'Sister Wives' : Kody Brown Says He's 'Being Passed Around' His Wives 'Like a Rag Doll' amid COVID

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kody Brown and his four wives — Christine, Janelle, Meri and Robyn — had to decide how to navigate social distancing and self-quarantining within their plural family

They may be one big plural family, but that doesn't mean Kody Brown and his four wives are always on the same page.

Sunday's episode of Sister Wives chronicled the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, including the first recorded case in Flagstaff, Arizona, where the Brown family resides.

As Kody's wives — Christine, Janelle, Meri and Robyn — were all living in separate households, and he was the only one going between homes, it proved to be a challenge for their unconventional family, who had to decide how to navigate social distancing and self-quarantining guidelines.

"I guess right now my biggest worry really is if I would have to be isolated from members of my family long-term. In my mind, part of the healing process when you're sick is that love and nurturing you get from your loved ones. I'm not going to not go care for a wife if she's sick," Kody, 52, told cameras. "I don't want to not hug my kids."

Kody — who has a combined 18 children with his wives — also acknowledged that he was "the most dangerous person in the whole family when it comes to COVID-19, because I'm going from house to house — I could spread it from house to house."

Having four wives spread across four households, Kody recognized that there were varying perspectives — including opinions about his own schedule.

Sister Wives
Kody Brown with Robyn, Meri, Christine and Janelle Brown. Christine Brown/Instagram

"You pick your side, literally. There's almost a divide, like, 'Oh, we need to quarantine right now,' and others who are going, 'You know what, why don't we spread it around so we can all check and see if we're immune ... or if we're going to get it,'" Kody said, declining to detail who said what: "That's too much finger-pointing."

Within plural marriage, Kody explained, each wife runs her own household. "There's this sort of thing that happens in our relationships, that I guess is only fair in plural marriage — the mom, the household belongs to her," he said in a confessional. "It just feels odd to me. 'Okay, this is what you're going to do.' Well, wait a second, do I have a say in this?"

After assessing her own situation with two sons coming and going at times, Janelle came to the difficult decision to not have Kody visit her home as they awaited more answers about the virus.

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Janelle and Kody Brown. janelle brown/instagram

After Janelle — who shares Logan, Maddie, Hunter, Garrison, Gabriel, and Savannah with Kody — told her husband over the phone that she didn't want him to come over for an indefinite amount of time, the family patriarch suggested they get on a conference call with the other wives to discuss the topic.

Though Janelle, 51, didn't feel that the other wives needed to be involved in the conversation, Kody said that "the whole family's got to be involved in this discussion."

"You know, it's just one of those times when maybe I wish I just told my wives what we were going to do," Kody confessed to viewers. "But I am so confused by this whole thing that I don't even know what to do."

Sister Wives
Kody Brown and his wives. Christine Brown/Instagram

Later, Kody got on a call with all of the women, during which each of the wives shared their thoughts.

Janelle started, explaining that "because I have Garrison and everybody still working outside the home, and you guys are pretty much naturally self-quarantined because your kids are all home and not in school, they're not working ... I pose a risk point for exposure. I think maybe I better not have Kody even come, because if for some reason we ended up infected, he would then bring it to all of you guys."

Christine, who was sitting beside her husband, then took the floor, sharing what she had previously suggested to Kody.

"How would you feel about going to one house and staying put there for a few days, and then when you're done, you know, as long as everyone's well and everything, then move onto the next house for a couple of days?" Upon arriving at the "next house, just make sure you shower really well and, you know, wash the clothes — like, take the clothes off immediately, put them in the washer immediately," said Christine, 48.

After Christine was done speaking, a visibly frustrated Kody — who had his head down while she was talking — asked her to "pass the baton" to the next wife.

"Gosh, you're so cranky," Christine told him.

"It's 'cause you guys are talking about my body," Kody replied. "I feel like I'm being passed around like a rag doll now."

Season 10 Sister Wives Janelle Brown, Christine Brown, Kody Brown, Meri Brown, Robyn Brown
Brown family. TLC

In her defense, Christine said all she did "was offer up a suggestion. ... It doesn't mean that I think you're a rag doll or a baton, for goodness sake."

Next to speak was Meri, 50, who was quarantining with her daughter, Mariah, and Mariah's fiancée, Audrey Kriss, who had just arrived from Illinois. (Earlier in the episode, the engaged couple made a last-minute decision to say goodbye to Chicago and temporarily move in with Meri in Flagstaff.)

"That's why it's so important that we do stay away from anybody and everybody," said Meri. "And it kind of sucks, but at this point maybe it includes family, too."

Last was Robyn, 42, who was having a hard time with the idea of separation.

"It's just such a kind of crazy shock to think of Kody not going to Janelle's house," she told cameras. "It's like, no, this is not what you do. You know, it's like, you're a family — we're a family. It's completely challenging our priorities and what's important to us. Like, how do we deal with this the right way?"

Feeling disappointed, Robyn continued: "This is where I feel like maybe what's best for the group is more important. I don't know, I guess not everybody agrees with that, so I guess this is what we're choosing. It's heartbreaking that this is where we're at, that this is what we've decided and this is how we're going to do this."

Sister Wives
Robyn Brown and Christine Brown. Christine Brown/INSTAGRAM

On the call, Robyn told the group it was "really tough to even consider that part of this whole thing with this stupid disease is the idea that we can't be a family."

She continued, "Sorry Janelle, I get what you're saying, but — I'm just worried about your kids and you and Kody and everything. I'm just worried about you guys. I don't know how this will work."

But Janelle stuck with her gut, which was telling her to "err on the side of extreme caution."

As Kody would be the only one to end up having "any exposure to any of the rest of the family," he told the women, "So each family is basically quarantined at home, so to speak, with the exception of getting the groceries, getting gas, getting the essentials, and then social-distancing in that place."

At the end of the call, Janelle felt "good" about the decision and said it made "a lot of sense" to her.

But to Kody, it wasn't "a made decision," he told his wives. "I've got to think about this a bit."

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Kody and Janelle Brown. janelle brown/instagram

Because each of his wives runs their own household, "and we're not agreeing on how we're going to run each household the same, we're literally getting to a place where it feels like we're every house for themselves, every mother for themselves," he told cameras.

"Janelle's not going to sacrifice anything but time with me, but she's not going to sacrifice her kids for that time with me. It's just one of those weird things," he added. "It's like, if we don't get on the same page, it's like, put it off on the next person. Well, I feel like it's being put off onto me."

Furthermore, he didn't like being told what to do.

"My schedule is always a sensitive subject. All my wives have a different opinion of what my schedule should be," he said. "But the issue is it's a sensitive subject to me, and I don't like them telling me what my schedule is."

Sister Wives airs Sundays (10 p.m. ET) on TLC.

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