Munchausen by proxy, child abuse and premeditated murder. This is Gypsy Rose Blanchard's story.

For her whole childhood, Gypsy Rose Blanchard was told she was sick. And she was made to look it too.

Her mother - Clauddine 'Dee Dee' Blanchard - had been overly protective of her, instilling an 'us against the world' mentality between them and the rest of society. 

"We are a pair of shoes," Gypsy once said. "Never good without the other."

Dee Dee was controlling of Gypsy's entire life, down to how her daughter dressed, how she moved, where she could go and what she could say. 

Gypsy never actually knew how old she was, and was confined to a wheelchair, with her head shaved. Her mother told her she was terminally ill, and that she had everything from leukaemia to muscular dystrophy to seizures, and developmental issues that meant she had the mental capacity of a seven-year-old.

Gypsy knew no different. She says she loved her mother. 

Watch the trailer for The Act, based on the true story of Gypsy Rose. Post continues below.

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Dee Dee certainly didn't make Gypsy's plight private. Rather, she shared their story with anyone who would listen, Dee Dee receiving a home built by Habitat by Humanity as well as trips to Disney World paid for by nonprofit foundations. 


The consensus at the time was crystal clear - the Blanchard family were simply down on their luck. And with Dee Dee being a full-time carer for poor Gypsy, they needed all the support they could get.

In their gifted home, which was a small pink bungalow in Missouri, the duo's neighbours described them both as "sweet". 

Gypsy didn't look like a teenager either. She was pale, underweight, confined to the wheelchair, and her teeth were crumbling due to the medication she was on. She always wore a pair of big-framed glasses - her mother insisting she always wear them - and Gypsy also had a feeding tube and oxygen tank.

She was often dressed in young clothing too, children's dress-ups and faux Cinderella wigs. Dee Dee said the clothing was Gypsy's choice. 

But as Gypsy reached her teenage years, she began to notice that her life looked different from others. She started questioning her age, why she wasn't allowed to have friends or boyfriends, and even questioned her medical conditions.

Gypsy says her mother became physically abusive to her around this time. She alleges she would try to stand up out of her wheelchair, and whenever Dee Dee caught her doing so she would chain Gypsy to the bed and hit her with coat hangers. 

Although from the outside, Dee Dee appeared to be a doting mother towards an ill Gypsy, the cracks were showing. And health officials were becoming suspicious. 


But before child welfare services were notified and had a solid case against Dee Dee, Gypsy had taken things into her own hands. She had met a boy online. It was the meeting that would change everything.

Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard. Image: Supplied.

After managing to convince her mum to get her a laptop and phone, Gypsy used the devices to secretly talk to men online. She was after connection and a "fairytale love" she later said. At the time, in 2014, Gypsy had been made to believe she was just 18 or younger. Really, she was 23.


For two years Gypsy spoke with a man online via a Christian singles dating site. Gypsy was in love with this man, 24-year-old Nicholas Godejohn. She kept her secret online boyfriend hidden from her mother. Godejohn had a criminal record for indecent exposure and a history of mental illness.

Over messages, they had planned to marry one another, and agreed on names for their kids. They were even devising a plan for Dee Dee to casually meet Godejohn at the local movie theatre, after which Gypsy was hoping they could be open about their relationship.

But then their conversations took a dark turn. By 2015, they were devising a plan to murder Dee Dee.

In June, Godejohn was let into the Blanchard family home by Gypsy, who allegedly gave him duct tape, gloves and a knife with the understanding that he would use it to murder Dee Dee.

Godejohn then stabbed Dee Dee to death. Gypsy hid in the bathroom while her boyfriend carried out the crime.

Days later a Facebook status was posted via Dee Dee's account. It read: "I f**ken slashed that fat pig and raped her sweet innocent daughter... her scream was soooo f**ken loud lol."

Concerned acquaintances notified the police, who then did a welfare check on the Blanchard home. Inside they found Dee Dee deceased, but no sign of Gypsy. 


Then it emerged that Gypsy had a secret boyfriend. When police searched the IP address of where the Facebook status was posted, it led them to Godejohn's house. They had been caught - the pair were subsequently arrested and charged.

But during the police interviews, Gypsy disclosed to police that her mother had lied about her health her whole life. When Gypsy left her family home after the murder, she managed to walk completely fine - not needing the wheelchair. She didn't need the feeding tube either, nor the oxygen tank. Tests found her health was completely normal.

