An unusual show created by TLC in 2010 following the lives of a polygamous family became a hit. Sister Wives was a show about a polygamous family that shared the true meaning of that lifestyle with the world.
With 12 seasons under their belts, the Brown family has shown the world what a truly alternative lifestyle is all about. Due to the show’s success, TLC also produced My Five Wives and Seeking Sister Wife, two other shows about polygamy. My Five Wives only lasted two seasons but Seeking Sister Wife quickly became a sensation.
The Success of Seeking Sister Wife
Seeking Sister Wife follows three families on their journeys to add a new wife to their family, unlike Sister Wives and My Five Wives, which focused on the everyday lives of polygamists. In the show, the Snowden family lives in Georgia, the Briney family in Oregon, and the Alldredge family lives in Nevada.
Every family is different in terms of the number of people, what they believe in, daily obstacles, and pursuits. There are a lot of things you might not know about these families despite the fact that they opened their homes to reality TV.
Hesitant to Join the Show
The Alldredge and Briney families were very hesitant to join the show. Bigamy is illegal, and putting their families on television could jeopardize them.
They are very passionate about their lifestyles and ready to fight for them. As a result of Utah’s anti-bigamy laws, Angela Briney started a movement called “Families, Not Felons.” According to her website, she “is so tired of seeing every other minority group get acceptance or tolerance, but for them, things are moving backward.”
Fighting for What They Believe in
At first, the Alldredges were against the show, but they changed their minds after much thought. On the Alldredge Family Facebook page, Sharis Alldredge wrote, “People do not like what they do not understand, it scares them, and they fight it.
“I realized that this was my moment, and I had to choose whether to remain silent or stand up and make the world a better place for my kids by offering the world a better understanding of who I am and why I chose to live this way.”
Creating a Safer World for Their Children
Sharis felt that joining the show was the right thing to do because it would offer her family and its lifestyle the exposure it needs. She wanted to create a better world for her children where they do not need to be afraid to practice what they believe in.
All three families hoped to change the way bigamy is viewed by participating in the show. Exposing themselves in such a public way would bring a lot of backlash and hatred, but it would also bring understanding and compassion. All three families on the show hope to change the cultural narrative surrounding polygamy.
The Two Shows Are Having a Crossover
The Brown family’s show, Sister Wives, has featured Aspyn Brown for some time, the daughter of Kody Brown and his third wife, Christine Brown. The brother of Vanessa Alldredge, Mitch Thompson, has not been featured in either show, even though the two are engaged. Mitch Thompson does make some appearances in Seeking Sister Wife.
When Aspyn talked about how she met Mitch, she said, “We were raised in the same church group, and I had a little crush on him. We went in different directions.” After that, she decided to give him a call since nothing had transpired since the initial meeting.
Abandoning Her Family’s Lifestyle
The couple began dating, and after a while, Mitch proposed. Mitch shared, “We’ve been dating for a long time, so I just kind of knew that marriage was the next step.” A round-cut diamond ring was displayed on TLC’s website as they announced their engagement.
However, Aspyn has expressed her desire not to follow in either family’s footsteps and live a polygamous life. In 2015, Aspyn said, “I don’t want plural marriages. I kind of feel bad that none of us want to, but it was just not what we were meant to do, I guess.”
The Brown Family Opened the Door
The Brown family has become a household name thanks to Sister Wives, TLC’s most popular show about polygamy. TLC added Seeking Sister Wife to its lineup after the show’s success. Because of this, the Alldredge family has been able to share their lifestyle and beliefs with the world as one of the three families on Seeking Sister Wife.
This career and opportunity are owed to the Brown family, who opened the door for other polygamous families. The Alldredge family has a lot to thank them for.
The Alldredges Met Through the Browns
They have done more than that for them, though. Kody Brown and Jeff Alldredge have been friends for years, and Jeff met Vanessa at the Brown’s house. “We know the Brown family very well,” Sharis, Jeff’s second wife, said on Facebook.
The Brineys have a similar story involving the Alldredges and UFC. According to the Briney family blog, “The Brineys and Alldredges used to have family gatherings at the Alldredge house [to was UFC Fight Night] before filming Seeking Sister Wife.” Who would have thought UFC and polygamy were such a match?
Finding A New Wife
The Snowden family are fan favorites because they are the only family of color and non-religious polygamists on the show. However, Dimitri experienced backlash from fans during one of the episodes. A potential second wife, Jocelyn, was on a first date with Dimitri.
As soon as the date ended, Dimitri and Jocelyn engaged in some “adult activities.” The next morning, Dimitri confessed what had happened to Ashley. While she was dissatisfied with his choices, she wasn’t as upset as many viewers thought she would be.
