Tuesday, May 19, 1992 started out like any other day for Mary Jo Buttafuoco. Little did she know that a confrontation later that day would change her life forever.
Buttafuoco was in her home in Massapequa, New York when the doorbell rang. When she opened the door, she didn't expect to find her husband's jealous 17-year-old lover, Amy "The Long Island Lolita" Fisher, standing in front of her.
The pair had an argument, but just when Buttafuoco thought it was over, Fisher pulled out a gun and shot her in the head. By some miracle, Buttafuoco survived the attack, and months later found herself in court testifying against Fisher, who pleaded guilty to first-degree assault. She spent the next seven years locked up behind bars.
As for Buttafuoco, she became an overnight sensation worldwide. Her story inspired three movies: Lethal Lolita (Amy Fisher: My Story), Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story starring Alyssa Milano and The Amy Fisher Story starring Drew Barrymore.
Despite all the media hoopla around the scandal, Buttafuoco would never get her old life back. She sustained severe physical, mental and emotional injuries that continue to impact her even today.
The gunshot left her face partially paralyzed, and rendered her deaf in one ear, but thanks to all the latest technological advances, doctors were finally able to help her 25 years later.
Since recovering from the attack, Buttafuoco has tried her best to leave the past behind her and move forward. She's largely remained out of the spotlight, except for a few TV appearances. In 2010, she re-married and published her first book, Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know.
However, there was one thing that the now 62-year-old was not able to do since that fateful day in 1992: Smile.
Over the years, Buttafuoco underwent multiple surgeries, but there's only so much doctors could do because the bullet was still lodged in her neck.
Now, decades after the gunshot disfigured her face, Buttafuoco revealed that she finally underwent surgery to repair her facial paralysis, and she's able to smile.
"It's the first time in 25 years that when I smile, I can see the side of my teeth," Buttafuoco told Inside Edition.
Dr. Babak Azizzadeh was able to repair and rewire some of the nerves that prevented Buttafuoco from showing off her pearly whites.
As you can imagine, having her smile back is a dream come true, not just for her but for her family as well.
"She doesn't think of herself as pretty [or] beautiful and it's completely the opposite," Buttafuoco's daughter, Jessie, said. "She is the most beautiful person I know inside and out."
You can watch the entire inerview and report in the video below:
Having lived with facial paralysis all these years, Buttafuoco has been a vocal advocate for the condition. She's worked hard at raising more awareness and funds to help find a cure.
"It's very, very difficult," she told KTLA in 2016. "When you see somebody, the first thing you notice is their smile, and their face."
Buttafuoco also opened up about her life in Reelz Channel's series, Scandal Made Me Famous, which premiered on September 22.
Do you remember Mary Jo Buttofuoco's story?