Tiger King star Dillon Passage is eager to reunite with his husband, Joe Exotic, almost two years after the wildcat enthusiast was arrested.
Passage, 24, told Us Weekly exclusively on Friday, April 10, that he hopes to begin having conjugal visits with Exotic (real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage), 57, “within the next month.”
He added that Exotic’s last facility did not allow conjugal visits. Exotic was previously held in Grady County Jail in Chickasha, Oklahoma, before he was sentenced in January to 22 years in prison and transferred to FMC Fort Worth in Texas.
“You know, I miss Joe and it sucks not being able to touch him,” Passage, who wed Exotic in December 2017, said. “But still being able to talk to him, you know, that’s really what has kept us going strong. That’s really all we can look forward to at this point. Other than the fact that he may get pardoned, and he may not, but really the main goal is to get his sentence lessened if he can’t get out of jail immediately.”
Exotic was convicted on 17 charges of animal abuse and two counts of murder for hire against his nemesis, animal activist Carole Baskin.
Passage told Us that his last day with Exotic ended with his husband unexpectedly getting arrested.
“So we woke up and we had breakfast. He played with the dogs for a little bit, and then he was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go to the hospital and, you know, put in this resume,’” the Netflix star recalled. “It was kind of early in the afternoon. I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go to the gym.’ So, I’m at the gym and I get the call. And he’s like, ‘Oh, I’m in the back of a police car right now, a U.S. Marshal.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, well that’s weird. You know, like, why?’ And he’s like, ‘They won’t tell me.’”
Later that day, Passage went to pick up Exotic’s truck and found out the details of his husband’s case. “I was completely mind-blown because I was not expecting anything like that,” he said.
Tiger King chronicles the longstanding feud between Exotic and Baskin, 58, which ended in the zoo owner’s arrest for allegedly hiring a hitman to murder the Big Cat Rescue founder. Passage told Us that he never met Baskin but thought she would do anything to “piss Joe off” over the years. However, he acknowledged that “she could be a really nice person.”
Tiger King is currently streaming on Netflix. A reunion special, The Tiger King and I, will be released Sunday, April 12.
With reporting by Brody Brown
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