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'Sister Wives' Star Kody Brown Admits Marriage To Meri 'Dissolved' After 2015 Catfish Scandal, Reveals Romance With First Wife Is Over

Apr. 7 2021, Updated 12:48 p.m. ET

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It looks like the skeletons are coming out of the closet.

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On the Sunday, March 28, episode of Sister Wives, Kody Brown and his first wife recounted the aftermath from Meri Brown's infamous catfish scandal, which forever changed the reality star couple's marriage.

The conversation was brought up when Kody drove over to Meri's house after not seeing her for a while amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As OK! previously reported, Meri and her sister wives, Janelle, Christine and Robyn, have been living in separate homes in Flagstaff, Ariz., since the start of the pandemic — with only Kody traveling between the homes.

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Kody drove over to Meri's with the intension of seeing their daughter, Mariah, and her fiancée, Audrey Kriss — who had been staying at Meri's house to self isolate since traveling from Chicago. 

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However, Meri failed to tell her estranged husband that the lovebirds left town to manage the family's bed and breakfast in Utah, which her mom, Bonnie, had been running. Due to Bonnie's age and increased health risk during the pandemic, Meri's mom came to Arizona to stay with Meri while Mariah and Audrey headed north to take care of the business. 

"I've been away from Meri for quite a while. I haven't even seen Audrey and Mariah yet," Kody, 52, who was "excited" to see his daughter, said on the drive over. "Meri wanted to talk to me, so I'm headed over to her house."

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"I guess Kody's on his way over," Meri said while waiting for Kody. "I haven't seen him for quite a while, and I'm going to tell him that he never got to see Mariah and Audrey."

After Meri broke the news that the engaged couple wasn't at her house, Kody told the cameras that he was "really disappointed." 

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During the couple's outdoor chat on Meri's driveway, Kody took a FaceTime call from Robyn and brought the phone over to Meri, before realizing their close proximity. 

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"Oh gosh, I'm supposed to social distance!" Kody said, to which Meri replied: "I am still a member of your family." However, Kody said he was keeping his distance from Meri because she had "three new people" in her home, referring to Mariah, Audrey and Bonnie.

After Robyn asked Meri how much exposure Bonnie had, Meri told Kody: "I don't know. Just stay away from me. Just stay away from me, Kody."

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Meri's response prompted Kody to burst into laughter, and he recalled the first time Meri instructed him to stay away from her years prior. "That didn't work out very well for you the last time around. I don't think you should say that to me anymore," Kody said to Meri, who laughed.

The "last time around" was a reference to Meri's infamous 2015 catfish scandal. Six years ago, Meri revealed she was catfished after she formed an emotional connection to someone who she thought was a man but turned out to be a female admirer — a time during which things were rocky in her relationship with husband Kody. 

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Meri wanted to lean on Kody for emotional support. She said that all she wanted at the time was for "him to put his arm around me," recalling how she "couldn't sleep because I felt the coldness coming from him." She added that she also "couldn't sleep because of this outside situation" she had been dealing with. 

Meri told Kody to give her some space. While she may have meant 'emotional' space, he took it as: "Go away and don't ever come back," she explained. It was an incident that forever plagued the couple's marriage.

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While Kody and Meri tried therapy to work out their problems, Kody later admitted he had no desire to be intimate with Meri — a feeling that still holds true today.

"I was joking about Meri during the catfish... it's a sore subject," Kody said on the Sunday episode, noting that it "was an uncool joke of me, but I figure if you can't laugh at the mistakes of your past, whatever, you know?"

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Following the catfish incident, Kody explained, "Meri and I sort of saw our marriage just dissolve."

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And sadly, "we've never come back together from that," she admitted, as Kody emphasized that the "catfish situation and basically the year before it" was just "flippin' ugly."

"And even a year into living in Flagstaff, I was still dealing with a lot of bitterness about our past," he told the cameras of the unconventional family's 2019 move to Arizona. "In the past few months, I've been able to really let that go for myself. And I feel more friendly with Meri than I have felt in six or more years." Despite some progress, he still has no "romantic inclinations within our marriage," Kody confirmed.

Sister Wives airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.

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