She found herself part of one of the most infamous love triangles in American history after she was gunned down by her husband Joeyâ€™s mistress, 17-year-old Amy Fisher.
Now, decades later, Mary Jo ButtafuocoÂ is revealing the depths of despair she plunged into after the incidentÂ and how she has slowly rebuilt her life.
“There were times after it happened when I wanted to die,” Mary Jo Buttafuoco tells In Touch magazine in an exclusive interview. “The pain, the scandal, the upheaval … I wondered why the hell God let me live.”
After more than a dozen facial surgeries to address facial paralysis and hearing loss â€” and a stint in rehab for an addiction to painkillers â€” the mother of two is proving to be theÂ ultimate survivor.
â€śThis tragedy might have been a blessing in disguise,â€ť says Mary Jo, who is now happily married to Stu Tendler, a printer with three kids of his own, and a motivational speaker and board member of the Facial Paralysis & Bell’s Palsy Foundation. â€śI realized I could choose to lay in a hole and disappear, or try to help others by telling my story.”
“[After the shooting] I was very angry and depressed,” she says. “But that’s life â€” it moves on. Now I’m older, wiser, stronger.â€ť
In 2006, Fisher reunited with Mary Jo Buttafuoco in sessions televised for “Entertainment Tonight” Fisher said she wanted to heal and move on with her life. However, two years later she said she felt “no sympathy for Mary Jo”.
For more from Mary Jo Buttafuoco, pick up this weekâ€™s issue of In Touch, on newsstands now!