Attempted murder is all in her past

Catching Up With ... Amy Fisher

She shot a woman, she served her time, now she's a mother and a book author

October 10, 2004|By Sylvia Adcock | Sylvia Adcock,NEWSDAY

On Sept. 27, she was running from one mall to the next, looking for a Power Rangers costume - it had to be red - for her 3-year-old to wear on Halloween.

She was just like any other young Long Island mom. Except that it was the day her book came out. And she is - or was - Amy Fisher.

In the five years since she was released from prison for shooting her married lover's wife in the face, Amy Fisher has changed her name and Social Security number, gone to college, married and had a child. She has undergone plastic surgery to alter her appearance, and then, she says, had the surgery reversed. Today, her husband of one year does not call her Amy, but by her new name, which she does not disclose to the media.

"Amy is a pen name, so to speak," she said. "I just want to forget about Amy Fisher, put her in a closet somewhere. And start my life new."

It's almost like an episode of Extreme Makeover. Only, Fisher says, it's not that easy. "You never really are comfortable with the new identity. ... You'll meet someone who might be a potential [friend] and you talk to this person and you really like them. And then it's like, should I tell them about my past? Is it any of their business? If they find out on their own, will they think less of me?"

That won't be a problem anymore.

Fisher is in the center of a self-directed spotlight as she promotes her self-published book If I Knew Then. It's a softcover with chapters on her past ("Meeting Joey," "Prison Life") and her present ("Becoming a Mom," "Turning Thirty"), and it includes tips for parents of teens. She hopes to make money from it, and plans to donate some profits to prison reform and gun control groups.

The publicity she now seeks will end the relative anonymity of her life with her husband, a retired New York City police officer 20 years her senior, and son in their four-bedroom house on an acre of property near the Hamptons. "Now," she said, "people will know. ... They'll be like, OK, you're Amy Fisher. That's out of the way."

Her French manicure is perfect and the marquis-cut diamond on her left hand is a rock. In an interview in the offices of the Long Island Press, where Fisher writes a weekly column, she wears a sleeveless print dress, a gold watch with diamonds, simple gold earrings, and a tiny gold ankle bracelet. She is five months pregnant, but these aren't maternity clothes.

It was 12 years ago, in May of 1992, that Amy Fisher became part of our consciousness. At 17, she showed up on the Massapequa, N.Y., doorstep of Mary Jo Buttafuoco with a .25-caliber pistol and shot the woman in the face, claiming later that the gun went off accidentally. Mary Jo Buttafuoco still has a bullet lodged in her neck. The crime and Fisher's relationship with Joey Buttafuoco spawned three made-for-TV movies.

Fisher served 7 years in an upstate New York prison, and had only one thought on the day of her release. "I said to my attorneys, `OK, you're going to get my name changed,' " she said.

But it wasn't enough. She found that she could get a job under her new name, but it was impossible to keep one.

It only took one secretary to say, "I think she's Amy Fisher." The result would be several weeks' severance pay.

Fisher was still on parole when she met her husband-to-be, Lou, on Each had deceptions. He said he was a millionaire; she didn't say she was Amy Fisher. When she told him, it didn't matter. "Being a former police officer, he's been around the block. He's used to dealing with real criminals. He was like, `Look, you were a kid,' " Fisher said.

When Lou's mother learned who his new girlfriend was, she said, "Oh, bring her over, I'm gonna cook." Their son was born in February 2001, and in September 2003 they married in Las Vegas.

In September, Fisher and her husband found out that their second child will be a girl. Her eyes light up at the thought. "Pink," she said, sighing. "Don't all women want a little girl? I have visions of little pink dresses and pigtails. "It all sounds so rosy."

Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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