The Untold Truth Of Gypsy Rose Blanchard

The following article includes mention of child abuse and addiction.

Since her release from prison in December 2023, Gypsy Rose Blanchard has become a divisive and fascinating figure in pop culture. Because of her tragic upbringing, for most of her life, Gypsy didn't know her age. She just knew that she was deathly ill, battling leukemia, muscular dystrophy, sleep apnea, epilepsy, and a host of other medical problems. She knew she got a Make-A-Wish Foundation trip to Disney World and that Habitat for Humanity built her family a house after Hurricane Katrina destroyed her mother, Claudine "Dee Dee" Blanchard's, property. She also knew she needed to get out.

Dee Dee was suspected to have Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a caretaker — often a parent — exaggerates, fabricates, or in some cases even causes illness in another person, usually their child, to get attention for themselves. The disorder is often considered a form of child abuse, resulting in Gypsy being confined to a wheelchair and hospital rooms for much of her life.

Feeling trapped, Gypsy met a man online named Nicholas Godejohn who she saw as a key to her escape. She and Godejohn conspired to kill Dee Dee, who was later found stabbed to death in their home in June 2015. Godejohn and Gypsy were soon tracked down and arrested. Even though they're both behind bars, Gypsy admitted that she never felt more free. This is the untold truth of Gypsy Rose Blanchard.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard underwent several unnecessary procedures in her childhood

Dee Dee Blanchard put her own daughter through massive amounts of medical abuse to maintain the image of Gypsy Rose Blanchard's supposed illnesses. For the entirety of Gypsy's childhood, Dee Dee claimed that her daughter suffered from a variety of serious illnesses, including leukemia, muscular dystrophy, and other conditions. As a result, Blanchard was prescribed a dangerous concoction of pills, underwent numerous medical treatments and surgeries, and was confined to a wheelchair despite being able to walk. Dee Dee also forced Gypsy to have a feeding tube inserted for medicine and nutrition.

One of the most painful procedures Gypsy had to endure was the removal of her salivary glands, which she told People was made even more harrowing due to the fact that she "didn't respond very well to anesthesia." Unfortunately, this surgery caused her teeth to rot over time, and years later, Blanchard has dealt with the ramifications of the procedure.

"To this day, it has left me with the side effects of having to clear my throat all the time. So I'm always, if you hear me, that is a constant thing that I've had ever since. And it annoys people to no end," Blanchard told People. "It's because my saliva is very thick and so I'm always having to clear my throat."

She tried escaping prior to the murder

In addition to the psychological abuse Gypsy Rose Blanchard suffered at the hands of her mother's Munchausen by proxy syndrome, she claimed that Dee Dee Blanchard was also physically abusive. Gypsy explained on "20/20" in 2019 that when she got old enough to long for a life outside of her home, she and Dee Dee began to argue (sometimes for several days at a time), after which she alleged that Dee Dee would sometimes not feed her for "two days or so" as punishment. In 2011, Dee Dee became physically violent, at times "[hitting Gypsy Rose] with a coat hanger."

The abuse was bad enough that Gypsy tried to escape. She said that she ran away from home one time, after which she was held captive by her mother when she was found. "She physically chained me to the bed, and put bells on the doors and told ... anybody that I probably would've trusted that I was going through a phase and to tell her if I was doing anything behind her back," Gypsy recalled on the program.

In February 2011, Gypsy, then 19, met up with a 35-year-old man at a sci-fi convention, Kim Blanchard (a neighbor of no relation) told Buzzfeed News. The man invited Gypsy Rose to his hotel room, which Dee Dee found out and brought papers claiming Gypsy was a minor. When Dee Dee and Gypsy returned home, Dee Dee reportedly took a hammer to their computer.

