Entertainment

Tiger King’s Joe Exotic Officially Files for Divorce From Dillon Passage


Joe Exotic with Dillon Passage insetted.
Netflix; Courtesy of Dillon Passage/Instagram

Moving on. Joe Exotic officially filed for divorce from Dillon Passage one year after putting their split on pause.

The 59-year-old Tiger King star (whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage) submitted paperwork to a Florida courthouse on Thursday, March 31, filing to end the pair’s four-year marriage.

Maldonado-Passage claimed in court documents obtained by Us Weekly that the estranged couple’s union is “irretrievably broken,” prompting his request for a dissolution of marriage.

The Kansas native — who is currently serving a 21-year prison sentence for animal abuse and attempted murder for hire — is seeking “temporary, rehabilitative, durational, bridge-the-gap, and lump sum alimony” to help him maintain the standard of living he had during his marriage to Passage, 26, per the docs.

Maldonado-Passage asked the court to restore his former name back to Joseph Allen Maldonado and wants his estranged husband to pay his legal fees.

The former Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park owner and Passage tied the knot in December 2017, and their relationship was featured on Netflix’s docuseries, which debuted in early 2020. They announced their initial split in March 2021 after three years together.

“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,” Maldonado-Passage wrote via Instagram at the time. “Now I don’t even have a home.”

He claimed that Passage 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.”

Passage, for his part, addressed the split with his own social media post, writing, “To answer the main question the public wants to know, yes, Joe and I are seeking a divorce. This wasn’t an easy decision to make but Joe and I both understand that this situation isn’t fair to either of us.”

One day later, Maldonado-Passage’s lawyer Francisco Hernandez confirmed to Us that the duo had decided to put their divorce on hold. The reality stars spoke on the phone and chose to “stay married right now so things don’t get complicated,” Hernandez told Us in March 2021.

Maldonado-Passage’s legal team confirmed in a statement to Us on Thursday that former Oklahoma resident “failed to serve” Passage with divorce papers last year amid their brief talks of parting ways.

Maldonado-Passage has since retained Autumn Beck Blackledge, Pensacola Family Attorney, to legally pursue the divorce. “Joe ‘Exotic’ has tried to obtain information about Mr. Passage and his whereabouts so that the two could enter into what he hopes to be an amicable divorce, but so far, his attempts to get Mr. Passage to contact him have failed,” the attorney claimed in the statement. “It is the hope of the Tiger King that they can both move on with their lives and divorce quickly and amicably.”

With reporting by Diana Cooper

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