On May 19, 1992, Mary Jo Buttafuoco was inside her home in Massapequa, New York, when the doorbell rang. Seconds later, she was standing face to face with Amy Fisher, a 17-year-old high school student who had been having an affair with her husband, Joey.
As the bizarre confrontation was seemingly ending, Mary Jo Buttafuoco turned away — just seconds before Fisher shot her in the head. Miraculously, Buttafuoco survived the attack, and months later, Fisher pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and served seven years in prison.
Overnight, the story became international news. The media frenzy was so feverish that the story spawned three TV movies, two of which aired on the same night. (Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story starred Alyssa Milano; The Amy Fisher Story starred Drew Barrymore.) The last name “Buttafuoco” became a punchline.
While Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher have seemed to revel in their infamy, Mary Jo Buttafuoco has kept a lower profile. She split from her husband in 2003 and appeared on Oprah in 2010 to promote a book, but has given few subsequent interviews.
Now 61, Buttafuoco speaks out for the first time in several years on the series premiere of Scandal Made Me Famous on the Reelz Channel. On the show, she describes her injuries: She is partially paralyzed on one side of her face and deaf in one ear. Because surgery would have been too dangerous, the bullet fired by Fisher remains lodged in her neck.
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While discussing her ex-husband, Buttafuoco pulls no punches. “That’s the behavior of a sociopath,” she says on the show. “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.”