Joe Exotic had secret ‘wife and children’, claims Tiger King’s Rick Kirkham

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Rick Kirkham, the cowboy hat-wearing smoking producer featured in Netflix’s Tiger King, has claimed that Joe Exotic has a “wife and children” and the son was even featured in the docu-series.

Oh, and he later claimed that he doesn’t believe Exotic will make it out of prison alive after serving his 22-yearslong jail sentence.

A lot to process here.

The former Joe Exotic TV producer, who now lives in Norway, made the former claim Saturday during a questions and answers session on All Things Live.

The latter he commented during the newly released follow-up episode to the series, The Tiger King and I, dropped Sunday.

Joe Exotic has a son named Brandon who was shown in Tiger King

In the candid chat with journalist Per Sundnes, Kirkham said: “Very few people realise Joe was married to a woman years before.”

Indeed, Exotic’s niece, according to, has previously spoken about his wife Kim. The pair met while Exotic was a police chief in Texas in the 1980s, she said, and had a son, Brandon Chapell, now 38, together.

It’s unclear whether the “wife” Kirkham alluded to was Kim. Brandon, Kirkham said, was actually in Tiger King and even worked on the roadside petting zoo with Exotic.

“He had children and his son came to work at the zoo the summer that I was there, the very first summer,” he said.

Rick Kirkham in Tiger King. (Netflix)

Rick Kirkham in Tiger King. (Netflix)

“His son Brandon is in the documentary and I’m surprised that the documentary didn’t bring that up.

“Joe treated his son worse than he treated the other employees. He expected more out of him, he expected him to take more leadership and do harder work.

“He had his son sweeping the park instead of giving him a decent job, feeding the animals or something like that.

“It was almost as though he regretted having a child, that he regretted having been married.”

Rick Kirkham: Joe Exotic won’t leave prison alive.

Kirkham was also one of a handful of Tiger King stars to feature on a follow-up episode.

The streaming service did the Lord’s work by dropping a follow-up episode called The Tiger King and I.

Aggressively tall actor Joel McHale hosts the aftershow and spoke to Kirkham, who was one of several cast-members to speak his mind about Exotic’s heft 22-yearslong jail sentence.

“I don’t think Joe Exotic will leave prison alive,” he said.

“I don’t think he’ll be able to stand it. Even if he got out with good behaviour in 10, 12 years, he won’t live that long.”

He continued: “I tell you what’s really eating him up, is people like me, who are getting so much attention instead of him.

“He’s not getting any of the money that is coming out, he doesn’t get any of the accolades, he doesn’t get any of the opportunities, he doesn’t get anything except three meals a day.”