true crime

'I was at Gypsy Rose Blanchard's prison release party. Here's what everyone's getting wrong about her.'

Gypsy Rose Blanchard is a free woman who is "living her best life", according to friends. 

She even recently hosted a prison release party to celebrate her restart. One of those at the party was M. J. Pack, an American true crime writer and journalist. Speaking with Mamamia's True Crime Conversations, M. J. acknowledges that her friendship with Gypsy Rose was completely unexpected. 

But there's a reason why the pair had a connection - and M. J. says the world is getting one thing wrong about Gypsy Rose. 

Watch: Gypsy Rose Blanchard on The View recently. Post continues below.

Video via YouTube. 

Gypsy Rose spent eight years in prison following her involvement in the murder of her mother Dee Dee Blanchard. Gypsy Rose had persuaded an online boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, to kill her mother.

The case gained international attention after it was revealed that Dee Dee had essentially kept her daughter prisoner, forcing her to use a wheelchair and feeding tube. Dee Dee had also made Gypsy Rose pretend for years that she was suffering from serious illnesses. In the later years, Gypsy Rose alleges there was physical abuse and degradation as well, saying she believes her mother did it to keep control over her.


Investigators determined that Dee Dee had Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder in which parents or caregivers seek sympathy through the exaggerated or made-up illnesses of their children. Following her mother's murder, Gypsy Rose accepted a plea bargain agreement in 2016 for 10 years and the charge of second-degree murder, and she was released at the start of 2024.

It's been a long journey, says M. J., noting that following the case and its many twists and turns was a time she will never forget.

Gypsy Rose's story first hit M. J.'s radar at the point in time when Gypsy Rose was missing - she was on the run after being involved in her mother's murder. 

"What a lot of  people thought was 'Oh my God, some monster has murdered this nice lady and kidnapped her daughter'. We were trying to find this sweet, disabled, sick child. It was a real sense of urgency in that community," M. J. tells True Crime Conversations.

Listen to the full story on Mamamia's True Crime Conversations. Post continues after audio. 

She says that when the news broke that Gypsy Rose hadn't been potentially kidnapped or hurt by her mother's killer, but instead was conspiring with him, the community was shocked - and outraged. 

"They had a press conference and the sheriff said something along the lines of, 'Nothing is at it seems'. I had a feeling then that things were about to take a turn, and obviously it did. The truth was then dropped on us like a pound of bricks. Gypsy and her boyfriend Nick had been found and charged. She walked into court completely fine, not in a wheelchair. It was bonkers."


M. J. says that at this point, there was significant anger from the community.

"When everything was initially uncovered, everyone kind of assumed at first that Gypsy had been going along with it [her mother's deception]. And they were furious. Everyone felt like they had been taken advantage of, without getting all the information right away."

But given what investigators uncovered about Dee Dee and how she had acted towards her daughter her whole life, M. J. says that community perceptions started to evolve. 

M. J.'s perception had changed too. So much so that as M. J. continued to cover the case, she got in touch with Gypsy Rose, and the pair struck up a friendship.

"It just it makes me sick, honestly, what she went through. She told me that prison was actually the best experience she'd had since living with her mother," says M. J.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard as a child, and Gypsy Rose now. Image: Supplied/Instagram.


"I don't think she deserved as much time as she got or that it necessarily needed to be prison. But she definitely needed some sort of transitionary period. Prison sort of gave her a structure, and gave her time to figure out the kind of person she wanted to be in a safer space."

M. J. has also since become close friends with Gypsy Rose's stepmother, saying the pair connected over Facebook.

"I still remember the moment the stepmother and Gypsy's dad saw Gypsy in the court. There were tears. As a parent, I don't think you would want to see your child walking for the first time in years walking into a courtroom in an orange jumpsuit."


Since Gypsy Rose's release, life has looked very different for her.

She is living with her husband Ryan Scott Anderson, has millions of followers on Instagram, and there's a lot of media attention around her. But with that comes pressure. 

"I was lucky enough to be at her release party and see her the day she got out. Everyone's seeing this glammed up version of her, because that's what the media wants us to see. It is great, she's finally getting these nice things, a house, a husband, a new wardrobe. But she really just wants a normal life," says M. J.

"She is incredibly grounded and sweet. I think that speaks a lot to her character."


The reality is that Gypsy Rose is both a victim and a perpetrator.

She was abused by her mother. She also was involved in her mother's murder. Two things can be true at once - and forgetting either aspect of Gypsy Rose's story would be remiss. 

This is the point M. J. hopes the public remembers - this is not a black and white situation. There's nuance.

"Everyone wants to say, 'She could have done this', or 'She could have done that'. It's just people are so quick to say they would have done something different. But I think if you really sit down with the idea and really try to put yourself in her shoes, there can be a level of empathy," notes M. J.

"It was a situation that absolutely never should have happened. The system failed her, her mother failed her. And at a certain point when somebody is backed into a corner, they're going to come out fighting. And to say that you wouldn't do that until you're in that situation I don't think is fair at all."

You can listen to the full story on True Crime Conversations now

Feature Image: Facebook. 

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