Who are the Dargers? Meet the family on 'Sister Wives' who fought to decriminalize polygamy in Utah
Kody and his wives head over to meet the Dargers, the family that happens to be the inspiration behind the HBO series 'Big Love'
Having friends as a family is important. It allows the parents to chill with adults and for children to make friends their own age, ensuring that everyone gets some time away from each other while still enjoying time as a family. So, when you're a part of a polygamist home, what kind of family friends do you have? The answer is other polygamists, of course.
This episode of 'Sister Wives' sees Kody Brown and his family meet the Dargers, their friends and a polygamist family in Utah. Utah brings out mixed feelings in the hearts of the Browns, seeing that not too long ago they had to leave the state on account of the fact that polygamy is a criminal offense here. However, the Dargers have fought tirelessly to protect their lifestyle. So, who are the Dargers?
Meet Joe Darger
A fifth-generation polygamist, Joe is an entrepreneur who runs a construction company and a real estate development company. Although only legally married to Alina, he also considers Vicky and Valerie to be his wives. The four of them have 20 children together and five step-children, seeing that Valeries was previously a part of another polygamist family. He is also the grandfather to 17 children.
The family is no stranger to reality TV, seeing that they have been featured on the show before, alongside starring in a documentary titled 'My Three Wives'. Their lives also served as inspiration for the HBO series 'Big Love'.
Meet his wives: Alina, Vicky and Valarie Darger
The Darger family takes the concept of sister wives quite seriously. Joe married cousins Alina and Vicky together, on the same day back in 1990. He then went on to marry Valerie in 2000, who was in a previous marriage but got a divorce. Here's where it gets interesting. Vicky and Valerie are twin sisters. In an article by Huffington Post, Valerie addressed why she married her twin's husband.
"The fact that Joe was married to Vicki didn't bother me at all. I took it as a sign he would be a good husband for me as well," she said, justifying her choice. "As teenagers, Vicki and I liked some of the same guys. I thought it might even be good if we married the same man." Vicki hosts a podcast by the name 'Moms I Love' and also works as a bookkeeper. Valerie and Alina work for a family-owned residential and commercial cleaning service.
Utah vs polygamy
The state of Utah recognizes polygamy as a criminal offense. This makes even consenting polygamist families felons who risk being arrested and prosecuted. The issue is far worse than being tried and getting sentenced to jail. Polygamist families are afraid to contact social services or ambulances. Under the banner 'Families not Felons', polygamist families such as the Dargers and the Browns protested it.
In early 2020, polygamy in Utah was decriminalized, allowing these families to live freely. In the past, Joe Darger has even gone as far as to dare prosecutors to charge him. However, as reported by Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah Attorney General's Office maintained that its policy is to not prosecute consenting adults whose only crime is bigamy, seeing that the real issue is polygamists who commit fraud and abuse. But seeing that it is now decriminalized, it looks like the family can live in peace.
Their friends, the Browns, however, have no intention of returning to Utah. At least for now, that is. Seeing that the family is falling apart, only time will tell what lies ahead for the Browns.
Catch new episodes of 'Sister Wives' Season 15 on Sundays at 10/9c on TLC.