While Sister Wives stars  Christine Brown and Kody Brown announced their split after 27 years of marriage, they will not be filing or going through a divorce process because they were never legally married. The former couple only entered a spiritual union when they tied the knot.

Christine, 49, grew up in polygamous family. She met Kody, 52, while chaperoning a youth wilderness trek in 1990 — which is the year she graduated high school and the same year he wed his first wife, Meri Brown. Kody and Meri, 50, always knew they wanted their marriage to be plural. After a few years of friendship between Christine and the couple, during which Kody also spiritually married second wife Janelle Brown, Christine decided she wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with Kody and court him as a potential third wife.

“I talked to my Dad first — he had wanted me to marry Kody for years, so he heartily agreed,” she once recalled about the beginning of their relationship. “Kody officially asked about me on Valentine’s Day of 1994. That weekend he came to town with Janelle and we went out of our first date and he proposed.”

After a whirlwind engagement, Kody and Christine married in a spiritual ceremony less than one month later on March 25, 1994. Since polygamy is illegal in the United States, Kody can only be legally married to one of his four wives. Christine and Kody’s marriage is not recognized by the government, only by their church, the Mormon fundamentalist group Apostolic United Brethren (AUB).

Kody and Christine went on to welcome six children together: Aspyn, Mykelti, Paedon, Gwendlyn, Ysabel, and Truely. During their marriage, Kody added a fourth wife to their polygamous family when he married Robyn Brown in 2010. Unfortunately, just eight months after celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary, Kody and Christine announced their breakup.

“After more than 25 years together, Kody and I have grown apart and I have made the difficult decision to leave,” Christine wrote in a statement via her Instagram account on Tuesday, November 2. “We will continue to be a strong presence in each other’s lives as we parent our beautiful children and support our wonderful family. At this time, we ask for your grace and kindness as we navigate through this stage within our family. With Love, Christine Brown.”

Their split announcement comes just weeks after In Touch confirmed that Christine sold her home in the Brown’s hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona, in October. The Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage coauthor previously moved back to Utah, where she currently resides with her youngest daughter, Truely.

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