What Happened to Michael Murdock, Carole Baskin’s First Husband?

Image Credit: Mark Taylor/Peacock

‘Joe vs. Carole’ is a show about a bitter feud between two larger-than-life individuals — Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage (née Schreibvogel) or Joe Exotic (John Cameron Mitchell) and Carole Baskin (Kate McKinnon). It also delves deep into the lives of these two individuals, exploring their past and what made them who they are. Carole has been married three times in her life. Michael Murdock is her first husband. Here is what happened to him.

What Happened to Michael Murdock?

Born on the Lackland Air Force Base in Bexar County, Texas, Carole Stairs Jones initially wanted to be a veterinarian, but her interest in the field reportedly waned when she discovered that one of their jobs was to euthanize animals. She mentioned that three men raped her at knifepoint when she was 14. When she tried to tell her conservative Christian family about this, she claimed that they weren’t there for her. In 1977, at age 15, she left home with a person that worked at the local roller rink. She never got to graduate from school.

In Tampa, Florida, Carole started working at a discount department store. Her employer there was Michael Murdock, the man who would become her first husband. Even back then, she had a pet cat and was living out of her orange Datsun truck. Michael offered to keep her cat at his home during the day. They soon started living together. According to Carole, to placate her disappointed parents, she married Michael on April 7, 1979. She gave birth to their daughter Jamie Veronica on July 16, 1980.

Michael turned out to allegedly be both possessive and abusive. He apparently checked her odometer every day to ensure that she wasn’t going anywhere she wasn’t supposed to. At this stage of her life, Carole bred Persian and Himalayan show cats to earn some extra money. Her interest in wildcats also started to manifest during this period. One night, in 1981, things took a turn for the worse when Carole became afraid that Michael would attack her. She threw a potato at him and ran away. She didn’t have her shoes on at the time.

She walked around aimlessly until meeting Don Lewis, the man who became her second husband, on 50th Street. Initially, Lewis introduced himself to her as Bob Martin. It was only later she learned his real name and that he was a millionaire. Lewis was also married and had a family. Their affair continued for the next few years. Ultimately, she and Michael divorced in 1990. The following year, she and Lewis tied the knot.

In 2020, it was discovered that in a letter she wrote to Lewis’ first wife Gladys about three decades earlier, Carole confessed that she wanted to kill Michael because of his abuse. Carol has chronicled her life in a YouTube video series on her channel. Not much is known about what happened to Michael after the dissolution of their marriage. According to a wild theory from the ‘Tiger King’ fans, Jeff Lowe, the former investor in Joe Exotic’s zoo, is actually Michael in disguise. Lowe himself has since shot down this theory.

Read More: Are Animals in Joe vs. Carole Real or CGI?