While the Netflix series Tiger King made Joe Exotic a household name his cast of characters were also thrust into the spotlight. In part three of Tiger Tales News 9 checks in with a few of them finding out what life has been like since, and gives an update from Joe himself.
“Exciting, stressful, crazy, we’re taking it one day at a time,” said Joe Maldonado’s ex-husband John Finlay.
“It's been a whirlwind since the docu-series release,” said former campaign manager Joshua Dial.
“I get noticed and things like that,” said government informant James Garretson.
Overnight---the tale of Joe Exotic from his zoo, to his arrest and then his conviction, captivated millions.
"None of us ever imagined it would be this big,” said Dial.
"They basically helped people through this coronavirus," said Garretson.
While the series offered entertainment, for John Finlay it was his life.
"Me and the fiancé watched it in one night," said Finlay.
Finlay married Joe Exotic in a three-way marriage in 2014 and spent a total of 15 years at the G.W. Animal Park.
"The animals were the best thing that most of us had in life," said Finlay.
While featured as a toothless, shirtless, and tattooed lover turned ex fans can't get enough.
"My personal Facebook is blowing up, my fan page is blowing up, even my Instagram is blowing up," said Finlay.
Almost unrecognizable now---with a new set of chompers, Finlay said he has a new fiancé and outlook on life---celebrating 6 years sober.
“I really don’t look back, and look forward on the positive things in life,” said Finlay.
He's not sure where he'll land next, but he said the future is bright.
"You may see me on tv, we'll see where it goes," said Finlay.
"This whole series that I have been experiencing just reopened it and I’m reliving it every day, every night, every morning," said Dial.
Life for Joe's former campaign manager, Joshua Dial, since the docu-series has been an emotional roller coaster.
"I had like a seizure almost. Like I started seizing up. I started screaming," said Dial.
He said suppressed memories bubbled to the surface forcing him to deal with Joe's husband's death in 2017.
Travis Maldonado died from a self-inflicted, accidental shooting.
"He said it's a Ruger so it won’t fire without a clip," said Dial.
Dial witnessed it and it was played for millions to watch.
“He was just like yeah and just like that boom," said Dial. "Like my brain was trying to put together some rational explanation.”
Sympathizing fans came to his aid creating a GoFundMe page to help pay for counseling and medication, raising nearly $20,000.
“The outpour of support from people all around the world coming to my support and my defense. That's been such an amazing thing,” said Dial.
“I get a lot of death threats cooperating with the feds. I get probably 60 to 70 a day,” said Garretson.
James Garretson played a big role in the arrest of Joe Exotic-introducing him to the second hitman hired to kill Carole Baskin.
The hitman was actually an undercover agent.
“Towards the end I was getting disgusted at some of the things he would say and how he treated his employees. So, at that point I decided to turn and help the federal government,” said Dial.
Garretson said while he still maintains a handful of exotic animals, he no longer has the passion he once did.
“A lot of these things soured me. I used to do the same thing, I did photos with tigers and then I just saw that it's wrong,” said Garretson.
He now spends his days operating a Sea-Doo business in Florida.
And while he's been inspiring memes, Garretson said the notoriety isn't worth the headache as he contends with keyboard warriors.
“He does have some crazy followers that think he's innocent. Joe is a good salesman. He knows how to play people. I mean he played me a lot of different times. He’s a good conman.
In a letter to News 9, Joe said due to COVID-19 precautions he's allowed two phone calls a month and is isolated to himself.
He said the lack of communication has taken a toll and said "his soul is dying.”