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Meri Brown es­capes her trou­bled plu­ral mar­riage

She jet­ted off to par­adise. Six months after Meri Brown made head­lines with a mor­ti­fy­ing cat­fish­ing cheat­ing scan­dal, the first wife of po­lyg­a­mist re­al­ity star Kody Brown fled the fam­ily’s Las Ve­gas cul-de-sac for the white-sand beaches of Hawaii — with­out her hus­band. There, the Sis­ter Wives star hiked with a friend, toured Pearl Har­bor with a cute sailor and doc­u­mented her joy on Twit­ter, shar­ing on March 30 that she was hav­ing an “amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

It was a bold and dar­ing move for Meri. De­spite her ini­tial as­sur­ances that she re­mained ded­i­cated to her plu­ral mar­riage, she con­tin­ues to dis­tance her­self from the man and fam­ily she be­trayed after en­gag­ing in a lengthy emo­tional on­line af­fair with a man later ex­posed by In Touch as fe­male con artist Jackie Over­ton, 41. (Jackie de­nies she’s pre­tend­ing to be Sam.) “She’s been pre­par­ing to leave for some time now and has one foot out the door,” a source close to the Browns tells In Touch. Kristyn Decker, the cousin and aunt of Meri’s sis­ter wife Chris­tine, 43, tells In Touch that Meri’s es­cape to Hawaii and her pub­lic flaunt­ing of the fun she had there — with an­other man — speaks vol­umes. “Go­ing on va­ca­tion, that’s one of the ways that she’s try­ing to find her­self and make the best of the sit­u­a­tion [at home],” Kristyn ex­plains, adding that Meri clearly needed “some time alone to fig­ure things out for her­self.”

While in Hawaii, Meri toured lo­cal sights with a hunky young for­mer Navy sailor. She even tweeted a photo of them to­gether — a rare, wide smile on her face. “I don’t think it will be ac­cepted at all that Meri was hang­ing out with other men while on va­ca­tion in Hawaii,” says Kristyn, who once be­longed to the same church as the Browns but has left the po­lyg­a­mist life­style. “I think she is do­ing it to make Kody jeal­ous, to make him un­der­stand how she feels. I think she is try­ing to show, ‘I don’t want to do this any­more.’”

She doesn’t. Meri, 45, ad­mit­ted that the rea­son she en­gaged in her 2015 emo­tional af­fair with some­one she be­lieved was a hand­some busi­ness­man named Sam Cooper was be­cause she was in the midst of “an emo­tional and vul­ner­a­ble time.” Those feel­ings haven’t gone away, says Kristyn. “For women who aren’t hav­ing ba­bies any­more or don’t have kids at home, they are alone and lonely be­cause their hus­bands are with the other wives,” she ex­plains. “I think that with­out the com­pan­ion­ship of a hus­band and part­ner who is your own, you are lonely. Kody is busy with the other wives and their chil­dren, so Meri [whose daugh­ter Mariah, 20, is in col­lege] is lonely and sad. When I was in that life­style, I con­vinced my­self that I was happy and made it work.” Kody, 47, has been fo­cus­ing his at­ten­tion on newest wife Robyn, 37, and that has changed the fam­ily dy­namic.

Meri is trapped in a place of “mis­er­able hap­pi­ness,” says Kristyn. She hopes the Hawaii sojourn gave Meri a taste of what life could be like with­out Kody and the other wives. “These women don’t un­der­stand what gen­uine hap­pi­ness is. Un­til I left, I didn’t fig­ure it out. It’s a whole dif­fer­ent life,” she says. “I’m thrilled she went on this va­ca­tion — I hope it gives her that com­par­i­son so she can see, ‘This is what I want.’” ◼


“Meri’s been trapped,” ex­plains for­mer po­lyg­a­mist Kristyn Decker, 64, who is aunt and cousin to Chris­tine (left, with Janelle, 46, Kody and Robyn). “I think she’s feel­ing des­per­ate.”

HER CUTE ‘ DATE ’ Meri thanked Jon-david Craw­ford for “a great night” in Hawaii. Says Kristyn: “It’s like she’s beg­ging for at­ten­tion.”

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