There are few things in life you can always be certain of: Kanye West will cause a stir in the media, fandom factions will never really resolve their differences, and TLC will have a show about polygamy.
TLC took a chance in 2010 by creating a show that would follow the lives of a polygamous family, and it would go on to become a hit.
Twelve seasons strong and still going, the Brown family has shown the world a truly alternative lifestyle. Because of the success of the Sister Wives, TLC has produced two other shows about polygamy, My Five Wives, which only lasted two seasons, and its newest show, Seeking Sister Wife.
While Sister Wives and My Five Wives were reality shows centered on the everyday life of polygamists, Seeking Sister Wife follows three families on their journey to add a new wife to their family.
The show follows the lives of the Snowdens in Georgia, The Brineys in Oregon, and the Alldredges in Nevada. Each family varies in size, beliefs, challenges and motivations.
Although these families have opened their homes to the world, there are still a lot of surprises about them you may not know.
Here are the 15 Secrets Behind TLC’s Seeking Sister Wife!
15 The Alldredge And Briney Family See Their Participation In The Show As Statement
When first approached to be on the show, both families were leery of it. Bigamy is illegal and putting their families in the spotlight might endanger them.
Angela Briney even started a movement named “Families, Not Felons” to fight Utah’s anti-Bigamy laws. Her website states she that is "so tired of seeing every other minority group get acceptance or tolerance, but for them, things are moving backwards.”
The Alldregese initially said no to the show but, after giving it some thought, they changed their minds.
Sharis wrote on the Alldredge Family Facebook page, “People don’t like what they don’t understand, it scares them and they fight against 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."
"I realized this was my moment to choose between what was right and what was easy. I found myself asking ‘Who would I be if I turn down this opportunity to stand up for something I believe in because of fear?’ I realized that if I allowed things to continue in the way they have been that my kids will grow up with the same fears that I did, and I didn’t want that.”
All three families on the show hope to change the cultural narrative of polygamy.
14 14.Sister Wives And Seeking Sister Wife Are Having A Crossover Event
Aspyn Brown is the daughter of Kody Brown and his third wife, Christine Brown, and has been featured on the families' show for some time.
Mitch Thompson, however, hasn’t really been featured in either show, but he is the brother of Vanessa Alldredge.
Speaking about how they met, Aspyn related, “We were raised in the same church group, and I had a little crush on him. We went different directions until a rally some of my family attended in Utah, where we both happened to be."
"My dad's brother asked whatever happened between us, which was nothing because neither of us did anything about it. So, I decided to call him," she said.
They started dating and after some time, Mitch popped the question. "We've been dating for a long time, so I just kind of knew that marriage was the next step," Mitch said.
They announced their engagement on TLC’s website and showed off her round-cut diamond ring. Speaking of their future, though, Aspyn has expressed that she will not follow in either of their families footsteps to live a polygamous life style.
"I don't want to do plural marriage," Aspyn said in 2015. "I kind of feel bad that none of us want to, but it was just not what we were meant to do I guess."
13 Jeff And Venessa Met At Kody Brown’s Home
Sister Wives is TLC’s most popular show about polygamy and has catapulted the Brown family into the mainstream discussion about alternative families. Due to the success of the show, Seeking Sister Wife was greenlit to be added to the TLC family.
This has now given the Alldredge family a platform to share their beliefs and lifestyle with the world. They are indebted to the Brown family for this opportunity and career.
However, that isn’t all the Browns have done for them. Jeff Alldredge and Kody Brown have been friends for years and it was at the Brown’s home that Jeff met his first wife, Vanessa.
Sharis, Jeff’s second wife, explained on Facebook, “We know the Brown family really well. Jeff and Kody go way back … Before they moved to Vegas, we would go to their house about once a month to watch UFC. Jeff and Vanessa [actually] met at Kody's!"
To take it a step further, the Brineys have a similar story involving the Alldredges and UFC. On the Briney family blog they wrote, “Before filming Seeking Sister Wife, the Brineys and Alldredges used to have family get togethers on UFC Fight Nights and it was at the Alldredge house that the Brineys met Angela.”
Who knew that UFC and polygamy would go so well together?
12 Despite Popular Belief, They Are Not Actually Mormon
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, and a major pillar of the faith is a seperate set of scriptures called The Book of Mormon. A common nickname given to members of the LDS church was “Mormon.”
