‘Alaskan Bush People’: What to Know About Ami and Billy Brown’s Relationship

The real-life marriage of Billy and Ami Brown was full of love, but far more complicated than ‘Alaskan Bush People’ let on.

Beloved Discovery and ‘Alaskan Bush People’ star Billy Brown passed late Sunday night, his family confirms. The 68-year-old suffered a fatal seizure after years of health troubles. Yet Brown’s legacy will never be forgotten, as he leaves behind his large family and years of their documented life on their popular show.

“We are heartbroken to announce that our beloved patriarch Billy Brown passed away last night after suffering from a seizure,” Billy’s son, Bear Brown, writes on his private Instagram today. “He was our best friend — a wonderful and loving dad, granddad and husband and he will be dearly missed.”

Bear is one of seven children Billy fathered with his wife and love of his life, Ami. Discovery portrays the couple as still wildly in love throughout ‘Alaskan Bush People,’ which they very well seemed to be. Behind the scenes details, however, point to their decades-long marriage being far more than just a walk in the woods.

The Marriage of Billy and Ami Brown

Billy and Ami Brown’s marriage took place over 40 years ago on June 16, 1979 in the state of Texas. This was no ordinary wedding, however. At the time of their joining, Billy was 26 – while Ami was a frightening 15-years-old. This is a sign of the times, as their marriage was fully legal in 1979’s Texas. A child as young as 14 could be wed in the state with parental consent. As such, the marriage went forth – regardless of the 11-year gap between the adult Billy and teenage Ami.

In order for their marriage to take place, Ami’s mother reportedly required her daughter to stay in school and continue with her education, reports Yet as soon as the two married, Ami would cut ties with her family completely.

Afterward, both Ami’s mother and brother would accuse Billy of forcing her into a life of his crafting. Moreover, they would describe him as a “very controlling husband.”

Citing coverage by Screenrant, PopCulture goes on to say that Ami’s brother once confronted Billy over his controlling ways. Billy brown reportedly replied with “That’s none of your mother’s business now. She belongs to me!

Alaskan Love and Controversy

Billy Brown, Ami Brown, Matthew Brown and Gabe Brown speak onstage during the ‘Animal Planet: Alaska Bush Family’ panel discussion at the Discovery Communications portion of the 2014 Winter Television Critics Association tour at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

All of this, however, is absent in Billy’s own memoir, One Wave At A Time, according to PopCulture. Within, he describes the first time he lays eyes on Ami.

“She was the beautiful young woman I had ever met,” he wrote, defining it as “love at first sight.”

Within their time on ‘Alaskan Bush People,’ the couple would be shown as deeply in love still. Controversial beginnings aside, there is little evidence to the contrary. Fans do note while watching the episodes, however, that Ami is a “dutiful and subservient” wife. As such, the equality of their relationship will remain the subject of debate for years to come.

For more on the life and death of Billy Brown: