Dillon Passage, the latest husband to the infamous “Tiger King,” recently opened up about his marriage to Joe Exotic.
During a conversation with late night TV host Andy Cohen, Passage described what life was like with Exotic.
He also shared a little about where their relationship stands now that Exotic is serving a prison sentence.
Read on for the full story, including details about the show itself, for those who haven’t seen it.
Who is the Tiger King?
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is a 7-part true crime documentary. The show first released on Netflix, in March 20, 2020.
According to the Netflix description, “A zoo owner spirals out of control amid a cast of eccentric characters in this true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding.”
Commonly referred to as Joe Exotic, he was born Joseph Allen Schreibvogel, on March 5, 1963, in Garden City, Kansas.
Joe Exotic, also known as Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, owned and operated of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.
Where is Joe Exotic Now?
So, where is Joe Exotic now?
According to documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office- Western District of Oklahoma, on April 2, 2019, Joseph Maldonado-Passage was convicted on 2 counts of murder-for-hire, 8 counts of violating the Lacey Act for falsifying wildlife records and 9 counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.
On January 22, 2020, the court sentenced Exotic to 2 years in prison.
The murder-for-hire conviction stems from his meeting with two hit men, in November and December of 2017- one an undercover FBI agent- in a plot to have Carole Baskin killed.
Joe Exotic had a lengthy feud with Baskin, an animal rights activist and owner of Big Cat Rescue, a non-profit animal sanctuary in Tampa, Florida.
Carole accuses Joe of animal abuse and Joe claims that Carole killed her late husband, Don Lewis (who disappeared on August 18, 1997), and fed him to her tigers.
Their feud dates back to February 2013, when Carole won a trademark infringement civil suit against Exotic to the tune of nearly $1 million.
Baskin claimed that he used images and logos that were almost similar to those used by Baskin’s sanctuary.
Dillon Passage Open Up About His Marriage to Joe Exotic
Joe Exotic married 4 times between 2001 and 2017.
His first husband, Brian Rhyne, died in 2001 of complications from HIV.
Husband #2 was John Finlay, who he married in early 2014. At the same time and during the same ceremony, Exotic wed Travis Maldonado.
Tragically, Maldonado died on October 6, 2017, after allegedly accidentally shooting himself at Exotic’s park.
Exotic’s current husband is 24-year-old Dillon Passage, who he married on December 11, 2017, just 2 months after Maldonado’s death.
In a March 31, 2020, interview with Variety Live, Passage says that he and Joe are still married, stating “I wasn’t just going to abandon him when he needed help because he was there for me.”
Passage explained that when he first met Joe, he was addicted to Xanax, a prescription medication often prescribed to treat anxiety.
He stated, “Joe helped me get healthy again, get me in the right mental state. I felt alone. I felt like there was going to be nobody there for me. Joe made me feel like there was reason to be alive.”
Passage spoke to Andy Cohen Live the following day, on April 1, 2020. He reiterated his former statements.
Passage added that Joe often worries about him leaving the marriage while he is in prison.
Passage stated, “He doesn’t want me to be alone, but he also doesn’t want me to move on, if that makes sense. He doesn’t want me to leave, but I have no intention to leave. …. It’s a complicated situation.”
In March 2020, Exotic transferred to a new federal prison where he spent 14 days in quarantine as a precaution.
He currently resides at the Federal Medical Center, operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, in Fort Worth, Texas.