TIGER King’s Joe Exotic and his husband Dillon Passage are set to file for divorce after three years of marriage.
Exotic, 58, reportedly learned his relationship with Dylan, 25, was over via a phone call to the Forth Worth, Texas prison where he’s currently serving 22-years for plotting to kill his big cat rival Carole Baskin.
In an email to a friend penned shortly after learning of Dylan’s plans to divorce, Exotic wrote that he felt “abandoned and alone and just wanted to mean something to someone.”
Dylan, meanwhile, has said the decision to split wasn’t easy and insisted their was no bad blood between the pair, pledging to support him throughout the remainder of his sentence.
The 25-year-old said he has grown lonely since Exotic was placed behind bars in January 2020, and would like to start dating again.
In a lengthy statement posted to Instagram, Dylan wrote: “In November of 2017 I met Joe who was there for me during a difficult time in my life. After just 9 short months he was arrested and, for the last two and a half years, we have been apart.
“I’ve always stood by his side and will continue to always love and support him.”
Dylan also described how he’s struggled to cope with attention from the media and public since the release of Tiger King in spring last year, which went on to become a cult phenomenon in the early weeks of the pandemic.
“I felt as if I had a microscope constantly looming over me which was and still is incredibly uncomfortable,” he wrote.
“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. 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.”
Exotic and Dylan tied the knot in 2017, just two months after the Netflix star’s first husband, Travis Maldonado, shot himself in the head at Exotic’s Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park.
Earlier this month, the big cat fanatic took to social media to pen an angry tweet, claiming Dylan was neglecting him.
He wrote: “Money destroyed my entire family. I won’t allow it to kill my soul. You win, Dillon, [Dillon’s manageer] Jeff Duncan, Carole [Baskin.]”
Exotic also made mention of his ex-Moldonado, adding: “Come March 22nd for Travis’s Birthday I am going to keep his promise I made the day he died. I don’t need the fame, the money or the bulls***, you can have it all..”
The posts have since been deleted, but not before Dylan issued a lengthy statement on Instagram.
“I wanted to get a post up to address Joe’s recent activity on social media. He and I, like everyone in any relationship, go through their ups and downs. This is magnified by the fact that our relationship is very public and the fact that one of his only outlets is social media,” Dylan wrote.
“Unfortunately it isn’t the healthiest place to deal with personal affairs and not how I normally handle my relationship challenges.”
He continued: “Joe is obviously having a difficult time in prison and I don’t think any of us can fault him for that. I’ve never spoken poorly of Joe, through the ups and the downs and through his good and his bad. I see through all of this and recognize and realize it for what it is; a man in prison just trying to do his best.”
Exotic was arrested in September 2018 and later convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder for hire in a plot to kill Baskin.
The former zoo owner had requested a presidential pardon from Donald Trump before he left office, but an exoneration never came.
He sued the Justice Department in December in a bid to overturn his sentence, and more recently he hired a new legal team as they plot to use un-aired Tiger King footage to push for a new trial.
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The announcement of the newest legal challenged came in a post to Twitter from attoney John Phillips.
“We are honored to announce that Joe has retained our firm. We’re going to seek a new trial, and justice in the criminal and civil courts.”
Exotic also plans to release a book this November, titled Tiger King: The Official Tell-All Memoir.
“It’s going to be a truth-tell book… Everybody that’s ever done anything good, it’s going to be in there and anybody that’s got bones in your closet, you better look out,” he told E-News.