By Nathalie Bonney @nathaliebonney
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Videographer / director: Alexis Duran
Producer: Nathalie Bonney, Ruby Coote
Editor: Thom Johnson
Seven members and counting, the Sullivan-Kings are larger than your average family. And with two mums and one dad, they are also not the most conventional.
So far, Buddy, 33, Rose, 33 and Lauren, 34, who share a California king size bed in their San Diego home, have four children between them – all boys – with another on the way. Spoiler alert: it’s another boy.
Buddy told Barcroft TV: “We are pretty much like a normal family expect there is an extra mom and we have a lot of kids.”
Buddy and Rose started dating in college, eventually got married and had two children, Owen, now seven, and James, five.
Settled in a monogamous relationship, the couple talked about bringing someone else into their bedroom to spice up their sex lives – but they didn’t expect the rest of their lives to change so dramatically.
Rose, who identifies as bisexual, got back in touch with old girlfriend Lauren on social media.
She said: “I looked up Lauren on Facebook just to see how she was doing and we met up and started hanging out as friends. She met the boys and she met Buddy and then it just like happened. We all just, got into a relationship.”
The trio had instant chemistry.
Lauren added: “We’re all three Scorpios so we’re not shy in the bedroom. None of us is hiding and waiting to take our clothes off. It’s all right, let’s do this. You know there’s no shame. We know that we’re gonna do.
“The question is always ‘How’s the sex?’ and well you’ve seen pornos with threesomes and obviously it’s great.
“We don’t have a schedule, it’s always spur of the moment and when we do it’s always the three of us - it’s never boring, it’s definitely exciting."
But their attraction wasn’t just sexual: not only did Rose and Lauren fall in love all over again, Buddy and Lauren also realised they had a connection and the three now describe themselves as being in a committed triad.
Lauren said: “None of us were looking for a relationship. It just turned into a relationship. [It] just worked out with all three of us being together.
And while none of them deliberately sought out to be in a polyamorous relationship, they now couldn’t imagine any other dynamic working.
Lauren said: "People ask ‘Are you guys open?’ or 'would you be open to dating somebody else?' and there are some relationships like that, but we’re not like that we’re closed - which means it’s just us three and everything is equal.
“For us it’s polyfidelity so we’re just us. There’s no open ends."
Although a wedding ceremony between three people wouldn’t be legally binding, the trio plan to marry and believe it will be a chance to declare their love for one another equally to friends and family.
Rose said: “Being married I just think it means that we’re all together - like we’re in this forever, till the end and all in it as a family.
“Obviously we can't be married on paper with Lauren, we can still do a ceremony, which we’re planning on doing. Lauren can also change her last name to Sullivan.”
Lauren added: “I’m sure people, even though we’ve had children together, might still think it’s a phase and I think that would probably tell them: no we’re spending money on getting married, we wanna do this, we want to have this.”
Rose and Buddy proposed to Lauren two years ago, both getting down on one knee at the top of nearby Mount Helix as the sun was setting - but have had to delay the ceremony after the family’s run of recent pregnancies.
In 2015 both Lauren and Rose got pregnant, each giving birth to a baby boy, just five months apart. Lauren’s biological son Damien was born in February 2016 and Rose gave birth to Ryan in June of the same year.
Lauren is now pregnant with her and Buddy’s second child and is due to give birth to a baby boy in April 2018.
The thruple have begun landmark legal proceedings so that all three adults share equal legal responsibility for the boys. As biological father to all four buys – and the bump in waiting - Buddy’s name is automatically on all of his son’s birth certificates; however the family want to make history by applying for Lauren and Rose to be legal guardians for each other’s biological children.
Rose said: “It’s a very, very long process. We just filed the paperwork a while ago for Damien so now we’re just waiting for the court day and all that.
“It’s a year process for each kid but it was something that we really wanted.”
The family will first apply for Rose to legally adopt Lauren and Buddy’s biological son Damien; if successful they will then go through the process again for each child.
Rose said: “This is like a test run in California because nobody else has done it. We’re trying for a step parent adoption but it’s gonna be a three parent adoption, which hasn’t been done in California.
“We’re trying with Damien first because it’s one child and I’ve been around his whole life so if that works out then Lauren will go for adopting my boys, Owen, James and Ryan and then I will have to go again and adopt the baby.”
Committed to being ‘out’ about their relationship status; the group of people they’ve come up against the most animosity are Lauren’s lesbian friends.
She said: “Rose’s family is pretty big in the church, and they are really nice - they all friend requested me right away and wanted to know me and Buddy’s family is Catholic and they were very open to that. So we haven’t had any problems from their friends and family.
“The problem I did have was with my friends in the lesbian community. You would think they will be more accepting but they were the ones who were least accepting of it, they were the hardest to get through to and some of them I still don’t talk to.”
Lauren said: “When we are all together and even if we are holding hands or sitting at a coffee table and we are all touching hands, we get people walking by and do like a triple take because they don’t expect to see three people being so close together.
“Usually Buddy gets cheered ‘yeah go dude’ and I am like what about us?!”
For now the family are focused on the arrival of baby boy number five and bringing up their children.
Buddy said: “We are just normal people. I know we have a unique situation that we are in. But our goal as a family is pretty much the same as everyone else’s. We want to raise our children to be good people and do good and be successful in life and have their own families.”
Lauren added: “People always assume I love one person more than the other and I don’t we all love each other equally and that’s what makes our relationship different."