Joe Exotic’s Husband Didn’t Kill Himself on Purpose, According to This ‘Tiger King’ Star

Tiger King
Photo: Netflix.

One question that arose after Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness was: Why did Joe Exotic’s husband Travis kill himself? Netflix’s Tiger King—which followed the rise and fall of Joe Exotic, the owner of Oklahoma’s Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park—released its eighth and final episode on Sunday, April 12. The special, titled “The Tiger King and I,” saw host Joel McHale interview several characters featured in the documentary. Among them was Josh Dial, Joe’s former presidential campaign manager who saw Travis kill himself with his own eyes.

As Tiger King viewers remember, Travis, Joe’s second husband whom he married in 2015, shot himself in the head in an office in his zoo while he and Josh talked. Security footage showed Josh’s shocked reaction to Travis’ death. The docuseries didn’t dive deep into why Travis killed himself, but in the reunion, Josh explained that he thinks Travis’ death was accidental.

“We were talking. He was telling me about his gun. Joe just bought him a Ruger. He said, ‘You know, a Ruger won’t fire without a clip.’ And I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Yeah,'” Josh recalls. “Right then, he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger to prove to me that it wouldn’t fire without a clip. However, it must have had one in the chamber.”

He continued, “I was looking at hime in the eyes when he did it. And I could see the surprise and the fear in his eyes. It basically translated to, ‘Oh crap. What did I just do?’ Maybe five seconds of his eyes I could read it, and then he was gone.”

Earlier in the interview, Josh explained that he hopes to raise money after the docuseries, which he will use to go to counseling and receive medication for his trauma, something that Jeff Lowe and Joe Exotic, the owners of the G.W., didn’t help him with.

“The thing is I had to go into that office everyday and sit in that same chair and look at that bullet hole in the wall everyday for a year and a half after Travis killed himself,” he said. “And I was never able to get counseling because Joe didn’t help me and neither did Jeff Lowe. What my plan is hopefully I might be able to raise some money, enough to get me some counseling and got on my meds. And once I’m back stable and ready to go, I want to jump back into campaigning for sure.”

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