Mary Jo Buttafuoco

Mary Jo Buttafuoco (née Connery; born May 15, 1955)[2] is an American author and motivational speaker. In 1992, she was shot in the face by her husband's underage girlfriend, Amy Fisher.

Mary Jo Buttafuoco
Mary Jo Connery[1]

(1955-05-15) May 15, 1955 (age 65)
OccupationAuthor, motivational speaker
  • (m. 1977; div. 2003)
  • Stu Tendler
    (m. 2012; died 2018)


On May 19, 1992, Buttafuoco was shot in the face by Amy Fisher, who at the time was having an affair with Buttafuoco's then husband Joey.[3] Fisher had come to the Buttafuocos' house to confront Buttafuoco about Joey, with whom she had been having an affair since July 1991 after Fisher brought her vehicle to Buttafuoco's auto body shop in Baldwin, Nassau County, New York.[4] When Buttafuoco answered the door, Fisher—posing as her own (fictitious) sister Ann Marie—offered, as proof of the affair, a T-shirt that Joey had given her with the logo of his auto body shop on it. This confrontation escalated when Buttafuoco demanded that Fisher leave. She turned to go into the house and call Joey when Fisher shot her in the face with a .25 caliber semiautomatic pistol. Once Buttafuoco regained consciousness, she identified Fisher as her assailant from the t-shirt Fisher had shown her before the shooting.[4] Buttafuoco was left deafened in one ear and her face partially paralyzed.


Fisher was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison. She served seven years and was granted parole in May 1999.[4] Joey Buttafuoco pleaded guilty to one count of statutory rape and served four months in jail.[5] Buttafuoco and her husband later moved to Southern California.[6] She stayed defensively loyal to her husband for several years.[7] She even defended him when he was arrested in 1995 for sexual solicitation in Los Angeles.[8] During this time, Buttafuoco consistently blamed others, such as Fisher, instead of her husband.[9] She eventually filed divorce papers in Ventura County Superior Court on February 3, 2003.[10]

In 2006, Buttafuoco underwent a facial reanimation procedure with facial plastic surgeon Babak Azizzadeh, involving static facial suspension, face lift, and eye lift procedures. These surgeries restored balance and gave her back her ability to smile. Next was surgery to widen the ear canal, which improved her hearing and prevented future infections. She also underwent physical therapy to strengthen her facial muscles, which she explained in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[11] Buttafuoco is still paralyzed on one side of her face and deaf in one ear.[12]

In 2012, Buttafuoco married Stu Tendler in Las Vegas. Tendler died in 2018 from cancer.[13]

Buttafuoco has two children: Paul Buttafuoco[14] and Jessica Buttafuoco.[15]


Sixteen years after the incident, Buttafuoco wrote a book telling her story, Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know. She was inspired to write the book after her son referred to her ex-husband as a sociopath. Not knowing what the word meant, she looked it up and had a realization leading to her going public with her story. The title of the book comes from a saying her mother often used with her, "when are you going to get it through your thick skull?"[16] The memoir describes her life, not just focusing on her shooting.[17] She describes how she felt manipulated to stay with a person who was a sociopath.[17] Booklist called the book "strangely compelling," and said that "Readers will want to know – why did she stay with him?"[7]

Buttafuoco has used her story to raise awareness of facial paralysis.[18]


  1. ^ "Ex Scoffs at Buttafuoco-Fisher 'Train Wreck'". ABC News. May 21, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Mary Jo Buttafuoco". Staff. World News. August 16, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Milton, Pat (April 15, 1993). "Rape Charges Denied at Buttafuoco Hearing". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c "Amy Fisher, The Long Island Lolita who tried to murder Mary Jo Buttafuoco - Crime Library on". December 2, 2008. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved October 16, 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Joey Buttafuoco – Celebrity Mug Shot". Charles Montaldo. Retrieved July 24, 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Ultimate Betrayals". Retrieved April 18, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b Hughes, Kathleen (July 2009). "Getting It through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know". Booklist. 105 (21): 4 – via EBSCOhost.
  8. ^ Latson, Jennifer (May 22, 2015). "Why the 'Long Island Lolita' Couldn't Break Up the Buttafuocos". Time. Retrieved August 25, 2017 – via EBSCOhost.
  9. ^ Kuntzman, Gersh (March 1998). "Wives of Publicly Humiliated Men". Cosmopolitan. 224 (3): 288 – via EBSCOhost.
  10. ^ "Joey Buttafuoco, wife getting divorce". AP. May 6, 2003. Retrieved July 24, 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Ultimate Betrayals". The Oprah Winfrey Show.
  12. ^ Helling, Steve (November 18, 2016). "Nearly 25 Years After Being Shot by Amy Fisher, Mary Jo Buttafuoco Calls Ex-Husband a 'Sociopath'". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  13. ^ Chen, Joyce; Feiden, Douglas (February 26, 2012). "Mary Jo Buttafuoco remarries in Las Vegas". NY Daily News. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  14. ^ "READ EXCERPT: 'Getting It Through My Thick Skull,' by Mary Jo Buttafuoco". ABC News. July 27, 2009. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  15. ^ OWN (October 10, 2012), Exclusive: Mary Jo Buttafuoco's Daughter Speaks Out | Where Are They Now | Oprah Winfrey Network, retrieved October 16, 2017 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Roberts, Robin (July 27, 2009). "American Love Triangle". Good Morning America. Retrieved August 25, 2017 – via EBSCOhost.
  17. ^ a b "Nonfiction Book Review: Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  18. ^ McDade, Mary Beth (October 11, 2016). "Mary Jo Buttafuoco Speaks Out to Raise Awareness for Facial Paralysis". KTLA. Retrieved August 25, 2017.

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