Polygamists may already have a fictional voice, thanks to HBO's Big Love, but Sister Wives, a new TLC series, will raise the stakes when a real polygamist family steps in front of the cameras.
"I just didn't want to raise my children with the same fear that I was raised with," Christine Brown told TVGuide.com about her family's decision to go public. "I'd rather be open and just open to our society."
Sister Wives, which premieres on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 10/9c, goes inside the household of polygamist Kody Brown and his three wives and 13 children as they prepare to welcome a fourth wife — as well as her three children — into the fold.
Although Kody said they've told their co-workers about their lifestyle, and that the kids have told their friends, he admitted it's been "scary" to go public.
"It's a story that needs to be told. ... We're telling a story the way that it is," Kody said, referring to the recent coming-out of Big Love's fictional family.
"We're willing to take the risks, which is why we're here," Christine said.
Just because the family is going public with their lifestyle — a risky move since polygamy is illegal in their home state of Utah — doesn't mean this family isn't anything less than true polygamists.
"We are four very strong personalities. We chose this," Janelle Brown said. "We have an extremely functional family. Our children are beautiful. We've committed to this."
Added soon-to-be fourth wife Robyn Sullivan: "And we're happy."
Beyond putting real names and faces to polygamy, the hope is to break down people's misconceptions about both the relationships between the wives and their husband, as well as among the wives.
"Sister Wives has really brought us together," Christine said. "When you go through struggle together and you come out on top together and you work together, you create bonds that can endure."