lot.”
After Janelle said she didn’t hear from anybody else in the family on the holiday, Kody claimed it was her decision to celebrate separately and he didn’t “see the point” in trying to fix things. “Janelle was just as absent as I was,” he continued, saying she was “out of mind and out of sight” for him — before adding, “My loyal wife and my children, we want something special, so I am blocking everything else out for today.”
Christine, Janelle and their kids did get together in the days following Christmas, with Gabriel saying they all still had a “completely while relationship” despite Christine’s decision to leave Kody. “I feel like dad didn’t make enough effort this year and maybe Robyn too. I definitely feel not necessarily slighted by them but absolutely neglected,” he added.
Robyn, however, claimed the boys didn’t want to be around her, her kids or Kody for the holidays — something she said was “very heartbreaking” for her. “If I would have thought for one second they were open to having anything to do with us for Christmas, I would have just pushed and tried to make it happen,” she added, getting choked up.
While Kody did eventually have a belated celebration with his daughters with Christine — Mykelti, Truely and Ysabel — Janelle claimed there was “no communication” from him regarding their daughter Savanah.
“She’s not said, ‘I want to go see dad,’ and he’s not called her and said, ‘Do you want to come over?'” she shared. “I’m kind of thinking he should call and say, ‘I want to see you.’ I don’t think it’s her place to chase him and say, ‘I want to see you, dad.”
Though they all felt Mykelti was the “the bridge” in the family and “neutral” when it comes to all the drama, Robyn went on to claim Christine wanted nothing to do with her or her children after leaving their plural marriage. “Christine, before she left Flagstaff and Kody, she told me she didn’t want to have a relationship with me and my kids,” said Robyn — who added that Christine would have her “blessing” to remain close with her children, if that was something both parties actually wanted. Christine wasn’t seen reacting to that claim.
“I don’t know what our family looks like a year from now,” Kody admitted at the end of the episode. “This whole breakup thing and the whole fight with Janelle is leaving me in pretty deep sorrow. I’m struggling to reach out to my kids anymore because Janelle’s household is the source of my pain.”
He added that while he knew “there’s some things that I gotta change” about himself, he said he wasn’t “ready” to do that just yet.
We’ll see how that works out for him when new episodes of Sister Wives air Sundays on TLC, MAX and Discovery+