This nickname has stuck, even though officially members are called Latter-Day Saints. Since the church’s inception, there have been several denominations in the Latter-Day Saint movement. When they broke away from the original church they created new names for their organizations and members.
For example, members of the Community of Christ (created in 1860) go by Latter Day Saints and refuse to be called Mormons. Church of Christ (created in 1852) were called “Hedrickites,” after their founder, Granville Hedrick.
Rigdonites, Strangites, Bickertonite, etc. Every church that splits from the original LDS Church does not go by Mormon.
The Alldredge and Briney Families are from the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) which is a shoot off of the Council of Friends which was a shoot off from the LDS Church. In fact, the Briney’s don’t even attend their AUB any longer.
To call them Mormon is akin to calling a Lutheran a Catholic.
There are some common origins and beliefs but it is inaccurate when people use the term “Mormon” to describe polygamists who are part of a movement that left the original “Mormon” church almost 100 years ago.
The LDS church abandoned the practice of polygamy in 1893 and is strongly opposed to it now.
11 Dimitri Slept With Another Woman... But He Wasn't Unfaithful
As the only family of color and polygamists not motivated by religious belief on the show, the Snowdens have become fan favorites.
However, while in the lime light, Dimitri felt the backlash of the Twittersphere. During an episode, Dimitri went on a first date with Jocelyn, a potential second wife.
After the date was over they went off screen and engaged in some “adult activities.” The next day Dimitri confessed to Ashley what happened the night before.
She was not pleased with his choices but not as upset as many assumed.
After the episode aired the internet was quick to voice its opinion, many stating that the relationship is unbalanced and offensive towards women.
“It hurt that this single moment in time now becomes the single thing people judge your entire being on,” Dimitri said in an interview. “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.”
Ashley was shocked and little disappointed in people’s reactions to the incident. She was even attacked for forgiving him so quickly. But she is adamant that he didn’t cheat on her.
“I thought it was interesting, because cheating is when you’re not aware that the person is going to [sleep with someone else]. I was completely aware that Dimitri would [sleep] with this woman, it just happened out of order.”
10 The Briney Family’s Move To Oregon Was Difficult
Before the show aired, the Brineys decided to leave Utah out of fear of legal action that could be taken against them.
This has caused some skepticism online due to the number of polygamist families living in Utah who haven’t been prosecuted.
Also, the Brineys are not legally married to each other, so how is it breaking the law? Well, this is where it gets a little complicated.
Utah’s anti-bigamy laws are somewhat selectively enforced. If families keep their heads down and do not make waves, they will most likely be safe from any legal actions.
However, being on a national TV show doesn’t really allow one to be inconspicuous. If the Brineys stayed, the authorities wouldn’t be able to ignore their presence and would be forced to take legal action against them.
Even though Drew and April are the only legal marriage, the law can still affect them. This is in relation to Utah’s cohabitation laws, which would essentially see the non-legal marriages as common law marriages, opening the Brineys up to prosecution.
On top of all the legal issues, the Brineys had a hard time relocating. They originally had put in an offer for a home in Idaho but where rejected based on their lifestyle. They also haven’t been able to sell their home in Utah.
Drew wrote on their blog, “We’ve had our house under contract 3x in 2 months – 3rd one just fell through.”
It will be interesting to see how this plays out on the show.
9 Jeff Alldredge Has Another Wife Not On The Show
Many have noticed that there is an age difference between Jeff Alldredge and his wives.
According to Jeff, he has always wanted to live as a polygamist, but he is in his 40s or older, and many fans have wondered if his relationship with Sharis and Vanessa, his two younger wives, could not be his first marriages.
The Alldredges decided to address this and shed some light on their offical Facebook page.
Sharis Alldredge wrote “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. Jeff, Vanessa and I decided to do this show and be in the public eye. Jeff’s previous family did not…so out of respect for them we try not to talk about them, other than the fact that they exist.”
It looks like there is a whole other family that fans will not get to see on the show.
This is a surprise to many fans, because the assumption has been that they are looking for their third wife, not their fourth, although technically if the divorce goes through then it will be a third wife.
This poses an interesting situation for future episodes. Once Jeff is divorced he can legally marry one of his current wives. Perhaps they will have a special wedding episode in the future.
8 The Snowden’s Choice To Be Polygamists Has Nothing To Do With Religion
Unlike the other families, the Snowden’s journey into polygyny is just beginning, as they haven’t found their second wife yet. They also represent a different subset in an American culture being the only black family on the show.
