Working it out. Tiger King star Joe Exotic and husband Dillon Passage will “stay married right now so things don’t get complicated,” the reality star’s lawyer Francisco Hernandez confirmed to Us Weekly. The news comes one day after the couple revealed they were getting divorced.
“I am so glad that they are working things through,” the attorney told the outlet on Saturday, March 27. “They need each other and they’re much stronger together than apart.”
On Friday, March 26, the 58-year-old, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, hinted at a breakup in an Instagram post. “Dillon thinks having to sleep alone and not have me out there is so rough and hard to deal with to the point he has to leave me,” the former Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park owner wrote. “Now I don’t even have a home.”
Exotic added that he felt he was being overlooked “by the one who made you a promise to stick with you for better or for worse.” He then claimed Passage, 25, had “abandoned” him “just to have someone else to sleep with and call a lover, while the man who gave up paying for his own defense so his husband could live some kind of enjoyable life while he lives through hell.”
Exotic and Passage wed in December 2017, three years before the former tiger exhibitor was sentenced to 22 years in prison — which he is serving in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2019, Exotic was convicted on two counts of attempted murder for hire after allegedly hiring a hitman to kill fellow big cat enthusiast Carole Baskin, as well as 17 federal counts of animal abuse.
Hours after the Netflix star’s post, Passage took to Instagram to confirm the split himself. “In November of 2017 I met Joe who was there for me during a difficult time in my life. After just 9 short months he was arrested and, for the last two and a half years, we have been apart,” he wrote. “I’ve always stood by his side and will continue to always love and support him.”
“To answer the main question the public wants to know, yes, Joe and I are seeking a divorce,” Passage added. “This wasn’t an easy decision to make but Joe and I both understand that this situation isn’t fair to either of us.”
Before his marriage to Passage, Exotic was in a three-way marriage with John Finlay and Travis Maldonado. He and Finlay broke up in 2014, but Exotic was still married to Maldonado at the time of his death in 2017.
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