This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Joe, Alina, Vicki and Valerie Darger an inspiration for "Big Love" appeared on Dr. Phil today, one of several shows they've done on a media tour for their new memoir, Love Times Three. (I haven't yet read the book, which was written with my predecessor on this beat, Brooke Adams. Here's the Trib's story and review of the book). Dr. Phil called the book "one of the most informative and thought-provoking things you've ever read." Like Kody Brown and his family, the stars of "Sister Wives," the Darger family is getting interest from national media like Good Morning America. The book has been in the works for more than a year, but the timing on the release ended up being pretty good for the publisher. The "Sister Wives" lawsuit challenging the bigamy law is still clicking along in federal court and the three-ring circus of the Warren Jeffs trial ended just over a month ago. The Dr. Phil show is taking advantage of the timing and running the Dargers' show back-to-back with a two-part show about the FLDS Tuesday and Wednesday. I thought he asked some pretty good questions (though he seemed to think the jealousy question was more of a "gotcha" than it was), like whether Joe and his wives were missing out on a one-on-one in-depth bond like his own 35-year marriage to his wife. The family was well spoken first wife Alina answered the in-depth bond question by saying that she doesn't need Joe to be focused on her 24-7 though the editing a bit choppy at times, making their answers seem short.
I also thought it was interesting that the children call the sister-wives Aunt instead of Mom or Mother.
Overall, I think I would have liked a format with fewer questions but more in-depth answers. Then again, I might be more curious than your average viewer ;)
(Our interview with features writer Rudy Mesicek, by the way, is more in-depth. Here's a great quote from Joe Darger: "I do a lot in the construction trade; I'm telling you there's not a house in this valley that's not touched by polygamist labor somewhere." I have a friend who used to live in an apartment that was once a home built for a plural family back in the day. Someone should do a book on polygamous architecture).
Joe Darger said their new book was a "deliberate and, I hope, dignified way," to tell their story, instead of being defined by people like Warren Jeffs. He also said he's more afraid of persecution, like people refusing to do business with him once they know he's in a plural marriage, than being investigated by police, and Alina related a story about avoiding calling police on a random flasher as a teenager because she was afraid authorities would see her plural family and take her away."I dont want my children to live that way," she said.