Rick Kirkham, who is featured on Netflix’s Tiger King series, has claimed that Joe Exotic has a secret ex-wife and kids. Kirkham is the subject of a new show tonight on Investigation Discovery called The Truth Behind Joe Exotic: The Rick Kirkham Story.
Kirkham Claims that Joe Exotic Had a Secret Family
Kirkham said he’d been married years before, adding: “He had children and his son came to work at the zoo the summer that I was there, the very first summer.”
Kirkham added that Joe Exotic’s son Brandon was actually in the documentary.
Kirkham said in the Q&A:
Joe treated his son worse than he treated the other employees. He expected more out of him, he expected him to take more leadership and do harder work. … He had his son sweeping the park instead of giving him a decent job, feeding the animals or something like that. It was almost as though he regretted having a child, that he regretted having been married.”
According to Cinemaholic, Brandon Chappell is 38 and is the son of Joe Exotic and a woman named Kim, whom he lived with while working as chief of police in Eastvale, Texas. Intelligencer reported that Joe Exotic lived with a woman named Kim at that time, and he was so depressed that he attempted suicide by crashing his police car. The Intelligencer article did not mention Brandon.
Joe Exotic’s niece, Chealsi Putman, told Daily Mail that she helped the FBI catch Joe Exotic while he was on the run. Her mother is Joe Exotic’s youngest sister. Putman told Daily Mail that while Joe Exotic lived with Him, he had a son named Brandon. Brandon now has three children of his own.
She told Daily Mail: “Joe was in and out of Brandon’s life when he was growing up, at one point just a few years ago Brandon and his then wife, both worked at the zoo with Joe. Joe would go around telling everyone this was his son, he made no secret about it. Brandon was even in a few scenes in the Netflix show.”
She said the two are now estranged and Brandon moved back to Texas with his family.
Joe Exotic’s Husband Said Joe Does Not Have a Secret Son
Joe Exotic’s husband, Dillon Passage, disagreed with reports that Joe Exotic had a secret son and said Brandon Chappell was not his stepson, Inquisitr reported.
Dillon Passage made the statements on a radio show, saying: “Joe does not have any kids, okay? I recently heard the same rumor, and I was like, are you trying to tell me that I’m a stepdad to a 38-year-old and I have grandkids? Joe used to be with this girl, her name was Kim. But when him and Kim split up, Joe’s brother actually got with Kim and they had a son and that is Brandon Chappell.”
So according to Joe Exotic’s husband, Brandon Chappell is Joe Exotic’s nephew, not his son. Rick Kirkham and Joe Exotic’s niece say the opposite.
READ NEXT: Daily COVID-19 Updates