However, the most unique aspect about their relationship is that they are not motivated by religious beliefs.
Dimitri became interested in polygamy when he was in his 20s. He began to study it when he started to have strong feelings for other women while he was in a relationship.
He wanted to find a way to express that freely. “So, I think as I started trying to just read and understand, 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.”
Ashley had previously studied it before dating Dimitri. “I studied anthropology, and that is how I came into my understanding of what polygamy was and how beautiful I thought it was.”
The couple discussed the lifestyle on their first date. Ashley revealed, “Our first one-on-one conversation was exactly that. We discussed it day zero. We were like ‘Ok, let’s take to the Internet and see how it’s done.'"
"I loved the aspect of community and multiple women working together to have a family … And from there, we just learned how to develop into who we are and how we wanted to live,” she said.
7 Drew Briney Is A Sci-Fi Author
It hasn’t really been mentioned on the show, but Drew Briney, the patriarch of the family, writes sci-fi books. He has actually written ten books and just released his latest book, Unproven, this year.
Briney actually has a pretty interesting career history. Long before starring in a reality show, he studied history, philosophy and music at Brigham Young University and then entered their Law Program.
Even though he recorded two albums with the BYU Jazz department playing saxophone, Briney never pursued a musical career. Instead he taught Philosophy at Utah Valley University for a time and became a lawyer.
However, this never stopped him from pursuing his creative goals. For almost twenty years, Briney has been juggling at festivals and in competitions.
He even won Utah’s Best Professional Juggler award in 2001. For about fifteen years, he was the only juggling story teller at the Timpanogas Storytelling Festival.
This all must have been good practice for his writing because he would go on to write both nonfiction and fiction throughout his life.
His latest book is a sci-fi epic about a mage trying to rescue his people and navigate a world of technology and magic.
Prior to his last four sci-fi books, Briney wrote historical books about theology and doctrine. He hopes his new fiction adventures will make him a New York best seller.
6 Auralee Briney Doesn’t Technically Have A Lisp
Auralee Briney, the second wife of Drew Briney, has a peculiar way of pronouncing her “R’s.” So much so that viewers of been commenting on it, chiming in with their own diagnoses.
"No, Auralee, you don’t have a lisp. You can’t say your 'r's, which is far less endearing than a lisp," a heckler tweeted, and another wrote, "If someone told you that was a lisp they were clearly mistaken. You have a severe speech impediment. Why haven’t you gotten help for it? I heard at least one of the kids struggling with it too."
This has been an issue for Auralee her whole life. As a child her grandmother would tell her that, because of her heritage, she just had a Danish accent.
She didn’t really buy that. Her school told her it was a lisp and she just accepted that explanation for many years.
On her family blog, she wrote about how she is going to approach her speech in the future.
"It has been brought to my attention recently from a speech therapist who sounds like they are a lot more knowledgeable then 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,” she said.
This will be good for her speech and her self-esteem. She has expressed feeling “humiliated” by the way people have treated her due of her speech. Hopefully her new therapist can help.
5 Polygamous Terminology Can Be Tricky, Even For Those Living It
Although the term polygamy is used frequently by the show and those participating, it isn’t exactly the correct term.
Polygamy has a broad definition that simply means to marry more than one person, no gender specified. The legal term for it is bigamy, which is to marry a person while still legally married to another.
Since bigamy is illegal in all states, every family on the show has to find ways around this.
The Snowdens are not legally married in an effort to keep everyone equal and safe from the law. The Brineys and Alldredges have one legal marriage and the rest are “spiritual.”
When asked if his wife could marry more than one husband, Dimitri explained, "if they do that then it’s no longer polygamy, it’s polyandry. So, the vision of our family is built on polygamy, which is one man, more than one wife.”
Dimitri is only half right. He is correct in that the act of a wife having more than one husband is called polyandry, but the act of having more than one wife is not called polygamy.
It is called polygyny. Polygamy is the umbrella term for multiple spouses and can include a variety of family structures. These families, while technically polygamist, are actually polygynist.
4 TLC’s Seeking Sister Wife, Sister Wives and My Five Wives All Come From the Same Church
Polygamous marriages exist all over the world in many cultures. Polygyny, polyandry and group marriages are practiced in many countries and societies, yet TLC seems to pull their shows from one church in the United States; the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB).
