"It feels like Kody and I are no longer gonna be a couple," says Janelle after she and her polygamist husband get into it over their children, "gaslighting" and respect.
The relationship between Sister Wives stars Kody and Janelle Brown may be beyond repair, after a conversation about the holidays ended with the two screaming at each other.
The family dynamic had already been tense thanks to Covid restrictions Kody placed on them all during 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.
It all got very messy, leading to a giant fracture in the family and between Kody and his children. At one point, he demanded the boys apologize to him, before changing his tune to simply wanting to have a conversation with them about everything that went down. That never happened and tensions only got worse.
As the fallout continued into Winter 2022, Janelle planned to celebrate Christmas on her own with her kids ... after doing the same for Thanksgiving. Her plan was to rent an Airbnb for them, splitting the cost with ex-wife Christine, who would then take over with her kids after Christmas.
"As much as it's probably my fault, it's like a knife right through my heart," Kody said of her plan on Sunday's new episode of the TLC show, adding that her decision was "just absolutely heartbreaking to me."
He told her he had no intention of coming over to her rental, however, saying that he had his own house where he'll be celebrating Christmas with everyone else ... or at least with Robyn, Meri and their children.
As he expressed frustration over the apparent communication disconnects in the family, Janelle then told him to call the boys himself to clear things up. "You always put it back on me," she told him. In a confessional, she added, "It still surprises me Kody feels like it's my responsibility to facilitate this relationship between he and his children. He's a parent as much as I am."
Kody simply said "the phone goes both ways" and he's "been available to talk to them," without saying whether he had proactively reached out at all. Janelle, meanwhile, said she didn't want to be the middle-man anymore, feeling like she was being forced to choose between her husband and her children, a position she did not want to be in.
As they continued to fight about the rules he imposed on the family during Covid and his apparent lack of clarity, Kody said he felt like he was "being gaslit" by his wife. She felt the exact same way, saying he was gaslighting her and accusing him of making her the bad guy in the situation.
"You need to stop throwing me under the bus," he exclaimed, as she pushed back -- saying he was acting like the family drama was all her fault. When he said she wasn't taking responsibility of her own actions, she again fought back, saying she did nothing wrong but still felt like nothing was "ever good enough" for Kody. He then asked whether she even wanted "this situation between you and I to work," a question she threw back at him. They were clearly at a stalemate.
"I agreed to the CDC rules. You had more and it was never good enough, Kody," said Janelle. "I wasn't going to turn my boys out in the middle of the pandemic."
As they again continued to argue about whether Kody demanded an apology from the boys or not, Janelle said it was something he "yelled" at her "many, many times." He then admitted he was "angry" about the situation -- adding, "The lack of loyalty, the lack of trust, the lies, the gaslighting. I'm trying to make you be responsible in a relationship."
Janelle then said Kody issues with his kids run "way deeper" than disagreements over Covid. "The kids are very frustrated for a lot of reasons," she said, adding, "You're acting like it's just that they disrespected you for Covid." He, however, accused the kids of "lying" and blaming Robyn for the drama between them, before claiming he tried to unite the family and felt like he was "Atlas carrying this family on my shoulders."
"I think you decided you didn't want to be a plural husband anymore," Janelle then claimed, shockingly. She felt his behavior was meant to push her out the door, adding that he doesn't even visit her anymore and she never has any idea when "you're gonna come" by.
"You undermined the basic rules I had. You made fun of me to the boys," he countered. "If you ever had my back, have you ever been a team with me? Have we ever coparented? You coparent with Christine, why?"
"There's a problem in the family, a problem that needs to be solved, everything's too hot now and everyone thinks I'm the bad guy," he continued. "I don't expect to see anyone at Christmas. You have cheated me out of my contact with my family."
As they continued to talk over one another during the fight, a fed up Janelle finally exclaimed, "Shut your f---ing mouth and let me talk to you for a minute. You keep cutting me off!"
Kody was livid, getting up from the couch and saying he no longer expected her to "back me up" going forward.
"I don't expect you to try and help us coparent the kids. That's too late, we're never going to do that," he yelled. "So what partnership do we have? I've been here day long, in and out for all these years, without your support while you were deciding what you were doing without consulting me. I'm done listening to you."
He then made his way toward the door as she pleaded with him to stay. "I'm not going to because you're not listening," he said, shutting the door behind him. Janelle yelled "F--- you!" to Kody as he left, before telling producers to shut down the cameras.
After the outburst, Janelle called it "shocking" in a confessional.
"I was really upset when he left, because it feels like there's a finality to it and I now I'm worried about what happens to me," she said. "Moving forward, do I live here, do I build? It feels like Kody and I are no longer gonna be a couple, it was that dramatic. There had been so much buildup and not so much the words -- which were very harsh -- but just the feeling was like, 'We're done.'"
She added that she called him after he left and told him to come collect his things from her place. "In my mind, he is out of the house," said Janelle, who went on to express her belief that Kody shuts out wives who has issues with, wanting them to be the ones who walk away so he doesn't look bad. "It feels like he wants you to say it's over because he doesn't want the responsibility of being the husband who says, 'I don't want to be married with you anymore,'" she added.
Later in the episode, Kody was seen detailing his "big blow up" with Janelle to wives Robyn and Meri.
"I think [Christine and Janelle are] trying to shut me out because they're mad at me," he said. "We didn't talk, we yelled at each other. We threw rocks at glass houses. I don't even know what I was yelling."
He went on to claim that he's "reached out to basically everybody," referring to his sons -- sharing his belief that everyone in the family is "sort of making up a story about me" and that Janelle is "colluding" with the boys to make him look bad.
The three of them then discussed what they were going to do for the holidays, deciding that Meri would host the family on Christmas Eve, while Robyn would have people over on Christmas Day. Meri, however, was unsure whether she should invite the rest of the family, feeling as though she was in a really "awkward" position.
"I'm not saying this to be a jerk ... you've got Christine who left, Janelle who you're at odds with, I'm like the third wheel because I'm just here. I don't know what to do," she told Kody. "Do I call them and have them over when you guys are all at odds? I don't know what to do."
While Robyn wished they could just let bygones be bygones and get together for the holidays, she knew there would likely be a fight if they did. Kody, meanwhile, said he would rather "just be around people who want to be around me," saying he wasn't in a place to speak with Janelle since they "crossed a line" with their argument. He added that he needed some time, hoping they could speak again "about what we want in our lives, because I'm not sure she wants me in hers."
In the end, Meri decided she probably wouldn't invite Christine, Janelle or their kids over for Christmas Eve.
New episodes of Sister Wives drops Sundays on TLC, MAX and Discovery+