true crime

The little-known story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard's relationship with her father Rod.

The story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the 27-year-old woman who orchestrated the murder of her mother Dee Dee in 2015 with her online boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn, is one that has captivated – and horrified – the world.

Gypsy’s mother had convinced her from a young age that she was terminally ill, suffering everything from leukaemia to muscular dystrophy and seizures, along with developmental issues meaning she had the mental capacity of a seven-year-old.

None of these were real.

Dee Dee suffered from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, which is now known as ‘factitious disorder imposed on another’ – a condition that makes a guardian exaggerate or invent illness in a child for sympathy.

By age 23, Gypsy Rose had caught on to the fact that she had been living a lie fabricated by her own mother, and as revenge for robbing her of a regular childhood arranged for her to be stabbed to death by Nicholas while she hid nearby by.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard is now serving 10 years in prison. Image: ABC

The story inspired Hulu series The Act, starring Patricia Arquette.

Watch the trailer for “The Act,” based on the true story of Gypsy Rose. Post continues after video.

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But while the three names at the centre of the story - Gypsy, Dee Dee and Nicholas - are widely known and reported, with images of a wheelchair-confined Gypsy with her mother splashed across news articles, there's one voice rarely heard.

That of Gypsy's father, Rod Blanchard.

Now, a new podcast from Dr. Phil has shared his side to the twisted tale.

Analysis of a Murder, which is available via Stitcher, explores the unique relationship Rod had with Gypsy Rose, and his ever-present suspicions about his daughter's health.

Rod was 17 when Dee Dee, then 24, fell pregnant with Gypsy. They married, but split up before Gypsy was born. When their child was just a few months old, Rod claims that Dee Dee told him that Gypsy had sleep apnoea.

"Dee Dee had her in for a sleep apnoea test," Rod said on the podcast. "As far as I know... there was no determination that she had sleep apnoea, the tests came back pretty normal... but Dee Dee insisted that she get a heart monitor that she wore at night."

According to Rod, this was the first of "many red flags" that he would have about Gypsy's health. Rod was so concerned about Gypsy, he moved back in with his ex-wife in an attempt to make the marriage work.

Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose. Image: HBO.

Unsurprisingly, it didn't.

"I didn't feel any differently about the relationship. The relationship did a 180... Dee Dee took me to court for child support. I tried to support her the best I could but I guess to her that it wasn't enough," said Rod.

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"She would take me to court for additional medical costs she was accumulating, taking me to court for thousands and thousands of receipts for Gypsy. The court said I was obligated to provide medical insurance and expenses on top of child support and alimony. I don't know if Dee Dee saw that as a way to maybe get an edge on top of me, maybe some extra money she could get."

Gypsy's "medical issues" continued to pile up.

Gypsy Rose with her father Rod. Image: Twitter.

"Before [Gypsy] was five, she was having problems with her eyes, was having seizures, digestive system [issues], having a problem digesting certain foods," Rod explained. "I don't know how it got past the doctors, but [Dee Dee] was persistent that [Gypsy] have a feeding tube."

Rod says he never saw Gypsy as the gravely ill child Dee Dee claimed she was.

Eventually, Dee Dee told Rod that Gypsy had cancer and that she had to shave her head.

"I couldn't fathom that the chromosome disorder [that Dee Dee claimed Gypsy suffered from] had anything to do with cancer," Rod said.

"I never lived with Dee Dee and Gypsy," said Rod. "We never got to experience that, Gypsy and I. [Dee Dee] was a buffer... Birthdays, holidays, it was very hard."

Only with Dee Dee's death has Rod been able to reconnect with Gypsy - while she serves a 10-year sentence in a Missouri prison.

"[Our relationship] is a hundred times better, honestly," Rod told Fox News. "We email each other. She can call me anytime and she does. I’m keeping tabs on all of her accomplishments in school. She’s getting her GED [in prison]...It’s wonderful. I can’t wait for her to get out so we can build on that foundation that we started here."

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