We've watched the Alaskan Bush People battle their environment and themselves for seven seasons now, but the Browns' drama began even before Discovery sent camera crews to the 49th state. While we gear up for Season 8, let's take a look back at the Brown family's history of scandals and controversy…
For example, prior to the start of the show in 2014, Alaskan authorities burned down the Browns' house since it was built on public land, as the family said. "People don't want to let us live the way we want to live, even though we're not hurting anybody," patriarch Billy Brown told People.
Two years later, Billy and second son Joshua "Bam Bam" Brown were sentenced to 30 days in jail, having pleaded guilty to lying about their residency in paperwork regarding the annual oil revenue checks Alaskan residents receive. Billy and Bam were also fined and ordered to complete 40 hours of community service, but the rest of the family avoided charges. "Because of the way we live our lives and the way we often unconventionally travel, I didn't keep good track of our movements," Billy told the magazine at the time. "I accept full responsibility for filing for benefits without confirming that we met the requirements. We are committed to living in Alaska for the long-term, and we respect the state's rules. I thought it best to settle to put this behind us."
And 2016 was a tough year for this Alaska family for other reasons, too. Later that year, news broke that first son Matthew Brown had completed treatment for alcohol abuse. "I could see myself spiraling," Matt told People, explaining he had started drinking with friends "in town" and noticed he was becoming "slower" and "more withdrawn." He added, "I started drinking lightly and then it got to be more and more. That's when I saw the problem around the corner, and I didn't want to be one of those guys."
And life hasn't gotten much easier for the fam in the ensuing years. As they got more famous, their social media activity sparked more and more controversy. Amid matriarch Ami Brown's lung cancer battle, for example, fans criticized Billy for smoking and youngest child Rain Brown for posting selfies. (Rain, now 15, is actually a frequent target of online hate: Fans have dissed her birthday tribute, her workout form, and even her singing voice.)
We hope the Browns' lives calm down a bit from here on out… But we imagine that wouldn't make for interesting reality TV!
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