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‘Sister Wives’ say they’re accepted in Las Vegas
Brown family » Fearing prosecution, the polygamists left Utah in 2011.

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"It’s real work, because we really do a lot of emotional digging around on the couch," Janelle says. "But it’s usually what makes it so that we become very honest on the couch."

Kody does get frustrated at the thought of curiosity seekers who’ve already discovered their new homes.

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"We have people trying to get into our cul-de-sac. We have them come through the gate. They sneak through. There’s people walking on our wall taking pictures. It’s ridiculous."

But even with those intrusions, the Browns swear they don’t regret stepping out of the shadows.

"Going public was very, very scary for us. The vulnerability about going public," Kody recalls. "We were a very private family in a very private community in a very private lifestyle. I think we were naive at going public and finding out how people would want to dig into more and more of the privacy."

The benefits of no longer having to hide who they are, though, have outweighed those initial shocks.

"I know that for my sister wives, in the past before we were public, it was kind of rough," says Meri, the original Mrs. Brown. "Because it was hard to be able to be out and be public and recognized as Kody’s wife in some situations.

"But being a first wife and being known as ‘the wife’ and having that freedom, but only having one of the many children that he has, on a different level, that was very difficult. Because when we’d start talking about kids, I mean, how do I refer to all of our family or all of Kody’s kids?"

That’s no longer an issue thanks to their recognizability. Aside from Warren Jeffs, the Browns have become the face of polygamy in America. Although Christine is quick to separate their beliefs from those of the imprisoned sex offender.

"Certainly, we represent a lot more people that live plural marriage rather than people that live the way Warren Jeffs does," she says. "There’s a lot more of us like us out there."

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The Browns say they’ve been accepted in Las Vegas to such an extent that it’s gone from being awkward when they’re all in public as a unit to being awkward when one or more of them isn’t around.

"We’re not always together," Kody says, "and it’s funny, when I’m out to dinner with one of my wives and somebody will see us and go, ‘Oh, you guys, it’s exciting to see you.’ And the first thing out of their mouth is always, ‘Where’s the rest of the wives?’

"So we’ve changed the concept from being the people who were hiding who we were to the people who now have to be who we are."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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