May 17, 2007 — -- Fifteen years ago, Mary Jo Buttafuoco was shot in the face outside her Long Island home by Amy Fisher, the 17-year-old lover of her husband, Joey.
Now going by her birth name, Mary Jo Connery has moved on. She lives in California, where she runs a small business with her fiance, Stu Tendler, called OriginalPartyPosters.com, which designs party posters.
"It's really like an old dream," Connery said in an exclusive interview today with "Good Morning America." "When I look back now, it was a nightmare. I can't believe I survived it. I can't believe I raised a family through it."
Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher, however, seem ready to stroll down memory lane and take another shot at love.
The duo had dinner together Wednesday night in Port Jefferson, N.Y., where the date was taped and will be shown tonight on "The Insider."
As for the continued fascination with Buttafuoco and Fisher, Connery said, "Why do we like train wrecks? Why do we like to watch? Why do we slow down when we go past an accident scene? It's the nature of the beast, I guess."
Both Buttafuoco, 53, and Fisher, 32, have been served with divorce papers from their current spouses.
Recent reports suggest that the former lovers are in talks to produce a TV reality show.
Connery said she was initially upset and angry when she heard about them getting together, but she's not surprised. Her ex-husband's motivation, she said, is simple.
"One word: money, money," she said. "Joe has lost everything. He doesn't have a business; he's been in jail more times than I can count. He has nothing. There's nothing in his life, and he's hit rock bottom, and so this is what he does."
The Buttafuocos and Fisher, dubbed the "Long Island Lolita," all gained instant notoriety after the shooting on May 19, 1992, and the details of the affair became public. Drew Barrymore even played Fisher in a made-for-TV movie of the events.
Joey Buttafuoco served time in jail for statutory rape, and Fisher served seven years for the assault on his wife.
Mary Jo, meanwhile, almost died, and she still deals with lingering physical problems from the shooting, including nerve damage and blurred vision in her right eye.
"Well, it stays with me every day when I wake up and I look at myself in the mirror, and I can't hear and I can't see and my face is paralyzed," Connery said. "I mean, I've gotten used to it, it's what is my life now. So it's always there."
Initially, her prognosis was bleak.
"And then they said, 'Oh, she's not gonna walk, she's not gonna talk, she's not gonna, you know, breathe on her own,'" Connery said. "And then as I did each step and then came this far, they called me a miracle."
Surprisingly, Joey and Mary Jo stayed together after he got out of jail, and the couple moved to California together.
Even now, she says that decision was the right one.
"I've managed to raise my children -- they're adults, they're on their own. They're good, decent, honest people. I can look back and say, I did the right thing," Connery said.
Mary Jo and Joey eventually divorced in 2003.
"He's in the gutter and I'm standing tall, and time always tells the truth, always," she said.
Life has turned around since then, and she said she and Tendler, a graphic designer, are very happy together.
"She's just a wonderful person. She's warm, caring, loving. I don't know … he gave this away. I don't get that," Tendler said on "Good Morning America."
For all she's been through, Tendler said that Mary Jo has remained "happy all the time and funny and smart and she's just great."
The Buttafuoco chapter of her life is officially closed. And her final words for Joey and Amy?
"Good riddance," she said.