'Tiger King': Dillon Passage Says Joe Exotic Would 'Support' Him Pursuing Another Relationship (Exclusive)
By John Boone
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To say Joe Exotic and Dillon Passage's marriage is complicated is like saying Tiger Kinghas only the tiniest bit of murder, mayhem and madness.
Joe met his fourth husband mere months after the tragic death of his third husband. The two tied the knot about two weeks later. "We did get married really soon," Passage tells ET's Lauren Zima. "But Joe is the type of person that needs a companion."
Passage was in a "really dark place" when he met Joe during the filming of Tiger King. Then 22, he says he was battling depression and a drug addiction. "Joe brought me out of my depression and made me feel like I was wanted," he says, adding that neither was using drugs during the time they were together. "He was like the shining light that kept me out of that."
"At first it was more like a companionship, but being around him as much as I was and seeing his personality and how he treated me and how he treated his animals, I really grew to love Joe," Passage says.
The two were married in 2017 and the following year, Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was arrested and eventually found guilty of murder-for-hire, among other charges. Joe began serving a 22-year sentence in January, but his husband says they are very much still married.
"We are still married and we talk quite frequently," he confirms. And with Joe recently relocating from Grady County Jail in Oklahoma -- which Passage says did not allow visitors -- to a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, "Thankfully where he's at now, he's allowed to have conjugal visits."
Now 24, Passage would be in his mid-40s by the time Joe, 57, is released, short of a successful appeal or full pardon from the president. But he is adamant that he will not leave Joe -- even if he finds himself in another relationship. (After all, Joe is a polygamist himself.)
"Me and Joe have had that conversation, actually," Passage reveals. "He doesn't want me alone forever. Right now, I don't feel the need to fill that empty void, [but] if I do ever meet somebody that I feel is going to be very important to me, then Joe would be perfectly fine-- Well, maybe not perfectly fine, but he would support my decision to be happy again."
"I would still be in contact with Joe," he adds. "I wouldn't just go meet this person and then act like Joe never existed, because obviously he's a big part of my life and he's done a lot for me. I'm going to stick by his side and still be there even if I find somebody to love."