She became healthier in prison

Despite Dee Dee Blanchard claiming that Gypsy Rose Blanchard suffered from a multitude of illnesses, including muscular dystrophy, leukemia, sleep apnea, and asthma, Gypsy has just one occasional physical condition: A lazy eye. What's more, Gypsy's health reportedly improved since her incarceration, no doubt thanks to her no longer taking the many medications her mother was giving her. Gypsy's attorney, Michael Stanfield, told BuzzFeed News that while most inmates lose weight in prison because the food isn't exactly fine cuisine, the opposite happened to Gypsy, who gained 14 pounds in jail while waiting to enter a plea in her case. Family friend Kim Blanchard said of Gypsy's appearance, "It was like she had a costume on that whole time and then took it off."

Gypsy admitted that she knew she wasn't as unhealthy as her mother claimed. She explained to ABC News, "I knew that I didn't need the feeding tube. I knew that I could eat, and I knew that I could walk. But I did believe my mother when she said I had leukemia." Though the ailments weren't all real, the surgeries and their effects were.

She asserted that her ex was 'controlling'

Nicholas Godejohn reportedly tried to keep in touch with Gypsy Rose Blanchard since their arrests, but she didn't want to communicate with him, as family friend Fancy Macelli told In Touch Weekly. Godejohn, for his part, has demonstrated a possibly unhealthy obsession with Gypsy, who he met on a Christian dating website in 2012. He described her as his "soulmate," telling ABC News, "I loved Gypsy to the point where I would ... do anything for her. I've proven that with what I did. Unfortunately, because of how far I went, I feel as if she's betrayed me. I feel that she's abandoned me." 

Dee Dee knew about Godejohn, as Gypsy introduced them in hopes of getting Dee Dee's approval of her boyfriend. It backfired. "She got jealous, because I was spending a little too much attention on him, and she had ordered me to stay away from him," Gypsy told ABC News. "And needless to say, that was a very long argument that lasted a couple weeks. Yelling, throwing things, calling me names: b***h, s**t, w***e."

Gypsy further told the outlet that she came to realize that Godejohn was similar to her mother as they were both "very controlling." She also told Dr. Phil that Godejohn had "multiple personalities that were violent and scary."

Nicholas Godejohn claimed Gypsy manipulated him

In 2018, Nicholas Godejohn spoke with KORL10 from prison to posit that Gypsy Rose Blanchard had used "manipulation" to coerce him into murdering her mother. During his trial, Godejohn's defense team asked the judge to allow mental health experts to testify that being on the autism spectrum impaired his judgment leading up to the murder. Springfield News-Leader reported that the defense's expert, Dr. Kent Franks, claimed Godejohn was at level two on the autism spectrum, meaning he was intellectually disabled and needed help to make decisions. However, Dr. Robert Denney, a psychologist testifying for the prosecution, claimed Godejohn was at level one on the autism spectrum and displayed sound judgment in a test.

Godejohn explained to KORL10 that his own judgment was impaired at the time of the murder. "I wish I would have known it was more manipulation than love cause if I would have known that, I probably would not have been in this situation I'm in," Godejohn said. "Due to my main disability, it's pretty easy for me to be deceived."

Gypsy told ABC News of her ex, "I don't hate him. I feel sorry for him ... that somebody could do something so heartless and not express remorse and not feel like he's responsible for it."

The couple left behind a ton of evidence

When Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Nicholas Godejohn killed Dee Dee Blanchard, they did something more seasoned criminals wouldn't: They left a very, very obvious trail of evidence. "20/20" (via Women's Health) reported that the pair had a slew of receipts, bus tickets, and surveillance camera footage pinning the crime on them.

"This is like a crime I call 'Hansel and Gretel,' where you drop the clues along the way as you go," former FBI agent Brad Garrett told the outlet. "They couldn't have laid it out better for the police." Gypsy's own attorney, public defender Mike Stanfield, admitted, "In my 10 years of practice, this case had by far the most discovery that I've ever had. Close to 100 CDs worth of papers, photos, digital information."

One of those pieces of evidence was the Facebook post the couple posted after Dee Dee's murder. Police were easily able to trace the Facebook post to Godejohn's home, though Gypsy admitted she was the one who wrote it because she wanted someone to find Dee Dee's body and give her "a proper burial."

