Grew up… in a “normal,” non-polygamous Mormon family in Utah. Barb’s parents have had a difficult time accepting her complicated arrangement with her husband, Bill. Barb maintains a realistic and sober attitude about her unusual family life.
Living… outside Salt Lake City. Barb lives with Bill and their three kids, but also Bill’s other two wives – Nicolette and Margie – and their five kids as well, in a three-home compound with a secluded, shared backyard. Barb, as the oldest and most mature wife in the family, has to sacrifice more than the others. She knows that it’s her job to help Bill “shoulder some of the burden” of their big, messy life.
Profession… part-time schoolteacher, full-time mother. Despite her shared title as “wife,” Barb is the de-facto second-in-command of the family to Bill. She is in charge of settling matriarchal disputes and organizing the family’s schedule.
Interests… her family. Barb has given up her life in order to take charge of the large Henrickson brood. Barb sometimes gets fed up with her role in the family, especially when it comes to putting her needs to the side. She has to remind Bill that she’s “never asked anything for myself in all these years.” There are times when she doubts her decision to take this unorthodox path, but always decides that her family is worth whatever struggles may be involved.
Relationship Status… married. She is actually the only wife “officially” (i.e. legally) married to Bill. While Bill’s diplomatic style of husbandry and fatherhood tends towards egalitarianism, Barb knows deep down that she has the closest relationship with her husband, whom she’s been with since college.
Challenge… living as a cancer survivor. After the birth of her third child, Barb was diagnosed with uterine cancer and nearly died.
Personality… strong, wise and even-tempered. As “First Wife,” Barb knows that she holds significant influence within the family, though she rarely uses her power to get something for herself. Barb always sacrifices her own needs for the greater good.
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