Dimitri Slept with Another Woman
As soon as the episode aired, the internet voiced its opinion, claiming that the relationship was unbalanced and offensive to women. Dimitri expressed his feelings in an interview, “It hurt that this single moment in time now becomes the single thing people judge your entire being on.
“I think seeing that play out again and have to relive it, being berated by literally thousands of people, I have no other words other than [to say] it did not feel good at all.” Dimitri did not expect the backlash he received from his actions.
Fans Were Disappointed in Ashley
Ashley received a lot of backlash for the incident as well. She was not expecting to be roped in as much as she had been on social media. It shocked Ashley to see how people reacted to the incident. She was a little disappointed by the fan response.
As a result of her quick forgiveness, she was even attacked by fans of the show. She insisted that Dmitri did not cheat on her because cheating is when the other person is unaware. She was completely aware of what Dimitri was doing. The Briney family left Utah before the show aired out of fear that they could be sued for breaking the law.
The Brineys Had to Relocate
Many polygamist families in Utah haven’t been prosecuted, and that has sparked some skepticism online. In addition, the Brineys are not legally married, so it shouldn’t technically violate any laws.
Here’s the tricky part: The anti-bigamy laws in Utah are inconsistently enforced. In most cases, families are safe from legal action if they keep their heads down and don’t cause a stir. As you can imagine, it’s hard to be inconspicuous when you’re on a national TV show. So, the family felt that they had to leave.
A Tough Move for the Family
If the Brineys had stayed in Utah, they would have forced the authorities to take legal action against them because they couldn’t ignore their presence. It is still possible for Drew and April to be affected by the law even though their marriage is the only legal one.
As a result of Utah’s cohabitation laws, the Brineys could be prosecuted for their non-legal marriages because they are treated as common-law marriages. Furthermore, the Briney family faced difficulties relocating. As a result of their lifestyle, they initially put in an offer for a house in Idaho but were rejected. In addition, their home in Utah hasn’t sold.
Jeff Alldredge Has Another Wife
There is a noticeable age gap between Jeff Alldredge and his wives. Jeff has always wanted to live a polygamist lifestyle, but he is currently in his 40s and his wives, Sharis and Vanessa, are much younger. Many fans can’t help but wonder if these are not his first marriages.
Due to all the speculation from fans and viewers of the show, the Alldredges addressed this issue on their official Facebook page. Sharis Alldredge posted, “Jeff was married before Vanessa and I, and he has several other children. Sadly, that marriage is dissolving, and they have been separated for several years now.”
He is Getting a Divorce
Jeff, Vanessa, and Sharis agreed to be in the public eye while Jeff’s previous family did not, so they will not be on the camera. Sadly, fans will not get to see the other family on the show. Even though technically if the divorce is finalized, it will be a third wife, this is a surprise to many fans.
Fans assumed Jeff, Vanessa, and Sharis sought a third wife, not a fourth. Future episodes will have to deal with this interesting situation. After Jeff divorces, he can legally marry one of his current wives. In the future, they may have a special episode about their wedding.
Beginning Their Journey in Polygamy
Unlike the other families, the Snowdens are just starting on their polygamy journey and have not yet found their second wife. All the other families on the show have two or more wives. The Snowden family is just Dimitri and Ashley, but they are looking for a third.
As the only black family on the show, they exemplify a unique aspect of American culture. Their relationship is even more interesting because they are not motivated by religious beliefs. Many polygamist relationships are rooted in religion, but the Snowdens are not religious.
How Dimitri Connected to Polygamy
When Dimitri was in his 20s, he became interested in polygamy. While in a relationship, he began developing strong feelings for other women, which inspired him to study it. His goal was to find a way to express himself freely.
“I came across this construct, this relational construct of polygamy. It seemed to kind of satisfy the ability to live this way meaningfully and also with some sort of fidelity in terms of a family structure.” He found an interest in polygamy beyond religion. Dimitri felt the lifestyle would help him flourish.
How Ashley Connected to Polygamy
Before dating Dimitri, Ashley had studied polygamy. In college, she studied anthropology. There, she came to understand the concept of polygamy and found beauty in the practice. On their first date, they talked about polygamy as a lifestyle.
This was their first one-on-one conversation, and they decided to talk about polygamy. Neither of them was practicing polygamy at the time, but both were interested in pursuing the lifestyle. After that, they turned to the internet to read up on how to actually practice polygamy. They had a shared ideology.
Drew Briney is an Author
Family patriarch Drew Briney is a sci-fi author, but he hasn’t really mentioned it on the show. “Unproven”, his newest book, was released this year. It is an epic sci-fi story about a mage attempting to rescue his people in a world of magic and technology.
He has actually written 10 books. Briney wrote historical books about theology and doctrine before writing his last four sci-fi novels. He hopes to become a New York Times best seller with his new fiction novel. He wants to continue writing fiction and has strayed from academia.
