The former zookeeper — currently serving a 22-year prison sentence — married Dillon Passage in December 2017

By Benjamin VanHoose
June 04, 2020 03:14 PM
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Dillon Passage and Joseph Maldonado-Passage
| Credit: Joe Exotic/Instagram

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, is sending his love from behind bars.

On Thursday, the Josh Belcher Uncharted Podcast shared a new letter sent reportedly by the former zookeeper, who was the subject of the popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King. At the end of the open letter (which was penned on May 21), Maldonado-Passage, 57, reaches out to husband Dillon Passage, saying he "misses and loves" him.

"Keep my story alive and be my voice," Maldonado-Passage wrote to fans, according to the podcast hosts, who read the letter on the latest episode. "Keep asking for that [presidential] pardon and please, if you see Dillon online, tell him that his husband misses and loves him dearly and I'm coming home somehow."

Maldonado-Passage — who bred and kept tigers, lions and other animals at his G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma — is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after being convicted in April 2019 of plotting a murder-for-hire against his nemesis, animal rights activist Carole Baskin, among other charges.

Passage, 24, married Maldonado-Passage on Dec. 11, 2017. Last month, Passage enjoyed a boat outing with another Netflix reality star, Bryce Hirschberg, and others in Marina del Rey, California. The two shared glimpses on social media of the festivities, which were in honor of the Too Hot to Handle star's 30th birthday.

Hirschberg's rep told PEOPLE at the time that they met through a mutual manager and became fast friends. "Now that Dillon is in Los Angeles, him and Bryce have been hanging out as both are fans of each other's shows. Dillon actually surprised Bryce at his birthday party ... that wasn't planned," said the rep.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage
| Credit: Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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In April, Passage told PEOPLE that he intends to stand by Maldonado-Passage. "I’m not going anywhere," Passage said at the time. "Joe was there for me in my darkest moments. I’m not going to just abandon him when he needs support more than anything."

He added that he loves Maldonado-Passage "100 percent" and that "he’s still good to me, even from in jail."

RELATED VIDEO: Tiger King Star Joe Exotic's Husband Parties on a Boat with Too Hot to Handle's Bryce Hirschberg

Passage also told PEOPLE in April that his husband wrote a memoir while incarcerated, which he said will show a "different side" of the Joe Exotic image. The book, said Passage, covers his troubled childhood.

“It’s a really heartbreaking story, and a lot of people are going to see a different side of Joe because of this,” he said. “I cried. I cried and cried and cried. It was so tragic because it’s nothing he ever spoke to me about in person. It’s very personal, and it’s definitely a story that nobody thought would have happened. It’s absolutely tragic. And Joe really gets his story out there and lets people know what happened to him.”

Added Passage: “I mean that sentence is 22 years; his whole life and reputation was absolutely destroyed. So he wanted to get his story out there and write and let people know exactly what’s happened in his childhood and the person he is and what’s affected his choices and decisions.”