On May 19, 1992, Mary Jo Buttafuoco was shot in the head on the front porch of her home in Massapequa, New York. The shooter: 17-year-old Amy Fisher, a high school student who was having an affair with Mary Jo’s husband, Joey.
Miraculously, Mary Jo survived the attack. She moved on with her life. She divorced her husband in 2003, and began living a quiet life away from the spotlight — except for the occasional TV appearance.
She married Queens businessman Stu Tendle in 2010 — the same year she released a book, Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know.
But the injuries have lingered: she was partially paralyzed on one side of her face and deaf in one ear. Because surgery would have been too dangerous, the bullet remained lodged in her neck.
But things are looking up for Buttafuoco. Last month, she revealed that she had undergone surgery to repair her partially paralyzed face. In addition to giving her a facelift, Dr. Babak Azizzadeh repaired some of the nerves that had kept her from smiling. The procedure was documented by Inside Edition in September.
Buttafuoco, 62, was thrilled with the results.
“It’s the first time in 25 years that when I smile, I can see the side of my teeth,” Buttafuoco told Inside Edition.
Earlier this year, Buttafuoco spoke out about her life on the Reelz channel’s Scandal Made Me Famous, explaining that while she has moved past the attack, she realizes the severity of what happened to her.
“It wasn’t an assault,” she told the show. “It was an assassination.”
While discussing her ex-husband, Buttafuoco pulled no punches. “That’s the behavior of a sociopath,” she said. “They can charm the snakes out of the trees. That is one of the traits about Joe that I loved so much about him. And he was very, very good at it, as most sociopaths are.”
Despite the improvement on her face, Buttafuoco continues to work tirelessly to raise awareness and funds to cure facial paralysis. She says that facial paralysis an overlooked issue that can destroy a patient’s self-esteem.
“It’s very, very difficult,” she told KTLA last year. “When you see somebody, the first thing you notice is their smile, and their face.”