Joe Exotic’s Ex-Husband Says The Wedding Was “Fake”

(From Right) John Finlay, Joe Exotic, and Travis Maldonado holding a “fake” wedding, according to Finlay, in 2014. / Image via YouTube @JoeExoticTV

Was Joe Exotic’s wedding a publicity stunt?

Last year, big cat zoo owner Joe Exotic became a household name. This was due to the popular Netflix documentary series Tiger King, which centered on Exotic’s longstanding feud with big cat advocate Carole Baskin. The series was full of drama, such as failed assasination attempts, murder mysteries, cults, and even gay polyamory. But now, one of Joe’s ex-husbands says some parts of the relationship were “made for tv.”


Talking to the Sun, 37-year-old John Finlay, says he was “young and dumb and didn’t know a nail from a hole in the wall” when he first met Joe Exotic at the age of 19. The two met when Finlay began working at Exotic’s zoo. The relationship then continued through 2014 when John appeared to marry Joe and Travis. But, he says that the wedding was a fake event created by Exotic to vie for a reality show.

“My fake wedding didn’t feel right at all. This is a totally different feeling,” he admitted while referencing his 2020 marriage to a woman named Stormey Sanders. “The fake one was basically a publicity stunt so Joe could get his own reality TV series. This one was the real thing.”

He then continued with his comparison between his “fake” and recent wedding, “I didn’t wear a suit, the only time I’ll do that will be for my funeral. But I wasn’t in a pink shirt either. I wore a button-up black Western shirt, jeans and my rattlesnake boots.”


Now, John Finlay is happily married and trying to move on from his past with the “mean” Exotic (as Finlay calls him). That said, Finlay has a major hurdle in his journey to move on… his tattoos. The phrase, “Privately Owned by Joe Exotic” was once placed above John’s groin but has since been covered with a bull’s head. Unfortunately for John Finlay, he has four other tattoos with Exotic’s nname including a “For My Husband, Joe” tattoo on his upper arm.

“My only short-term goal is to get all my tattoos covered up,” he said. “It helps get rid of old memories and I will feel a lot freer when they are gone.”

Despite that, John Finlay says he doesn’t regret being a part of the Tiger King series.

“The only issues I had were the fake wedding and the fact they made me look like a drugged-up hillbilly,” he said.


Finlay would even welcome a second season, should Netflix ever greenlight it. After all, he was “happy to be a part of the first one,” saying, “I wasn’t in it for the money. I was in it for the fun.”

Image via Netflix

As for Joe Exotic, he is currently spending 22 years in the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas for hiring a hitman to kill Carole Baskin.

Every one of his three marriages has also ended over the past decade. Not only did John Finlay break up with Exotic, but Travis Maldonado committed suicide in 2017. Then, recently, Exotic’s current husband, Dillon Passage, announced his plans to divorce the defamed zoo owner.


“To answer the main question the public wants to know, yes, Joe and I are seeking a divorce,” Passage wrote on his Instagram account. “This wasn’t an easy decision to make but Joe and I both understand that this situation isn’t fair to either of us. It’s something that neither of us were expecting but we are going to take it day by day.”

“We are on good terms still and I hope it can stay that way,” he added. “I will continue to have Joe in my life and do my best to support him while he undergoes further legal battles to better his situation.”

Source: The Sun,

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