The AUB, which is referred to as "The Work," "The Priesthood," "The Group,” or sometimes called the "Allred Group," was started in 1950s after the break from the Council of Friends church.
Except for the Snowdens, every polygenist family on TLC was part of the AUB. However, all four families have the left the church in one way or another.
The Brown family of Sister Wives were excommunicated due to one wife’s online affair that turned out to be a catfish. The Alldredges and Brineys practice in their home for undisclosed reasons, but it may have to do with the Williams family of My Five Wives.
Rosemary Williams, the third wife, is the daughter of Lynn A. Thompson who is the current leader of the AUB.
In 2014, Williams accused Thompson of being inappropriate to her as a child. This caused a huge rift in the church and many members left to practice their faith on their own or in a new group formed called “The Second Ward.”
Williams and her family left the church as well and haven’t filed charges, believing it won’t result in anything.
3 Dimitri Snowden’s Career Is Filled With Robots, Software, & Lawsuits
Dimitri Snowden seems to have had quite a career. His career is both the most eclectic and troubled. Currently he owns and operates four online companies, such as Cognita, Defense Bag, Railroad Service Express, and Optimus.
On his website, Snowden describes himself as “an ontological architect and change agent.” What is that you may ask? He goes on to explain, “the philosophy that what people design, designs them back (design thinking). in other words: the digital journey he designs for his customers will be redesigned by his customers.”
Snowden seems to imbue his technology with a sense of confusing philosophy that may not always come across the way he wants.
Back in 2011, Snowden co-founded a charter school and landed an IT contract for his company, ion360. He also had an IT contract with another charter school, KIPP Academy, who filed a lawsuit against him for 52k in fraud.
He was eventually let go from the other charter school and faced a similar lawsuit, one of which was dropped.
Snowden then went on to build a robot called AWSM (Autonomous Working Smart Machine), which he donated to Cho’s Construction Engineering Research Lab.
His other companies consist of smaller robots you can rent for presentations, survival gear, railroad software and the Optimus truck (it is unclear what is special about the truck).
2 There Was A Lot Of Backlash After The Brineys Taught Their Children To Lie
In an early episode of the show, the Brineys sat down all 13 of their children to discuss a serious matter.
Drew noticed that the neighbors had been staring and talking about them in the neighborhood. Worried that they may get turned in to the authorities, Drew and the wives decided to have a tough conversation with their children.
They told them to lie about their family so that they could protect each other. This garnished a lot of criticism online. So much so that the family decided to address it in a lengthy blog post and on social media.
Speaking about the backlash, Angela said, “The thought that is being projected by viewers who protest is a blanket outcry on teaching your kids to lie, no matter the on subject or situation.” They want to be clear that this isn’t the case.
Drew made an impassioned argument on his blog that “bearing false witness against they neighbor” and lying to protect people are very different and his families’ actions are justifiable.
“If I’m protecting Anne Frank from the Nazis, I’m lying to protect her all day long. Worship whomever you desire but I worship a God of love and principle and I see no true principle in letting Anne Frank die at the hands of Nazis because I need to never lie. Kill her if you like but I’m not living a life based upon principles like that," said Drew.
1 Many On The Show Are New To Polygamy
Most people assume that polygamists come from other polygamists, but that isn’t the case for most of the cast in Seeking Sister Wife. Neither of the Snowden families were raised in polygamous families. They embraced the lifestyle because of their interest in the community, lifestyle and Dimitri’s desire to have a large family.
Most of the Briney family are new to it as well. Drew, April and Angela were raised in monogamous families and were never taught about polygamy.
Drew Briney was raised in a non-religious home and was even grounded by his father for attending a church. Towards the end of high school he joined the LDS Church. He went on to serve a French-speaking LDS mission in Quebec, Canada and attended Brigham Young University.
There he married April, his first wife who was also a member of the LDS church. While teaching at Utah Valley University, Drew had a student who was a member of the Apostolic United Brethren Church who gave him some literature.
After a year of studying, Drew and April decided to leave the LDS Church and Join the AUB faith, becoming polygamists.
Angela joined the LDS Church when she was in her twenties and was married before she met Drew. She and her husband met other fundamentalists and decided they wanted to join the lifestyle and leave the LDS church as well. They eventually got divorced and Angela met the Brineys and joined their family.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Seeking Sister Wife? Let us know in the comments!