The Netflix series, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness follows the feud between Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage also known as “Joe Exotic” and Carole Baskin. Many people shared their stories in it including John Finlay, who was married to Maldonado-Passage. He claimed something changed the zookeeper before he took a bad turn.
‘Tiger King’ followed Joe Exotic’s feud with Carole Baskin
Baskin was focused on closing Maldonado-Passage’s zoo because he was breeding tigers and using the cubs for a petting zoo. He retaliated by making claims she was involved in her husband’s disappearance, using a name similar to her company’s to confuse people, and made music videos about her.
There is no evidence that Baskin was actually involved in her husband’s disappearance. Exotic eventually was sentenced to prison for 22 years for trying to hire someone to murder Baskin.
He had 4 husbands
Joe Exotic has had four husbands. His first was Brian Rhyne. They met in 1980 and Rhyne was 19 years old when he moved in with the zookeeper. Rhyne later died in 2001 from complications from HIV.
Finlay then worked for Joe Exotic’s zoo and roadshow. Their relationship eventually became romantic. The zoo owner then got married to Finlay and Travis Maldonado in a three-way ceremony.
Finlay later left him and married a secretary that worked at the park named Stormey. Maldonado died in 2017 from accidentally shooting himself with a gun. Exotic then married Dillon Passage.
John Finlay thinks getting followers changed him
The Joe Exotic podcast by Wondery released a bonus episode called “I Was Married to Joe Exotic.” It included Rob Moor’s interview with Finlay.
Moor asked him if it was a genuine loving relationship. “In the beginning it felt that way. But about eight years into it, it didn’t,” answered Finlay. The host asked what it felt like after those eight years. “Like he was just using me. He took credit for a lot of stuff that I did,” Finlay said.
He later talked about his ex-husband wanting a lot of attention. “No, he wasn’t good about sharing the spotlight ever,” said Finlay. “He always had to be the center of attention. Somebody try to upstage him, he’d knock him down. He would make jokes about ’em, whatever just to get the spotlight back onto him.”
Finlay said he slowly started becoming this way. “In the beginning, it was all about the animals and toward the end it was about the stardom and the money,” he said. “Animals were last on his list.” He shared what he thought changed about his ex-husband.
“I think it was all the followers that he was getting. I mean he had 200,000 followers or something like that at times,” he said before adding, “everything went to his head.”
Finlay has since updated fans of the documentary on his life. He shared a picture with his wife on Facebook and captioned it with, “Yes I have my teeth fixed. The producers of the Netflix series had video and pictures of this, but chose not to show it.”