Seventeen years after she was shot in the face by her then husband's teenage lover, Mary Jo Buttafuoco called her ex-husband Joey Buttafuoco a "sociopath and a liar."
"I believed him when he said he had nothing to do with her [shooter Amy Fisher]," Mary Jo told "Good Morning America" today in an exclusive interview. "He was a very good sociopath and a liar. ...When I thought about it and looked it up on the Internet, and looked at sociopathic tendencies ... I said 'Oh my God.'" Joey filled all the criteria, she said.
In May 1992, Mary Jo Buttafuoco answered her front door at her Long Island home to see 16-year-old Amy Fisher point a gun at her face and fire. Fisher had been having an affair with Mary Jo's husband, Joey, who was more than twice Fisher's age.
Mary Jo Buttafuoco miraculously survived the close range shot but struggled for years as a national spotlight was thrust on the near-fatal love triangle she didn't even know existed until the day she was shot. Fisher, dubbed the "Long Island Lolita," was sentenced to seven years in prison and Buttafuoco's husband, Joey, got four months for statutory rape. The ordeal was made into three made-for-TV movies.
But it's Joey whom Buttafuoco takes aim at in her new book, "Getting It Through My Thick Skull." The title, she said, came from the way her mother always referred to her "thick skull" when citing her stubborn nature, and a joke she made in the hospital about how her thick skull finally served a good purpose.
Mary Jo Buttafuoco said in the book that the realization that Joey is a sociopath was "life-changing."
"I stood steadfast next to this man, ferociously defending him for years after the infamous shooting by Amy Fisher turned our last name into a worldwide punch line," Mary Jo wrote in the book. "This same man is also the walking, talking dictionary definition of a clinical sociopath."
A sociopath is descibed as someone with an antisocial personality disorder that brings someone into conflict with society and is often amoral and unethical.
In a statement, Joey Buttafuoco said he would prefer to be diagnosed as a sociopath by a doctor, rather than his ex-wife and felt "victimized" by the accusation.
As to why she stayed with Joey until 2003 when the couple finally divorced, Mary Jo Buttafuoco said it was a combination of things.
"It's never one easy thing. Life is not like that," she said. Mary Jo talked about her Irish-Catholic background that she said discourages divorce and how she stayed around to help her children survive the media frenzy the story attracted.
Mary Jo Buttafuoco Recovering After Marriage
While their marriage may have ended in 2003, the headlines did not.
In 2007, Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher made a much publicized reunion in which they held hands and kissed, all caught by the media's cameras.
A year later, Amy Fisher was back in the national spotlight when her then-estranged husband Lou Bellara, sold a sex tape of him and Fisher.
Bellara reportedly released the tape because Fisher and Buttafuoco's romantic reunion had happened when Fisher and Bellara were separated, but still married.
In an interview with ABC News in 2008, Fisher called the leaked sex tape "a good thing."
"I mean, unbelievably, you know, a sex tape comes out and the next thing I know, I mean I'm getting offers for endorsements," she said.
Both Mary Jo and Fisher have called Fisher's relationship with Joey a "train wreck."
In the book, Buttafuoco discusses her own journey after the marriage that included a stint in the Betty Ford Center Rehab.
"One of my lowest points was one of the best things," she said of her time at the Betty Ford Center Rehab. There, she learned to live with what she had been through, she said. "It got me stronger."
Following her time in rehab, Mary Jo said she went out on her own and then fell in love with a man.
Now, she said she's "in such a good place."
"What I try to say to people is 'You can get out of these situations and not go back to them," she said. "These are toxic people and they drain you, and you need to move away from them."