Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight: New show following Tiger King star
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Tiger King season two is on Netflix now and the new series follows Joe Exotic as he serves his 22-year prison sentence. The new episodes give insight into the eccentric zookeeper’s romances and his first loves. Those who know him best opened up about his first husband, Brian Rhyne, who sadly died.
Who was Tiger King Joe Exotic’s first husband Brian Rhyne?
Tiger King season two gives fans insight into the life of Joe Exotic after he left his GW Zoo.
From inside prison, the quirky TV personality shared details about his relationships as a teenager.
He had been engaged to Kimberly Craft, a fire chief’s daughter, but the pair broke up when Joe came out as gay at the age of 19.
His first husband was Brian Rhyne, and Joe explained how he came to meet his first spouse.
He said: “I met Brian when I was working security at The Roundup and he was a customer.
“We dated for a while and got married, and were together 16 years.”
Joe continued to confide in his ex Kimberly as he came to terms with his sexuality.
Kimberly explained how she got on well with Joe’s new partner and he became a part of the family.
She said: “Brian and I got along great, he was so good with the kids, we all spent time together.”
Joe’s niece, Chealsi Putman, said she believed everybody knew Joe and Brian were a couple.
She said: “Brian was included in everything, I called Brian ‘uncle Brian’ before I did Joe.
“Brian was the glue of the family, he always told Joe like it was.
“Joe stayed in line with Brian but he originally got sick with lung cancer and it progressed a little faster because Brian was HIV positive.
“He just had baskets of medicine, he just got so bad, he was like skin and bones.”
Joe spent time visiting his husband in hospital, but experienced tragedy when he took Brian for an appointment.
Heidi Somers, former board member for GW Zoo, said Joe had called her on the day Brian died.
She said: “Joe would rush up to the hospital for this, that or the other.
“And then the one time he took him to the hospital, Brian died at the parking lot on the way home.
“And he called me, that was a gut-wrenching conversation. Brian had just died in his arms.
“Brian was his anchor, Brian was his normal. When Joe told me about it he broke down and was crying.”
Joe still speaks about how losing Brian had a huge impact on his life.
In later years, J.C. Hartpence helped Joe start his travelling animal show and became his second husband.
John Finlay, who was hired to help run the zoo, became Joe’s third husband in 2014.
At the same time, he married Travis Michael Maldonado in a three-way ceremony.
Dillon Passage is Joe’s fifth husband and they were still married at the time Tiger King season two was filmed.
Tiger King is streaming on Netflix now.
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