The Real Reason Why Tiger King’s John Finlay Got His Teeth Fixed


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John Finlay
John Finlay Courtesy of John Finlay

Tiger King’s John Finlay speaks out! In an exclusive interview with Us Weekly, Joe Exotic’s ex-husband opened up about the intense dental surgery he had in June 2019 that transformed his look — and consequently shocked the Internet.

On March 26, Finlay updated fans on the state of his oral health by posting a selfie on Facebook of him and his wife, Stormey Sanders. In the pic, the tiger-lover smiles wide to reveal his picture-perfect teeth, a jarring contrast to the gnarly chompers he had while filming the Netflix docuseries.

Finlay tells Us Weekly that he had oral surgery before he tied the knot with Sanders. ”It was just one of those things that I needed to do for myself,” he says.

The former zookeeper continues, “I was like, ‘Before we get married, we’re getting my teeth fixed.’ And within that week she had an appointment scheduled, and it was done.”

Tiger Kings Doc Antle Says John Finlays Teeth Were Fixed Before Taping
John Finlay Netflix

Since he made the decision to have the procedure, it’s had a positive impact on his self-confidence. “I smile a whole lot more,” admits Finlay, before adding, “I mean a lot more.”

One of the craziest things about Finlay’s surgery? The welder says, “It hurt worse than my 50-something tattoos.” Side note: he says he’s currently in discussion with his tattoo artist about what to do with his tattoos dedicated to Joe Exotic. There are less than five that he intends to cover up but “nothing is actually set in stone of how it’s going to be done.”

And now for debunking some rumors! Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, founder and director of the Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, told Us in an exclusive interview that “John was forced to take out his teeth for the series.” But according to Finlay, that statement’s not true.

“I had previous dental work and stuff, and I had broken some of them out,” Finlay tells Us. “And that’s why I didn’t have a, at least, a full set of front teeth.”

The people of the Internet speculated that Finlay’s missing teeth was due to meth use. But the Oklahoma resident shut down that rumor, too. “No, it was not the case,” he says. “It was genetic. I battled with it from a teenager up till my mid-thirties.”

Finally tells Us that he’s been sober for six years now.

If you’re sad that you binged the series too fast, it turns out that there’s more to come! On Thursday, April 9, Netflix confirmed that a Tiger King after-show will premiere on the streaming service on Sunday, April 12.

Reporting by Brody Brown

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