Even if you ignore the death threats, animal obsession, ramshackle zoo, country music career and terrible hair, Tiger King star Joe Exotic could base a whole documentary series around his love life alone. Same-sex marriage was only made legal in the state of Oklahoma in 2014, but Exotic managed to marry two of his five husbands before that and went on to have a polygamous marriage with two husbands at the same time.
But who were the men who married into this madness and where are they now?
Joe Exotic met his first husband, Brian Rhine, in the early 1980s when he was working as a security guard at a gay bar. They married at the same bar and lived together with their many poodles until Brian’s death in 2001. They also opened a pet store and an animal sanctuary together. Brian passed away owing to complications from HIV.
After being widowed, Joe’s next partner was a significantly younger events producer, J.C. Hartpence, with whom he reportedly had a rocky and sometimes violent relationship. The pair eventually split up and J.C. Hartpence is now in prison for a murder he committed after splitting with Joe.
John Finlay and Travis Moldanado
In 2014, Joe entered into his polygamous marriage with zoo employees John Finlay and Travis Michael Moldanado, in a ceremony took place in a hall opposite the zoo. Both relationships ended dramatically.
According to reports John very quickly began to feel that Joe’s behaviour was controlling and manipulative. Indeed, Exotic had paid for him to have a tattoo above his pelvis that read, ‘Privately Owned by Joe Exotic’. The relationship ended in the same year they married, when John attacked Exotic in a car park and was arrested on assault charges. John also entered into a relationship with a female worker at the zoo, with whom he had a baby.
How did Travis die?
As for Travis, he met a bizarre end in 2017 by accidentally killing himself in the zoo gift shop. Reportedly he was trying to show that the gun wasn’t firing, but was sadly mistaken.
Exotic met his final husband in the same year as Travis died, shortly before his arrest for animal abuse crimes and attempts to hire hitmen to murder Carole Baskin. Now in his fifties, Joe met 19-year old Dillon Passage online. The couple moved in together within days and married within months before moving to Florida. They are apparently still together despite the fact that Exotic is currently serving a 22 year sentence in prison.
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