The interview with Natalie Morales was TOUGH...
— Robyn Sullivan Brown (@LuvgvsUwngs) June 25, 2012
This wasn't the Brown's first time at the Natalie Morales rodeo. Last year's hour interview was like all the other interviews the Browns have. The host patiently listens to the girlish giggling while asking softball interview questions. Kody holds court, while his sister wives (either Janelle or Robyn) interrupt and answer the question for him when he gets stuck.
This year, Morales went back to her news correspondent roots. This was clearly a book tour interview, so she was prepared with a copy of the Brown's book, along with her notes. She put her guests at ease, laughing with them, and then she honed in on her target. With each question, she skillfully probed the Browns towards the truth, then BOOM! She asked a question that left Christine audibly gasping, and Kody visibly shaken. Yep, the Browns got schooled all right.
One of my favorite segments of the interview was at the beginning, when the nice Natalie Morales, morphs into the news journalist Natalie Morales. And the Browns are left stunned.
And then Morales started reeling him in..."did you choose the faith based on the lifestyle that it would allow you then?" Kody, still not realizing what's happening, continued speaking jovially while Janelle turned her head towards him with a worried look on her face, "...no, in my head it was more of a calling. I was 14, I had a foot in trying to be a wild boy and a spiritual boy so I was trying to figure out my own life, but I believed it."
Without warning, Morales asked her shock and awe question: "So it wasn't that you chose religion to be a womanizer..." There was an audible gasp of indignation from Christine. You could almost see the hairs bristling up on Kody's neck as he defensively asked " is that what you think, I am is a womanizer? " The smile was gone off Kody's face; Janelle was now looking down towards the floor.
"Well an outsider may say you're fulfilling a need by taking on a new wife each time" Morales said, while staring right at Kody."Well, I will strongly disagree with that outsider's point of view and I'll explain to you why!" Kody yelled defensively. Now Christine tried to enter the fray by interrupting that she disagreed too, but Morales continued staring straight at Kody, ignoring her. Kody was clearly upset as he sputtered out "because I have done the emotional work in these relationships...I've been trying very hard to be a good husband. all of this happened very serendipitously...I was never dating... all of my wives I chose as a mate because of the depth of their character and my belief they would be a fine individual to share life with...I was never womanizing...this is not an open marriage."
Morales got him. Shock and awe. The Browns are stunned and on their guard. Meri puts on her dour face. Janelle looks down. And Robyn finally shuts her mouth.
The next interview question probed the relationship between Kody, Meri, and the 18 year old girl they chose to be Kody's 2nd wife.
When Morales asked "...Kody and Meri you guys were both courting, or fell in love with an eighteen year old. Is that right to say you both fell in love with..." Kody abruptly interrupts Morales to say "I was 22, 23...I mean it wasn't ...I don't want to get salacious here..." Then Robyn inexplicably interrupts saying " she was close to their age".
It makes you wonder, if the girl was 18, why all the sputtering from Kody saying how he didn't want to get salacious. Well, I read the book. And I can tell you that they started dating this girl when she was underaged. It was, in fact, Christine that drove the girl to a youth camp where she first met Kody and Meri. (page 54) And according to Christine, Meri and Kody's courtship with this girl had been prolonged because "...Kody and Meri wanted to wait for the girl they were courting to turn eighteen before making their engagement official...I heard when they got engaged and I knew when they set the date for the wedding." (page 56).
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize Kody and Meri were "courting" an underaged girl that was 17 if not younger -- if they had to wait until she was 18 to announce their engagement. And that explains Robyn's need to clarify the issue that Kody and Meri were close in age to the girl, when Kody started stumbling over his words. As Meri goes on to answer Morales' questions about her relationship with this girl, you can see Christine reliving the episode, but not saying one word about it.
