Jessie Buttafuoco’s life was never the same after Amy Fisher shot her mother, Mary Jo Buttafuoco, point blank with a handgun back in 1992.
In a new interview with “20/20,” Jessie and her infamous parents — Mary Jo and Joe Buttafuoco — look back at the incident that rocked the nation, detailing the fallout on all their lives after the shooting.
Joe, Mary Jo and Amy shot to fame after Fisher shot Mary Jo in the head on May 19, 1992. Fisher, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, had been involved in an affair with Joey Buttafuoco. In an attempt to get Mary Jo out of the picture, Fisher fired a .25-caliber handgun at Joey’s wife on the porch of their home.
Fisher served seven years behind bars for the crime and was released in 1999, while Joey served little more than four months of a six-month sentence for statutory rape. The Buttafuocos stayed together until Mary Jo filed for divorce in 2003. She has since remarried.
“I lived this story and it’s crazy,” Jessie told ABC. Speaking about her father, she said, “He’s always getting into mischief. Mischief seems to always get into him. Things would calm down for a little bit, and then, you know, Joey would do something. Another shoe would drop.”
Buttafuoco only admits that his relationship with Fisher was “inappropriate,” without getting into details. “That’s as far as I’m gonna go with that,” he told “20/20.” Regardless of what he did or didn’t do, however, his and Fisher’s actions had a profound affect on his daughter.
“I’m really trying to get deep and figure out why I operate the way I operate and how I can change and be a better person and help other people along the way,” said Jessie. “What makes me the most sad, to be honest, is my complete inability to be able to love somebody because of all this. Since I was 9 years old, all I’ve known is that sex and love and intimacy leads to bad things. It’s extremely hard for me to even think that love exists. It’s really hard to change because I’ve missed out on that.”
Jessie also recounted visiting her father in jail, explaining why it was so “messed up” in retrospect.
“What sticks out the most now is — and it makes me kind of sad — is I drew a lot of pictures,” she explained. “I colored a lot of coloring books so he could post it on his wall. You know, and that’s just messed up. That’s a messed-up exchange between a father and daughter to have to do.”
She added that there “was zero degree of normalcy” following the shooting and her parents didn’t help things. “You would think that after a huge tragedy like this you would want to maintain a low profile. But, no, that didn’t happen,” she said. Jessie added that she began abusing drugs and alcohol and suffered from eating disorders at the time.
Years later, Mary Jo, Joey and Amy would all appear in a number of reunion specials, which neither Jessie or her brother appeared in. According to Jessie, she didn’t speak for her father “for a solid year” after he began hanging out with Fisher at the time.
“It was a disaster. It was disgusting. … I was like, ‘Listen, Dad. My life is hard enough already. I’m in college. I’m trying to figure out who I am. I’m in the height of my drinking, drugging and eating disorders,'” she said. “I just remember being so pissed and just being like, ‘You are gallivanting around the streets of New York with the woman who tried to murder my mother?’ This is not a joke. This is not a paycheck I want. No, no, this is not right. It’s f—– up. This should not be happening.”
That being said, she added that she is now on “pretty good terms” with her dad. She currently lives with her mother.
“He’s in a growth phase where he’s in therapy and he’s healing,” she said. “I’m proud of my dad for telling his story, and I hope he’s not using it to justify why he made so many poor decisions. I like this new man he’s becoming. For the first time in my whole life, just a few months ago, he said, ‘I understand…that actions have consequences now.'”
“20/20” airs Friday, November 8 from 9-11pm on ABC.