The truth had been unveiled - Dee Dee had duped healthcare providers, the people around them and even her own daughter into thinking she was terribly ill.

Dee Dee had also faked false diagnoses and illegally accessed unnecessary prescription medications. It turned out that Gypsy had endured years of medical child abuse at the hands of her mother.

Investigators determined that Dee Dee had suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which is now known as a 'factitious disorder imposed on another'. As the name suggests, the condition makes a guardian exaggerate or induce illness in a child for attention and sympathy. Police also believe money was a motive.

It was all a shock for Gypsy's biological father as well, Rod, who for years had tried to see his daughter but had been blocked by Dee Dee.

"I think Dee Dee's problem was she started a web of lies, and there was no escaping after," Rod said to Buzzfeed News. "She got so wound up in it, it was like a tornado got started, and then once she was in so deep that there was no escaping. One lie had to cover another lie, had to cover another lie, and that was her way of life."


Family friends felt guilt for how it all ended, wishing Gypsy had turned to them rather than Godejohn.

As one neighbour said: "I just wish she would have come to me. A lot of people feel that way. If Gypsy had, just once, stood up and walked across the room, the spell would have been broken. But plainly it wasn't that easy for her. In a way, that makes sense. 

"She slipped, as people are fond of saying, through just about everyone's cracks. She had no reason to believe that her life would change. Until, apparently, she met Nick Godejohn."

Prosecutors declined to go for the death penalty against Godejohn and Gypsy, but both of them were charged with first-degree murder.

The courts determined that Godejohn was the one who specifically murdered Dee Dee. He was convicted and is now serving life in prison without parole.

Gypsy accepted a plea bargain agreement in 2016 for 10 years and the charge of second-degree murder.

For the past eight years in prison, Gypsy has been "thriving" according to reports and interviews she has done. Despite being behind bars, it's the first time she has experienced some form of autonomy. 

Gypsy Rose Blanchard today. Image: ABC13 Houston/YouTube.


"If she had a choice to either be in jail, or back with her mum, she would rather be in jail," her stepmother told Springfield News-Leader. "She is thriving."

"There has been no long-term side effects from all the medication her mum had given her. She has a clean bill of health, thank God - and I really only think what it has done was stunt her growth," her stepmother then said in 2018. 

"Now, don't get me wrong, her eyes, she does have a lazy eye if she doesn't wear her glasses all the time. That was since she was a little baby. Everything else was all a lie."


Dee Dee's own family has admitted they didn't regret her death, saying Gypsy had been punished enough.

In an interview with ABC News, Gypsy said she has been upbeat. She earned her GED, an American high school diploma, in prison and she has studied photography.

"The prison that I was living in before, with my mum - I couldn't walk. I couldn't eat. I couldn't have friends. I feel like I'm freer in prison than living with my mum. I guess now I'm allowed to just live like a normal woman," she explained.

Gypsy has also managed to build a stronger relationship with her birth father, who she says she didn't get to see during her childhood - mostly due to Dee Dee. 

Earlier this year it was confirmed that Gypsy would be eligible for parole in December 2023. Now this week, it's been confirmed she has been released from prison.

Her father and stepmother were waiting for her outside of prison, saying Gypsy would always have a home with them.

There was another person waiting outside the prison for Gypsy - her husband, Ryan Scott Anderson.

Gypsy, now 32, and Anderson were able to marry one another on June 27, 2022, as per the wedding certificate. It remains unclear how the couple met, but it's believed the pair were pen pals. Anderson is 37 years old and a teacher from Louisiana. 


When asked by PEOPLE this week about the relationship, Gypsy said: "We're in love."

To mark her return to life outside of prison, a docuseries about Gypsy's life will also be released.

Lifetime's The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard will air in January, Gypsy saying it's an opportunity to "finally get to use my voice, to share my story and speak my truth" as a "survivor of child abuse".

Reflecting on what she did, Gypsy told PEOPLE this week that she does regret the murder.

"I was desperate to get out of that situation. Nobody will ever hear me say I'm glad she's dead or I'm proud of what I did. I regret it every single day. She was a sick woman and unfortunately I wasn't educated enough to see that. She deserved to be where I am, sitting in prison doing time for criminal behavior," she noted.

"It's a journey. I still love my mom. And I'm starting to understand that it was something that was maybe out of her control, like an addict with an impulse. That helps me with coping and accepting what happened."

This article was originally published in 2019, and has since been updated with new information.

Feature Image: Lifetime/Hulu.

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