Amy Fisher, then and now

When 16-year-old Amy Fisher met 36-year-old Joey Buttafuco, despite her age and his marriage, the two began an illicit relationship. On an afternoon in 1992, Amy confronted Joey's wife, Mary Jo, on their doorstep. Mary Jo was shot in the head at close range. She miraculously survived and identified Amy as her assailant.

Amy was arrested and told police of her affair, resulting in what could only be termed a media circus. Charges and countercharges flew as Joey denied Amy's claims and Mary Jo stood by her man. Amy pleaded guilty to reckless assault and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. After months of denials, Joey admitted that he had sexual relations with Amy and was sentenced to six months for statutory rape. Amy served seven years in prison, and since then has worked hard to stay out of the public eye. Now she's told her story in a book, Amy Fisher: If I Knew Then...
Amy Fisher and Oprah

Years after Amy Fisher and Mary Jo Buttafuoco's encounter, she and her attacker met. Mary Jo describes the dramatic moment when Amy looked her in the eye and said, "I'm so, so sorry." Amy says she remembers wanting to hug Mary Jo, to reach out to her in some meaningful way.

Mary Jo's forgiveness is so complete, she even wrote a letter asking that Amy be released from prison early. In part, it reads: "I have come to the conclusion that Amy Fisher has spent enough time in jail as punishment for her crime. It is right and good that I can now say that I forgive Amy Fisher. It is a place I have only been able to reach through grace."

According to Amy, she feels Mary Jo must be a "terrific person" to be able to find it in her heart to forgive.
Amy Fisher

Oprah asked Amy to talk about the things she's learned as a result of living through her very personal and difficult ordeal.

"I knew nothing then," says Amy. "What didn't I learn? I learned I should have gone to school and focused on studying instead of men. Obviously, [laughing] it's not nice to shoot people. I'm more self-reflective. I learned to be more compassionate."

Oprah feels there's a larger lesson in Amy's story: "The most important gift any parent can give their children, especially their daughters, is a sense of self-esteem. What happened to [Amy] doesn't happen to girls who have a sense of self-worth."
Amy Fisher

About her personal growth process, Amy "looks back on those dark times and I never thought I'd get to the place I am today. The 'Long Island Lolita' is not really who I am."

A 30-year-old mother of a 3-year-old son and a baby on the way, Amy is happily married to a man she met through the Internet.

When it comes to talking to her children about her past, Amy feels she'll be able to be honest. "No parent ever wants to think their child could view them as a bad person. When the time comes and my son asks me about my past, I'm going to be honest with him. All I can do is explain to him that everybody has a past and all we can do is learn from our mistakes and be a better person. We've all done things we're not proud of, but that doesn't define who we are."