Mary Jo Buttafuoco has rebuilt her life since she was shot in the face by the teenage lover of her husband, Joey Buttafuoco. Joey was the Long Island auto repair shop owner whose sexual encounters with teenage Amy Fisher generated tabloid headlines in the early 1990s.
Mary Jo survived her wounds, but they left her with facial and other injuries, not to mention emotional scars. The shooting eventually did in her marriage, although it took awhile (she divorced Joey eventually). She remarried, wrote a book, and, now, she’s telling her story again to 20/20.
Fisher, then 17 and in high school, shot Mary Joe on the porch of her home in Massapequa, New York back in 1992. Amy was dubbed the “Long Island Lolita” by tabloid media, and the media attention on the Buttafuoco family was relentless.
Where is Mary Jo Buttafuoco now? Today, she is still trying to recover from the shooting.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mary Jo Divorced Joey, Forgave Amy, Remarried & Divorced Again
Mary Jo divorced Joey in 2003. According to People Magazine, Mary Jo still suffers from the attack; her face is partially paralyzed, she’s deaf in an ear, and the bullet is still in her neck.
When the couple divorced, Joey said to USA Today, “It’s OK. To move on you’ve got to get a divorce. She’s with another guy. His name is Stew. I’ve been with a girl for awhile, too.”
In the ABC special, Mary Jo describes what it was like to wake up after being shot. “I don’t know how long it was. The next day? Day after that? I woke up, opened my eyes and there were bright lights,” she said.
Over the years, Mary Jo has given many interviews. According to Fox News, she decided to forgive Fisher and even pushed a judge to grant her release from prison. She had become addicted to medication, went to rehab, got sober and realized that forgiving Fisher was the best way to move forward.
Speaking to the Oxygen Channel, Mary Jo explained why she didn’t immediately divorce Joey, saying, “I wasn’t strong enough. I was physically sick, I was mentally sick. I had gone through this. I had post-traumatic stress disorder. He was very good to me and very good to the kids, taking care of us. We had a close-knit family. His family and my family have known each other for all of our lives. We were high school sweethearts. We were together 20 years before all of this.”
In 2018, Mary Jo appeared with her daughter on Dr. Oz. “I was like a schizophrenic in all those years when they were growing up,” she said to him. “I was Mom when they were around in our home and Mom’s okay and Mom’s great, and Mom wasn’t good at all. Mom was a wreck. Mom was in pain and agony. My husband was in jail some of the time. It was chaotic.”
According to KTLA, Mary Jo today is a motivational speaker. In 2016, she shared her story to raise awareness about facial paralysis.
In 2009, Mary Jo Buttafuoco authored a book called Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know. You can find it for sale on Amazon here. In the book, Mary Jo discusses how she was addicted to painkillers and recovered through the Betty Ford Center. It also discusses her “overdue decision to leave Joey and start over again in California—3,000 miles from her support system.”
In 2012, Mary Jo married a Las Vegas resident named Stuart Tendler. According to Radar Online, she endured a difficult divorce from him. “My wife and I entered into a bonafide marital relationship and co-habitated together as husband and wife. However, we are incompatible in marriage. That is, our likes, dislikes, tastes and personalities are so divergent we can no longer live together as husband and wife,” Stuart wrote a court, Radar Online reported. By 2018, the marriage was over. Tendler is now deceased. He remarried before he died.
When Mary Jo married Tendler, who was a New York-area businessman, she told The New York Daily News: “What I try to say to people is ‘You can get out of these situations and not go back to them.’ These are toxic people and they drain you, and you need to move away from them.”
Mary Jo moved to California and took her maiden name back (Connery.)
Joey and Mary Jo’s daughter Jessie Buttafuoco was only 9 at the time of the shooting, and she’s also struggled with the family’s infamy. “Growing up for me, the performing arts was my outlet. When I was on stage, I was a character. I wasn’t Jessie Buttafuoco, and it was so nice to get out of that reality,” Jessie told 20/20. “My friends call me ‘Showtime’ because I can be on. I can make you laugh and I can make you happy and smile. But the real me inside is hurting, is in pain and is trying to figure out life.”
At the time Mary Jo and Joey divorced, USA Today reported, Joey had “returned to the car repair business, and now works with his adult son.” Joey has had trouble with the law throughout the years.
“I do all the Ferraris,” he said to USA Today then. “I do a little TV and movies but that doesn’t put a lot of butter on my bread.” That same year, CNN reported that Joey was accused of “three counts of insurance fraud and one count of grand theft” involving his business, California Collision, a Chatsworth auto body shop. In 2004, he received a year jail sentence on those charges.
For his part, Joey acknowledged to ABC News that his relationship with Fisher had been “inappropriate,” but added, “That’s as far as I’m gonna go with that.” He’s working on a movie about his life, ABC reports, quoting him as saying, “I’m not that kinda guy that’s gonna sit here and blame anything on anything and how I got here. I made my own choices. I made my own life by my choices, whether they were good or they were bad. I made some good choices and I made some bad choices.”
Jessie Buttafuoco told ABC that her dad is “in a growth phase where he’s in therapy and he’s healing.” The couple also had a son but he goes by a different name and has led the most private life of the family members. In 2005, Joey married a Croatian-born woman named Evanka Franjko. They met at his auto body shop, the New York Post reported. Joey’s wife Evanka Buttafuoco once filed for divorce but withdrew the petition.
Joey has had several other brushes with the law and spent time in jail since the shooting.
Amy Fisher has had continued struggles in her life. According to People Magazine, Fisher spent seven years in jail. After she was released from jail in 1999, she married (and divorced), had three kids, and worked as a newspaper columnist. She wrote a book. She has worked as a porn actress and stripper and moved back to Long Island after years spent in Florida, according to The New York Post. The Post described her husband as a former police officer turned wedding videographer. They divorced in 2015.