This is mad this man has three wives!
Joe Darger, from Salt Lake City, Utah, lives in a house with his three wives and their 24 children.
His polygamous marriage is illegal in 50 of the 52 American states – and has resulted in him being excommunicated from the Mormon church.
But Joe, a fifth generation polygamist, believes his is the correct way – and says he wants to fight to have his plural marriage officially recognised by society.
The fundamentalist Mormon appeared on the breakfast television show alongside his three wives, 42-year-old twins Vicki and Valerie, and their 43-year-old cousin Alina.
Answering Philip’s question as to whether he hoped their plural union might one day be ‘acceptable, mainstream, normal’, Joe replied that while he never expects his polygamous marriage to be mainstream, he hopes one day it will be decriminalised.
‘We want the same rights as anyone else would be afforded,’ he said via live video link from Utah.
‘Originally polygamy was part of the Mormon history, and that’s what we still believe,’ he says.
‘Our story is about faith and family and freedom. In today’s culture where family is being looked at, ours is one of the oldest forms of family out there.
‘I don’t know if we are looking to be accepted as mainstream, but certainly what we define as a family should be looked at as what society accepts as a family.’
‘By being public we risk being prosecuted by the State. Things have got to change,’ adds Alina.
‘We have a great family life and want the same civil rights as everyone else.’
The Dargers were investigated by state authorities several years ago for their beliefs and attempted to keep their plural marriage secret for many years.
But two years ago, they decided to talk about their relationship to raise awareness, and to try to overcome prejudices against their religion and lifestyle.
Although polygamy is generally illegal in all 50 states, practitioners are almost never prosecuted unless there is evidence of abuse, statutory rape, welfare fraud, or tax evasion.
The three wives and their husband have co-written a book ’Love Times Three’, and some of their adult children also contributed to the story.
‘We hope that by talking about our way of life, polygamy will step closer to being an accepted lifestyle and the laws that criminalise it might change,’ said Joe.
For Joe, a fifth generation polygamist and belongs to an Orthodox off-shoot of the mainstream Mormon church, the decision to enter into a plural marriage was an easy one.
But his wives say the situation suits them perfectly too.
They confronted any feelings of jealousy early on (‘of course there were moments we were jealous,’ Alina admits), and now manage to live harmoniously.
Joe shares out his conjugal time equally between the three, spending a night in turn with each in their own bedrooms.
Incredibly, Joe says he couldn’t choose between the three.
‘I’m in love with all of them,’ he says. ‘I don’t think I could pick one over the other.
‘They’re all such unique personalities and bring certain parts out of me.
‘Each of them is very distinct individuals. The twins seemed so alike at first, but I realised later they are very different.
‘Vicki has a much more analytical and detailed person, she’s an outdoorsy person, like I am. Valerie is a whole different type of personality.
When asked if they would swap their current situation to have Joe to themselves, all replied that they would not.
‘Our marriage is fulfilling and wonderful,’ said Vicki, while Valerie said she was ‘grateful.’
‘The others learned a lot before I came along, they helped to shape Joe into the man he is today, so I’m forever grateful for that,’ she says.
So would they add a fourth wife to the mix?
Valerie confesses that although she is content, it could be ‘a good thing.’
‘But they’d have to be a good fit for our family,’ she says.
For Joe, the idea of another wife is ‘not beyond the realms of possibility’ – but he looks exhausted at the very though, admitting he already struggles to ‘fulfill obligations’ to his current three wives on their anniversaries and birthdays.
Some people think it’s a dream come true to have three wives,’ he says.
But it’s usually only those who’ve never been married to one!’