Sister Wives: What We Know About Janelle Brown’s Life Before The Show

A look at Janelle Brown's life before she debuted on Sister Wives, including her marriage to Adam Barber, her connection to Kody, and her past jobs.

  • Janelle Brown was the second wife of Kody Brown in the polygamous family on Sister Wives. She recently split from Kody and is focused on herself and her well-being.
  •  Before her reality TV career, Janelle had multiple jobs and even had her own small food business. She was also the family’s main breadwinner alongside Kody’s first wife, Meri.
  •  Janelle was married to Adam Barber before Kody and was initially married to Meri’s brother. She was not raised in a polygamist family but chose the lifestyle because it was helpful in raising children. Her maiden name is Schriever, and she has several step-siblings.
There’s a lot to know about Janelle Brown’s past from before the time she debuted on Sister Wives. Janelle is the second wife of the polygamous family and is newly single after her split with Kody Brown. They spiritually tied the knot in 1993 when Kody was married to his first wife, Meri Brown, legally. After Janelle, Christine Brown joined the family in 1994. Kody expanded his family again in 2014 when he legally married Robyn Brown after legally ending his marriage to Meri. Janelle and Kody welcomed six children during their relationship: Logan, Madison, Hunter, Robert Garrison, Gabriel, and Savanah.

Janelle May Have Been A Government Employee

Janelle had worked several jobs in the past before she began her reality TV journey. The move to Flagstaff, Arizona, was hard on the Brown family, with several seasons focusing on their financial difficulties. While they made questionable financial choices, they were used to making them in the past, as their multiple bankruptcies have revealed. Janelle was the first to file bankruptcy in 1997 after Kody and Meri reportedly filed for joint bankruptcy in 2005. They didn’t have glamorous careers before their Sister Wives debut. Kody mentioned he used to do online ad sales work for a living.

However, Janelle was the real breadwinner of the family, along with Meri. Janelle has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Phoenix. According to CheatSheet, Janelle ran a small food business called E Z Pantry. Bustle reported the business aimed to “provide, market, design, sell or trade in the food storage industry” within the Mormon community, but is now defunct. At some point in time, Janelle may have worked for the state of Utah. Public records show a clerk named Janelle Brown working for the state between 2009 and 2011; however, this cannot be verified.

Janelle Had A First Husband, Adam Barber

Janelle was married to Adam Barber before Kody (via trustme24 on Reddit) According to ET, Janelle had met Adam in high school and wasn’t Mormon. According to a report by In Touch, Janelle welcomed Adam to the LDS church. They began courting after he converted. Adam didn’t take an interest in his new faith or the “branch of fundamentalism” he was raised in. Interestingly, Adam also happens to be Meri’s brother. Janelle was going through a “horrible divorce” with her ex-husband when she first met Kody.

Janelle Wasn’t Raised In A Polygamist Family

janelle brown sister wives montage janelle with different expressions

When Janelle told her grandmother about Adam before she married him, she told Janelle that she had lived next to Adam’s family of polygamists once. Janelle was not raised in a polygamist family, as her mother, Sheryl Usher, was against the idea. She was scared of Janelle getting sucked into some sort of polygamous cult. However, Janelle’s mom felt differently after meeting Kody’s father, William Winn Brown. Sheryl became Winn’s third wife. By this association, Janelle’s stepfather was to become her father-in-law in the future when Janelle married Kody. Janelle and Kody were married two weeks after going on their first date.

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Janelle’s Maiden Name Is Schriever
Janelle Brown In Sister Wives throwback photos when she was young

Janelle is still living in Flagstaff; however, her birthplace is Salt Lake City, Utah. SisterWivesWiki notes Janelle was born on May 6, 1969. Her name then was Janelle S. Schriever. Janelle’s parents’ names are Robert Schriever and Sheryl. They welcomed two daughters during their marriage: Janelle and sister Carrie Rodgers. Janelle’s parents married in August 1967; Janelle’s father died in 1972 when she was three years old. In 1975, Janelle’s mother married Merlin Bartholomew Fryer when Janelle was still a child and resided in Bountiful, Utah. Sheryl became a stepmother to two children through her second marriage. She married Kody’s father in 1992 and lived in Lovell, WY (via u/AAngile.)

Janelle’s mother and Kody’s father, Winn, remained married until 2013, when he died. Janelle’s mother later passed away in 2020. Janelle’s sister Carrie stays out of the spotlight and doesn’t have any connections to polygamy. She has her own family and is married with children. Janelle does have several step-siblings. When Sheryl married Kody’s father, she became a stepmother to 10 kids, including Kody (via CheatSheet). However, it’s also reported that Janelle’s mother was a grandmother to 93 children and a great-grandmother to more than 20, but Janelle prefers not to talk about her extended family.

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