Joe Exotic Rekindles Romance with Ex-Boyfriend After Broken Engagement

The news comes shortly after the Tiger King star's attorney confirmed to PEOPLE that his engagement had been called off

Joe Exotic The Tiger King GW Exotic Animal Park
Joe Exotic. Photo: Steve Sisney/The Oklahoman/Imagn/USA Today Network/Sipa

Joseph Maldonado-Passage is bouncing back after his recent broken engagement.

The Tiger King star has rekindled the flame with ex-boyfriend Seth after the two initially met online back in 2021.

"Joe is thankful that Seth is back in his life. They are both taking things slowly and just enjoying the time to reconnect," Joe's attorney told PEOPLE in a statement Wednesday.

"Joe Exotic, the Tiger King, is this larger than life entertainer to us, and it's hard to remember that he is a real person with real challenges and needs," continued the statement, which confirmed an initial report by TMZ. "At the end of the day Joe wants what everyone wants, to love and to be loved and understood."

After initially meeting, the two dated briefly after Seth won the online "Bachelor King" competition that Joe hosted following his separation from husband Dillon Passage, according to TMZ.

Until recently, Joe was engaged to John Graham, whom he met in prison. Upon his release from prison, though, Joe's attorney confirmed to PEOPLE earlier this month that Graham "moved on."

"Joe has shared with me that prison is a very tough place to be, and when you are innocent, it is even worse. He states that you meet all kinds of people in prison and that most are really good," his attorney said, confirming an earlier report by TMZ. "John Graham spent 10 years of his life in prison and Joe states that he would like to believe that they did fall in love. However, now that he has gone home, he has moved on."

His attorney continued, "Joe will continue to have a close relationship with his son and some members of John's family. He has nothing to say [that's] bad about John Graham and wishes him well as he gets his life back."

At that time, Joe's rep noted that "a very special man" had "come back into his life to pick up where [they] left off." The rep said Joe "just wants to be happy — and for God's sake, to go home!'"

Surviving Joe Exotic
Joe Exotic. Animal Planet/YouTube

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Joe is currently serving time in prison for allegedly orchestrating a plot to murder his nemesis, Carole Baskin. He was originally sentenced to 22 years in January 2020 but was re-sentenced to 21 years earlier this year.

Joe's attorney's told PEOPLE earlier this month that his legal team is "very busy with his criminal appeal."

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