Tonight, ABC News’ 20/20 will interview John Wayne Bobbitt, who will recount the 1993 incident in which his then-wife cut off his penis. The two-hour special is titled The Bobbitts: Love Hurts, and will air tonight on ABC.
The segment will revisit footage from Lorena Bobbitt’s first TV interview with 20/20 back in 1993. Other interview subjects include Paul Ebert, Blair Howard, Lorena Bobbitt’s attorney, John Bobbitt’s attorney, John’s brother, two doctors who treated John Bobbitt, and more.
What do you need to know about the former couple heading into tonight’s episode?
1. Lorena Cut off John’s Penis in 1993
In a 1993 incident that made headlines across the world, Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband, John’s penis, while he was asleep in his bed.
Speaking to ABC News’ 20/20, John says of waking up to realize that he had been attacked, “It was a nightmare. I cleared my thoughts, applied pressure. I went to wake my friend up to tell him to get me to the hospital.”
After using an 8-inch kitchen knife to cut off her husband’s penis, Lorena left her apartment and drove off. “In her panic she hadn’t realized that she was still clutching John’s penis. Horror-struck, she rolled down the window of the moving vehicle and threw it out into a field,” Crimes Below the Belt writes.
She then proceeded to call 911. John was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery that lasted more than 9 hours.
In court, Lorena said that John had repeatedly abused her, both sexually and physically. She explained that she attacked him after “a drunken John Bobbitt had raped her in their Virginia apartment.” John was also said to be involved in extramarital affairs.
2. The Couple Divorced in 1995
John Wayne Bobbitt and Lorena married in 1989. At the time, John was 26 and Lorena was 24. They divorced in 1995.
Lorena was charged with malicious wounding and found not guilty in court, by reason of temporary insanity. John was found not guilty of marital sexual assault.
3. Amazon Is Making a Lorena Bobbitt Documentary Series
Unsurprisingly, the Bobbitt’s story was tabloid fodder, and has since been referenced in movies like Sabbath’s Theater, Fight Club, and even the Eminem song “Evil Twin”.
Next, it will be the subject of a four-part Amazon docuseries executive-produced by Jordan Peele.
Lorena Bobbitt, born in Ecuador in 1969, was raised in Venezuela. She came to the US in 1987 on a student visa, and enrolled in Northern Virginia Community College.
Lorena met then Corporal John Wayne Bobbitt, of Niagra Falls, at a dance hall near the US Marine Corps base at Quantico. She tells Vanity Fair of meeting John, “I thought John was very handsome. Blue eyes. A man in a uniform, you know? He was almost like a symbol—a Marine, fighting for the country. I believed in this beautiful country. I was swept off my feet. I wanted my American Dream.” John tells the outlet: “Lorena was pretty. She was innocent. She was real, real sweet.”
4. Bobbitt Starred in Two Adult Films
After his trial wrapped up, John Bobbitt went on to star in two adult films, “Uncut” and “Frankenpenis.” In an interview with Vanity Fair, John said, “A porno seemed like the best way to show my penis worked… Only it wasn’t all-the-way healed yet. I realize now that that was the point.”
That isn’t all he did after the trial ended. According to Vanity Fair, John also went on a 40-city tour in a show called “Stump the Bobbitt”, in which he “tried to guess punch lines to jokes about his mutilation.” The tour involved John appearing on Howard Stern’s New Year’s Eve pageant, going on radio programs, and autographing steak knives.
In 1999, John pleaded guilty to a felony charge of grand larceny involving the theft of $140,000 worth of clothes from a store in Nevada. He was sentenced to five years probation. Within four months, John was found guilty of harassing adult-film actress and ex-girlfriend Desiree A. Luz.
5. Lorena Has Started a Foundation to Help Survivors of Domestic Violence
Today, Lorena goes by Lorena Gallo. She started a foundation that aims to help survivors of domestic violence, according to USA Today.
For the past two decades, Lorena has been with partner David Bellinger. The couple gave birth to daughter Olivia in 2005. Two years later, she started her foundation to prevent domestic violence.
Lorena tells Vanity Fair, “The media was focusing only on the penis, the sensationalistic, the scandalous. But I wanted to shine the light on this issue of spousal abuse. When I went to Knoxville [to speak at a symposium for Lincoln Memorial University’s law review], the president of the school introduced me as a celebrity. I said, ‘Thank you, but let me correct you. I am not a celebrity, I am an advocate.’”
Lorena’s friends help her with her advocacy work, according to NBC Washington. She tells the news station, “They lift you up… They don’t judge anybody, don’t judge me.”