He Used to Be a Juggling Storyteller
As it turns out, a law degree has not stopped his creative pursuits. Juggling has been Briney’s passion for almost two decades. He would often perform at festivals. He was a great juggler and was really able to capture the crowd’s attention.
In 2001, he won Utah’s Best Professional Juggler award. At the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, he was the only juggling storyteller for about 15 years. This time in his life really influenced him to become an author. He went on to write both nonfiction and fiction books inspired by his time as a juggling storyteller.
A Jack of All Trades
Briney’s career history is filled with a long list of various and unexpected positions. He has a pretty interesting background. Prior to starring in Seeking Sister Wife, he studied history, philosophy, and music at Brigham Young University.
While in college, he recorded two albums, playing saxophone with the BYU Jazz department, but he was not interested in a career in music. He went on to teach philosophy at Utah Valley University. In the end, he went on to law school and became a lawyer. After all of that, he is an author.
Lisp or Severe Speech Impediment?
Drew Briney’s second wife, Auralee Briney, pronounces her “R’s” in a peculiar way, so much so that viewers have commented on it. People question why she has not done anything to help her speech impediment. Many took to Twitter with vicious comments on her pronunciations.
One person commented, “No, Auralee, you don’t have a lisp. You can’t say your ‘r’s’, which is far less endearing than a lisp.” Another, more sympathetic viewer Tweeted, “If someone told you that was a lisp, they were clearly mistaken. You have a severe speech impediment.”
Getting Bullied at School
Auralee has dealt with this issue her entire life. She was always made fun of for it. As a result of the bullying, her grandmother told her as a child that her lisp was just a Danish accent due to her Danish heritage. That didn’t really convince her.
Her school told her she had a lisp and that she just had to live with it. As a result of her speech, she feels humiliated by society’s treatment of her. Hopefully, her new therapist will be able to help.
Getting Help from a Speech Therapist
It was on her family blog that Auralee discussed the approach she plans to take in the future to better her speech. “It has been brought to my attention recently from a speech therapist who sounds like they are a lot more knowledgeable than my ‘speech therapist’ in elementary school, that it is not a lisp at all!
“It is just some articulation challenges that, with the proper instruction, I can overcome! I would love that.” This will not only improve her speech but also boost her self-confidence.
The Apostolic United Brethren
Many cultures practice polygamous marriages. While polygyny, polyandry, and group marriages are prevalent in many countries, TLC decided to center its shows around families from one church in the United States called the Apostolic United Brethren.
AUB was founded in the 1950s after the break from the Council of Friends church. It is also known as “The Work,” “The Priesthood,” “The Group,” or even the “Allred Group.” All polygenist families on TLC except the Snowdens were members of the AUB. The four families have each left the church in various ways.
A Sister Wife got Catfished
Each member of the shows on TLC has left the Apostolic United Brethren Church. The Browns were expelled from the church. One wife of the Brown family of Sister Wives was excommunicated.
She had an online affair that turned out to be a catfish. As a result, she was forced to leave. The Alldredge and Briney families still practice, but they worship in the privacy of their homes. The reasons for this are undisclosed, but some say it is due to the Williams family, who stars in My Five Wives.
Scandal in the Church
There was a scandal between the Williams family and the church. AUB’s current leader, Lynn A. Thompson, is the mother of Rosemary Williams, the Williams’ third wife. According to Williams, Thompson treated her inappropriately as a child.
Due to this shocking allegation, many members left the church to practice their faith at home or joined a new group called “The Second Ward.” Neither Williams nor her family filed any charges against Lynn A. Thompson because they believe charges wouldn’t be brought and nothing would come of it.
What Does Dimitri Do?
Dimitri Snowden has an interesting and tumultuous career outside of starring in the show. Currently, he is the owner and operator of four online businesses, such as Cognita, Defense Bag, Railroad Service Express, and Optimus.
According to Snowden’s website, he is an “ontological architect and change agent.” But what does that mean? Continuing, he says that what people design, designs them back. Therefore, the digital journey he designs for his customers “will be redesigned by them.” His technology seems to be infused with a confusing philosophy that may not always come across as intended.
Sued By a Charter School
Snowden’s IT company, ion360, landed a contract in 2011 after he co-founded a charter school. Additionally, he had a contract with KIPP Academy, another charter school. They ended up suing him for fraud. He was fired from the other charter school and handed a similar lawsuit, but they eventually dropped the charges.
Then, Snowden built a robot called AWSM (Autonomous Working Smart Machine), which he donated to Cho’s Construction Engineering Research Lab. His other companies produce survival gear, railroad software, and small robots that can be rented for presentations.
