Joe Unique and Dillon Passage
Joe Unique / Instagram Dillon Passage and Joseph Maldonado-Passage
Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka “Unique Joe” is officially taking steps to end his marriage to Dillon Passage.
A year after Passage announced their breakup, Maldonado-Passage filed for divorce behind bars on Thursday, her lawyer, Autumn Beck Blackledge, confirms to PEOPLE.
Maldonado-Passage, 59, lives in Santa Rosa County, Florida, where he and Passage, 25, have lived collectively as a married couple and close to where Passage currently resides.
Blackledge celebrates that, although the couple separated last year, he allegedly “did not serve her husband and did not observe by means of acquiring a divorce by means of the authorized system.”Since then, Maldonado-Passage has reportedly tried to contact Passage several times without success and now hopes “that they will each continue with their lives and divorce quickly and amicably,” according to Blackledge.
“Joe is nearing the end of his most important therapy and has fallen in love. He has no ill will towards Dillon, but has been trying for some time to get him to break the settlement,” Blackledge told PEOPLE in a press release. “I understand that each Joe and Dillion have evolved romantically and that they must each have the freedom to love each other once again without the bonds of marriage.”
In accordance with the paperwork, Maldonado-Passage called their four-year marriage “irreparably damaged” and is seeking alimony as part of the divorce.
The Tiger King star, who was recently sentenced to 21 years in prison for murder for pay, can ask to give up the final identity of Passage of his authorized identity.
A representative for Dillon did not respond instantly to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
TMZ was the first to report the information.
Dillon Passage, Joe Unique
Dillon Passage/Instagram Dillon Passage and Joseph Maldonado-Passage
RELATED: “Tiger King” Joe Unique Fired at 21 In For-hire Homicide Plot Against Carole Baskin
The world realized the couple’s relationship by means of Netflix’s collection, Tiger King: Homicide, Mayhem and Insanity, which debuted its first season in 2020. The collection offered a better insight into the underworld of mass cat breeding, in particular Maldonado-Passage’s personal account, and his ongoing feud with Carole Baskin, animal rights activist and CEO of Large Cat Rescue.
In December 2017, Passage and Maldonado-Passage got married. However, more than two years later, Maldonado-Passage was convicted of trying to hire two completely different men to kill Baskin.
The previous zookeeper was initially sentenced to 22 years in an Oklahoma prison, but he was recently changed by a federal court in January to 21 years amid his battle with most prostate cancers.
Although Passage initially supported Maldonado-Passage, telling PEOPLE in June 2020 that they had “kind of gotten used to our storyline”, he finally presented their breakup in March 2021.
In his Instagram, he wrote: “To answer the principled question that the general public needs to know, of course, Joe and I are looking for a divorce. It was not a simple resolution to make, but Joe and I each perceive that this matter is not truthful for both of us.”
RELATED VIDEO: Joe Is Transferred to a North Carolina medical facility After an “Aggressive analysis for most cancers”
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He continued: “It’s something neither of us anticipated, but we’re going to take it on a daily basis. Nevertheless, we are on good terms and I hope that it will remain that way. I will continue to have Joe in my life and do my best to help him as he undergoes additional legal battles to improve his storyline.”
He has since moved on, starting his new relationship with boyfriend John on Instagram in July 2021.
“Everyone, meet John 👋 I have been deliberating about maintaining my personal relationship for private causes, but currently I have been struggling to cope with the problems that are unfolding in my life and John has been my rock and helped me get through it all,” he wrote on time. “In short, it is an appreciation set up for this particular man. Thank you for being you ❤️.”