The drama in the Plath family can sometimes get overwhelming – or maybe it’s just us. Welcome to Plathville is a hugely popular TLC that focuses on a family stuck between their traditional Christian upbringing and a more liberal life.
Olivia Marie Meggs was the woman who introduced these liberal ideas to the conservative Plath family. Meggs grew up in a religious setting similar to the Plaths, but her appetite for life encouraged her to explore beyond the boundaries set by her religious parents.
Marie persuaded her family to relax the restraints of their conservatism but found fierce resistance among her in-laws. After marrying Ethan Plath, her relationship with her parents-in-law went down the toilet as they saw her as a bad influence on Ethan and his siblings.
Olivia grew up in rural Virginia alongside nine siblings
Olivia Plath was born on 25th April 1998 to Don and Karen Meggs. Don and Karen lived in Delaware before moving to rural Virginia as the family expanded. They raised ten children in Virginia, where everyone chipped in on the farm.
Don worked as a software developer in Roanoke, Virginia, and Karen was a stay-at-home mother. The pair said they were overwhelmed raising their children in Delaware, where Don worked for a Fortune 500 company. Don said on American Family Revival:
“Choosing to leave where we [Don and Karen] had both grown up and leaving our extended family behind was a big decision. I was employed with a big Fortune 500 company in Delaware and when I came to Virginia, it was a small company. There was some risk there but I thought that’s what God wanted us to do.”
In Southwest Virginia, Don and Karen found a welcoming community that shared the family’s beliefs. Olivia told American Family Revival she appreciated her large family because she always had guidance and learned how to share. She said:
“We learned personal space wasn’t a thing. Americans have this idea of I have a bubble and people don’t get inside my bubble and I kind of creates this selfish mindset. I’ve never had a lot of my own things because we had to learn to share.”
Marie convinced her family to shed some of their strict religious beliefs
Plath said on Without A Crystal Ball that when she was a teenager, she convinced her family to attend a Christian fundamentalist camp, which proved to be a turning point for them.
Olivia saw some of the rules of the religion as oppressive to women, and thanks to the camp, her family shared her point of view. Much to Olivia’s delight, her family abandoned some religious practices and beliefs oppressive to women.
It wasn’t easy for Olivia to persuade her parents to change their perspective on religion. She occasionally clashed with her parents, but the conflicts didn’t affect the bond they shared. In 2019, Plath dedicated the following Mother’s Day post to Karen:
“Mom, you’ve gone through more in your life than any woman should, and yet you have never complained, never taken that out on me, and sacrificed everything you had to raise me with love and grace. I’m forever indebted to you, my best friend.”
Plath also joked that she wouldn’t want ten children like her mother.
Olivia grew close to her mother-in-law because she offered the affection her mother couldn’t give
In her Mother’s Day post, Olivia referred to Karen as her best friend, suggesting the pair were very close. Not close enough, Olivia later claimed. Karen had ten children to raise, so you can understand why Olivia might have felt a little neglected by her mother.
The need for motherly love endeared her to Kim Plath, her future mother-in-law. Olivia said in season 4’s finale that Kim, a mother of ten children, doted on her, making her feel important. Plath said:
“I trusted her more than I did my own mom, and at that point in my life, I really, really needed a mom figure. Because the mom I had was not nurturing, and also being one of 10 kids, it was really easy to feel overlooked and forgotten.”
Olivia’s attitude to Kim started changing when she realized Kim was using her. “I felt like I was only of value to her if I did what she wanted me to do,” Olivia said.
Plath said her relationship with Kim deteriorated completely after she married Ethan and discovered the extent of Kim’s manipulation. Olivia said that Kim was using Ethan’s credit card and had changed his account password to prevent him from blocking her spending.
Olivia said the first argument with Kim happened when she reset Ethan’s password and refused to send it to Kim. Plath said:
“She’s like, ‘Oh, can you send it to me?’ And I was like, ‘No. That’s his password now.’ And that was the first time she ever blew up and yelled at me and slammed the door on me when she had me come meet her in town over that.”
Olivia and Ethan relocated to Florida to put some distance between them and Ethan’s manipulative parents. She told Us Weekly that she was open to repairing her relationship with Ethan’s parents, but she needed a compromise from them. Olivia said:
“I want to move on, and if I ever change my mind in the future and I want a relationship with them, I’ll let them know. But for right now, I’m just excited to move and go live with Ethan and figure out who I am and what I want in my life. … If they ever came to us and apologized … then I’d revisit it.”
Olivia might finally be open to mending bridges with her once-beloved mother-in-law
Following news of Kim and Barry’s divorce, Olivia moved to mend bridges with Ethan’s father-in-law. “I would really like to revisit things with him and like start off brand new,” Olivia told Moriah, Ethan’s sister, in season 4.
Barry described the reconciliation as ‘new territory.’ In season 4’s finale, Olivia said she was happy with the progress she and Barry had made but didn’t feel ready to reconcile with Kim, infuriating Ethan and his siblings.
Feeling pressure to fix relations, Olivia attended a family event in which Kim was present, having previously refused to grace Joshua Plath’s memorial due to Kim’s presence. Kim and Olivia shared greetings, a momentous feat, considering it was their first interaction in years. Kim said:
“It’s amazing. Olivia’s here, I said hi to her and she said hi back. I mean, like, that’s huge. That’s never happened.”
Olivia said she owes it to Ethan’s siblings to mend relations with her mother-in-law: “I owe it to Ethan, Micah, and Moriah to give it a shot. And then the other part is knowing that the kids are going through a lot and like, wanting to be present in their lives. This is a way for me to see all the kids and hang out with them.”