The Brineys Told Their Kids to Lie
One of the Brineys’ earliest episodes featured the family sitting down to discuss a serious matter with all 13 children. Drew noticed that there had been a lot of stares and conversations about his family and its lifestyle in the neighborhood. He was concerned the neighbors might turn to the police.
As a result of Drew’s concerns, the wives and their children decided to have a tough talk. As a means of protecting each other, the kids were told to lie about their families. Many people criticized this on the internet. Consequently, the family decided to write a lengthy blog post on social media about the issue.
The Brineys Address the Backlash
Angela addressed the backlash from viewers saying, “The thought that is being projected by viewers who protest is a blanket outcry on teaching your kids to lie, no matter the subject or situation.”
Angela goes on to say that they do not teach their kids to lie in any situation, they taught them to lie to protect the family. Those are two very different things, and the family wanted to stress that. The latter is justifiable. The family was very enraged by the backlash because they felt they were doing the right thing.
Not All Polygamists Grew Up That Way
There is a common misconception that polygamists come from other polygamists, but that is not the case for most of the cast of Seeking Sister Wife. The Snowdens were not raised in polygamous families.
Dimitri’s desire to have a large family and his and Ashley’s interest in the community led them to adopt the lifestyle. They had learned about the lifestyle in different settings before they even met. Upon meeting, they bonded over this shared ideology. Together, they looked into adopting this lifestyle.
The Briney Family Journey to Polygamy
The Briney family is also new to it. In their monogamous homes growing up, Drew, April, and Angela were never taught about polygamy. Drew Briney grew up in a non-religious home. His father was so against religion that he grounded his son for attending church.
Drew joined the LDS church at the end of high school. Later, he served a French-speaking LDS mission in Quebec, Canada, and went on to study at Brigham Young University. During that time, he also married April, his first wife, who was an LDS member.
How The Briney Family Met Angela
April and Drew were given some material to read by a student at Utah Valley University who belonged to the Apostolic United Brethren Church. After learning about their faith, Drew and April became polygamists, leaving the LDS Church and joining the AUB faith.
As for their second wife, Angela, who’s in her early 20s, Angela joined the LDS church and was married before she met Drew. The couple met other fundamentalists and decided to leave the LDS church and join the polygamist lifestyle. In the end, they divorced, and Angela joined the Briney family.
Why Did Vanessa Leave the Snowdens?
Ashley and Dimitri seemed to have found their match in Season 2 when they met Vanessa Cobbs. During Season 2, Vanessa, Dimitri, and Ashley were married in a beautiful spiritual ceremony after their courtship and engagement.
Even though it seemed like Dimitri and his two wives would live happily ever after, during the Season 2 tell-all Vanessa revealed that she broke up with Dimitri after the season ended. She explained, “I love Ashley, Dimitri, and the children so much, and will continue to do so always. However, my love and commitment to them overshadowed my love and commitment to myself.”
Taylor Left the Family During COVID-19
In Season 3, Dimitri and Ashley welcomed two new sister wives into their family: Tayler Middleton and Christeline “Chrissy” Petersen. When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, the family invited Tayler and Chrissy, as well as Chrissy’s two children, to live with them.
The family decided that Dimitri and Tayler would go out and try to find work to support the family, while Chrissy and Ashley would stay home to care for the children. Tayler left California several weeks into the lockdown to visit her family in Dallas and never returned. After six weeks, she ended her relationship with Dimitri through a video.
Chrissy and Dimitri Are Getting Divorced
After Dimitri and Tayler broke up, the relationship with Chrissy seemed to be moving forward without any drama. In fact, it was going so well that he decided to propose to her. They got married pretty quickly after.
The stress of the pandemic, however, also led to a split between him and Chrissy. She decided to leave the Snowden family. In May 2021, Dimitri filed for divorce from Chrissy. In March 2022, they were declared legally single by the court while the process was ongoing. The divorce has not yet been finalized.
The Snowdens Have Split
In 2021, Ashley and Dimitri were once again alone in their plural marriage. While their relationship did not suffer from their breakup with Tayler, Chrissy, or the pandemic, it seems all of the drama took its toll on their relationship.
Several months of speculation led Ashley to confirm that Dimitri and she split up. Ashley posted a photo on Instagram in July 2021 with a lengthy caption explaining the situation and urging people to stop prying into her personal relationship. She has since deleted the post from her Instagram feed.
Fans Can’t Wait for Season 4
Seeking Sister Wife is back for a Season 4 filled with drama and couples searching for new relationships. Fans are thrilled for another season of the hit reality polygamy show. Garrick and Dannielle Merrifield joined the show in Season 3 and returned for Season 4.
Garrick was part of a decade-long monogamous relationship, but he and his partner decided to change things up because he felt God was guiding him to live a plural marriage lifestyle. In the new season, the couple is searching for another partner to join their family.