When Morales questioned Meri and Janelle about their somewhat rocky sister wife relationship, it was Kody who defended Meri. In fact, Kody defended Meri a lot, and spoke for her so much that after Kody gave a long explanation of why there was a conflict between Janelle and Meri, Morales effectively shut him up by putting out her left arm, touching the chair next to Meri and while looking at her said "Let me hear what Meri has to say..." Kody was silenced and Meri was finally free to answer the question on her own.
It was the Christine segment that Kody effectively put his foot in his mouth and showed his most cruel, heartless, unsympathetic, and yes, stupid side to his questionable personality.
You would hope that he would stop there. Not Kody Brown. When Morales asked "So you were not physically attracted to Christine..." Kody barged forward and answered quickly and completely devoid of any sensitivity "That's an understatement." You could see the color drain from Christine's face. Her fake smile gone, her eyes narrowed almost to slits. "You were grossed out by her?" Morales asked. "I won't say that...but the nachos grossed me out enough to make me go OK, I'm waiting to marry her..."
And to prove how absolutely stupid Kody was, in his one on one interview, Morales gave him a chance to apologize for the insensitive things he had said about Christine. "Do you regret saying what you said earlier to us today?...Did she call you out on it after that interview?" she asked. "...that whole nacho cheese thing ...that was years before Christine and I got married." he said. "But it still hurt her, hearing you say that...she seemed to shut down right when you said that... in fact all the other women were like oh no!" Kody, apparently realizing Natalie Morales was not taken in by his boyish charms, laughed, then dropped the smile and said " Well...I'm not sitting here rehearsing a line...er...stating a line that I've rehearsed. You asked me a question, I stated kind of where I was at the time."
Sorry Christine. No apology for you. And when Christine later admits that when they were married, she was more in love with Kody than Kody was with her, and that she has problems with trust, well, you have to feel for her. She has hitched her cart for all time and eternity to a man who refused to apologize for hurting her feelings. And she doesn't trust her sister wives Something just isn't right about that.
Thankfully, the interview segues to the eldest teenagers. Sitting on the floor, Morales holds an open discussion, talking about sex, Logan's girlfriends, and dating. What the kids hate about the lifestyle is that everything is times 5. If one parent is mad, there are 4 other parents mad at them. Of course, Mariah sees the positives in her parent's relationships, while the others see how the wives can be passive-aggressive in their relationships. And when asked about how strong his faith is, Logan admits it's not as strong as it used to be. "When you don't have a community, then only your parents are doing it...They want us to have some sort of faith, some sort of connection. But most of us are kinda probably gonna find...go our own way." Only Mariah has made up her mind to have a plural marriage. Maddie just wants to get out of high school, and feels her husband will have a lot with just her so no plural marriage for her. Final talley: 1 for polygamy, 2 against polygamy, 2 undecided or no comment.
Looks like that move to Las Vegas was a mistake. And Kody, your weekly church services aren't doing much to help your children find their faith. No wonder Janelle wanted Logan to connect with the LDS church!
The interview moved on to Robyn, who looked like she was about to be eaten alive by sharks. She discussed her She-Ra alter personality, and her reluctance to join the family until she saw Kody cleaning one of his child's feet. As expected, she turns on the tears. I suspect She-Ra didn't make the interview, so Robyn had to revert to crying to make that mean old interviewer take pity on her and not ask any really mean questions.
And last but not least, my final favorite point of the interview. It occured when Morales was discussing Kody and Meri seeing a marriage counselor. As to be expected, Kody showed that he had a screw loose when he says " Here's the interesting thing. The time gets fuzzy, but Meri and I were literally at a point of a all time high right before we met Robyn..."
And once again, Meri throws sister wives Janelle and Christine under the bus when she says the reason she is so close to Robyn is because she and Robyn want to have that "depth of a relationship" with each other. And as for a 5th sister wife, Robyn conceded that when she married Kody it was with the understanding that a 5th wife was a possibility, and Kody, showing more tact with Robyn than he did with Christine, said he's just trying to focus on his relationship with his 4 wives right now.
Thus ended the Browns' second turn at the rodeo with Natalie Morales. Something tells me there will not be a third time.