Family drama can draw more viewers into a reality TV show than anything else. Sister Wives is a unique situation, though. The series wrapped its 17th season on Jan. 8. Weeks after the tell-all episode aired on TLC, the series suddenly has more eyes on it than ever before. That’s likely because family members, including several of the Brown family’s adult children, opted to spill tea when the season ended. We should go back to the beginning for followers who are new to the Browns and their polygamist lifestyle. Let’s recap what happened when the Sister Wives cast made the move from Lehi to Las Vegas.

Why Did The Brown family move from Lehi Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada

Season 1 of Sister Wives was spent introducing the world to Kody Brown and his wives, Meri Brown, Janelle Brown, and Christine Brown, and the family’s newest addition, Robyn Brown. While much of season 1 focused on Robyn joining the family as Kody’s fourth wife, a subplot circled in the background.

The family openly discussed how their alternative lifestyle was illegal in Utah, despite around 30,000 polygamists calling the state. The subplot took centerstage in season 2, culminating in the family’s panicked move from Lehi to Las Vegas. The urgency, according to Kody, was all about the state investigating the Brown family once they went public with their lifestyle. 

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Was the family in imminent danger when they fled Utah? 

While Kody Brown explained his family was opting to leave the state suddenly because they were being investigated for polygamy, that’s never really sat well with viewers. After all, polygamy isn’t unknown in the state of Utah. Yes, it was, in fact, illegal to be spiritually wed to multiple women at the time of Brown’s move, but it was rarely a prosecuted crime. 

Why Did The Brown family move from Lehi Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada
Christine Brown, Kody Brown, Robyn Brown, Meri Brown, and Janelle Brown, ‘Sister Wives’ Season 17 | TLC

According to USA Today, the Utah Attorney General has opted not to prosecute most modern-day polygamists. Instead, the state looks to see if other crimes have been committed in conjunction with polygamy. The Browns were unlikely to be charged for polygamy despite being looked into. Their home certainly wasn’t moments away from being raided by the police, as Kody seemed to allude. They were never in imminent danger, but the suggestion of it made for compelling reality TV.  

So why did ‘Sister Wives’ stars, the Brown family, move from Lehi to Las Vegas? 

There are a couple of complex reasons behind the family’s decision to leave Utah for Las Vegas. Perhaps first and foremost, they were going because they couldn’t afford not to, at least not if they wanted to keep their show. If we are being 100% honest, season 1 of Sister Wives was boring. Aside from some petty drama around adding Robyn to the family, the show had little substance and certainly no suspense. The move made things interesting and offered TLC plenty of storylines to attack. In short, the move allowed Sister Wives to continue. It also spawned some of its greatest moments, like the family’s meltdown over a wet bar. 


The move from Lehi to Las Vegas was also something they could finally afford. If you read through the Brown family’s book, Becoming Sister Wives, you know the family moved around a lot. Lehi was the first place you could say they were really “settled” for any length of time. In short, Kody Brown appears to suffer from wanderlust, and Sister Wives gave him the capital he needed to move the entire family to a new state and purchase four homes substantially nicer than their Lehi pad. 

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