03 May, 2012
Meet the twin sisters who married the same man
Published: 02nd May 2012
The 42-year-old sisters are in a polygamous marriage with Joe, 43, who is also married to a third woman — their COUSIN Alina, 43.
The Dargers, who are fundamentalist Mormons from Salt Lake City, Utah, live together in a large family home and have 24 children between them.
Vicki, currently a stay-at-home mum, has been married to Joe for 22 years, while Valerie joined the family as his third wife in 2000.
Valerie, who works in the family cleaning business with Alina, said: "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.
"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 added: "I know that some people are uncomfortable at the thought of two sisters sharing a husband.
"But there's a good chance if a husband is compatible with one sister, he'll be well matched with another."
Brave Joe, who runs a construction business, was just 18 when he began dating Vicki and her cousin Alina at the SAME TIME, and married them in a joint wedding ceremony in 1990.
"Even in our community joint courtships are rare," said Vicki. "We knew we were taking on a huge challenge and responsibility.
"The accepted pattern in our culture is for a couple to prove themselves first in a monogamous marriage, before taking on the challenges of a second wife."
Describing their joint dates, Joe said: "Since Alina and Vicki were close friends and were interested in pursuing me together, the best thing I could do was to nurture that combined friendship.
"I was attracted to both girls and knew that individual relationships would develop in time."
The three were married in a traditional religious service at home, followed by a civil register office ceremony where Alina became Joe's legal wife, while Vicki acted as a witness.
But in the eyes of their fundamentalist Mormon religion, all three women are equally married to Joe.
They each have their own bedroom, and Joe alternates between the three rooms each evening.
Vicki and Alina had been married to Joe for ten years when they both encouraged him to start pursuing a relationship with Vicki's twin, Valerie.
Valerie had just gone through a divorce after her marriage – to a man with six wives – broke down due to his gambling and abusive treatment.
One evening, while Valerie and her five children were staying with the Darger family, she felt a sudden spark of chemistry with Joe.
Vicki said: "I noticed how they looked at each other. There was a spark, but I wasn't jealous.
"I wanted her to join our family and have a happy marriage. In our culture it's not uncommon for siblings to share husbands."
Joe admitted: "I had a connection with Valerie, but the fact she was Vicki's twin was weird – they both had the same mannerisms. But Vicki opened my mind to it."
Joe and Valerie married in a service in their home, with Vicki and Alina standing beside them, and celebrated with a family meal.
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.