Some doctors suspected Dee Dee Blanchard's ruse

Gypsy Rose Blanchard had at least one physician who didn't buy her mother's allegations about her illnesses: Neurologist Dr. Bernardo Flasterstein. He told ABC News that when he examined Gypsy for the muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy that Dee Dee Blanchard insisted her daughter had, he had a feeling something was amiss. "There was nothing to support either," Flasterstein recalled. "That kind of made me very suspicious."

The doctor's suspicions grew when, after he told Dee Dee that he believed Gypsy's prior diagnoses were incorrect, instead of being relieved, Dee Dee grew furious and stormed out, screaming to his nurses that Flasterstein was a quack. Flasterstein then wrote Gypsy's primary care physician a letter saying he suspected Dee Dee had Munchausen by proxy (describing Dee Dee as "not a good historian" in his correspondence, according to Buzzfeed News), but didn't think the situation was dire enough to contact child protective services.

He wasn't the only doctor to suspect Dee Dee was the one who was sick. A police report obtained by ABC News claimed that one of Gypsy's doctors notified authorities that he "could not find any symptoms that support what Dee Dee alleges to be wrong with her daughter." Child services visited the Blanchards' home twice but claimed to not see anything untoward.

Her father wants to repair their relationship

Gypsy Rose Blanchard was long estranged from her father, Rod Blanchard, and she told ABC News that she never knew her father even paid child support for her until after her mother's murder. Rod recounted that the estrangement was by Dee Dee Blanchard's design. He told Fox News, "[Dee Dee] spent a lot of time making sure that there was distance between us. A lot of times I would call Gypsy and she wouldn't be available to talk to me, but the next day she was ... I would call her on her birthday, but Dee Dee would tell me, 'Don't tell her it's her 18th birthday. I don't want to tell her how old she is.' I just thought some of that was kind of weird."

He added, "She was always scared that I would get close to Gypsy. It bothered me. But I was always hoping that Gypsy would get old enough that one day we could bond. It got hard, it really did. But I didn't want to push it too far. Dee Dee had full custody and could cut me off completely from any kind of relationship we already had. There was a fine line I had to walk with her."

Rod said that when Gypsy was in prison, their relationship actually improved since Dee Dee's death (which he said Dee Dee "asked for"). Upon her December 2023 release, Gypsy went straight to her father's home to see her father, stepmother, and stepsister.

She believed she should have had a shorter prison sentence

Gypsy Rose Blanchard believed she should be in prison, but not necessarily for a decade. She explained to Dr. Phil, "I believe firmly that, no matter what, murder is not okay. But at the same time, I don't believe I deserve as many years as I got. ... I do believe that I do deserve to spend some time in prison for that crime. But also, I understand why it happened, and I don't believe that I'm in the right place to get the help that I need."

So, what was Blanchard's life like in prison? Despite being behind bars, Blanchard confessed that she actually feels "freer" in prison than she did when she lived with her mother, which she said was basically like being in a different type of prison. "The prison that I was living in before, with my mom, it's, like, I couldn't walk. I couldn't eat. I couldn't have friends. I couldn't go outside ... and play with friends or anything," she told ABC News. "Now, I'm allowed to ... just live like a normal woman."

Initially, Blanchard was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison after taking a plea deal in 2016 for second-degree murder. But her wish for less prison time came true in a round-a-bout way; Blanchard was able to leave prison two years early on parole and was released on December 28, 2023.

She regrets murdering her mother

Since Gypsy Rose Blanchard's release, she has been enjoying her freedom and living her best life on social media. However, despite what the world might think, Blanchard has deep regrets about everything that went down with her mother. "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," Blanchard lamented to People. "She didn't deserve that. She was a sick woman and unfortunately I wasn't educated enough to see that."

While Blanchard admitted that she was high on prescription drugs when she decided to orchestrate the murder, she has taken full accountability for the crime. "I don't blame drugs, I don't blame anything. I don't make excuses," she explained on "Good Morning America" (via People). "I don't believe my mother is a monster. She had a lot of demons. I didn't want her dead, I just wanted out of my situation, and I thought that was the only way out." Still, Blanchard doesn't know what she would do if given the chance to go back in time. "I kind of struggle with that," she revealed to People.

Gypsy's story has inspired numerous documentaries and media

The Blanchard case has been the subject of various documentaries, TV shows, and articles, bringing attention to the issues of abuse, manipulation, and the complexities of mental health within families. "Mommy Dead and Dearest," an HBO documentary released in 2017, delved into the case through interviews and archival footage. The limited Hulu series, "The Act," which premiered in 2019, starred Joey King as Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee Blanchard. "The Act" turned Gypsy into an overnight celebrity while still in prison and received critical acclaim for its performances and storytelling despite taking creative liberties with the storyline.

However, Gypsy wasn't too thrilled about the Hulu program as she was not consulted or compensated. Additionally, "'The Act' brought an onslaught of emails from strangers all over the world," Gypsy revealed in her 2024 e-book, "Released: Conversations on the Eve of Freedom" (via Business Insider). "The corrections officers looked at me differently. Inmates wanted my autograph; others asked me for money, assuming being on television means you're rich." 

Before she was officially released from jail, Gypsy was ready to tell her version of events and did so in the Lifetime docuseries, "The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard." She told "Good Morning America" (via People) that she wanted her story "to be a cautionary tale so that the next person who might be in a situation like [her's], they don't take the route that [she] did."

Gypsy tied the knot in prison

Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Ryan Anderson, a special education teacher from Louisiana, got married behind bars in July 2022. Their relationship began in 2020 when Anderson decided to write a letter to her in prison. Blanchard reminisced to People that the wedding was very intimate with no frills or guests. Upon her release, the couple revealed their plans to have a bigger reception for their family and friends in the future. "Our prison wedding was just something to where we can make our vows to each other," she gushed to People. "It was something that meant something to us. And I think the party is kind of for everybody else and us, but mostly for everybody else."

According to Anderson, many family members — including Blanchard's stepmother — had reservations about the couple getting married. "Everybody would tell her, you need to do this, you need to do that," he recounted to People. "Oh, don't get married because you're going to go around and play the field and go out and experience life. And so that weighed heavy on her, but at the same time, she knew she wanted a family."

However, in a separate chat with People, he added: "We have it ... We've had that bond. In prison, we had to create that to create this relationship, you know? So we had the emotional part down, but now it's the physical, so it's all coming together, it's coming full circle. It's even better than I ever could imagine."

Gypsy is looking forward a future of sobriety

Unbeknownst to many before her release, Gypsy Rose Blanchard suffered from addiction for years largely started by the plethora of medications her mother forced upon her. In fact, it's not even known how many drugs her mother had her on, just that it was a large amount that was meticulously organized. Blanchard later revealed that she was even high on drugs when she conspired to kill her mother with her ex-boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn. 

Blanchard explained to People after her release that she's looking forward to becoming a "new woman" and to leading a life of sobriety. "You know, it's been really nice not feeling like I had to cope using drugs or opiates," Blanchard told the publication. After eight years in prison, Blanchard said she feels confident in her ability to navigate her exciting new life. "I think now my coping skills have grown to the fact that I can take a breath, even if something chaotic is going on in my life, and I don't automatically go to drugs," she continued in her People chat. "I take a beat and just kind of reflect, and take a moment of solidarity and bring myself back to my center."

Thankfully, Blanchard has the support of her husband, Ryan Anderson, to guide her through her new journey. "I just want her to know I'm here for her," the special education teacher told People. "It's one of those where it doesn't matter what we go through, we're still going to be together."

If you or anyone you know may be the victim of child abuse or needs help with addiction, contact the relevant resources below: