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Gypsy Rose: From Tragedy To Triumph

Undated photo of Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard as shown in HBO’s “Mommy Dead And Dearest”

On December 28, 2023, Gypsy Rose Blanchard was released from Chillicothe Correctional Center after serving eight and a half years for the murder of her mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard. At first glance, you might be confused as to why someone involved in a murder would be released from prison after only eight and a half years, but in Blanchard’s unusual case, the murder doesn’t tell the whole story. 

Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a mental illness in which a caretaker, usually the parent of a child, creates the illusion that another person has health problems. It’s suspected that this is a condition that Dee Dee Blanchard suffered from, as she had claimed that Gypsy Rose had a number of health conditions that she actually didn’t have. The first claim was when Gypsy Rose was only three months old, when Dee Dee insisted that her daughter had sleep apnea. The multiple tests showing that Gypsy Rose did not have sleep apnea didn’t deter Dee Dee, though. Before her death, she had told the world that Gypsy Rose had an assortment of health problems like muscle dystrophy, leukemia, and forced her to use an unnecessary wheelchair and feeding tube.

On top of that, Gypsy Rose had been taking all sorts of unnecessary medications, and getting surgeries that were just not needed. A surgery that removed Gypsy Rose’s salivary glands caused her teeth to rot and eventually be taken out. As well as lying about medical issues, Dee Dee was able to portray Gypsy Rose to be younger than she actually was. In a phone call on Gypsy Rose’s 18th birthday, her father recalls Dee Dee asking him not to mention her age, since “she thinks she’s 14.” After Hurricane Katrina, the Blanchard’s apartment was left destroyed as well as all of Gypsy Rose’s medical records, which made falsifying medical conditions easier. By faking these illnesses, Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter were cared for in many ways, including getting a home from Habitat For Humanity, free trips to Walt Disney World, backstage passes to a Miranda Lambert concert, and more. 

A lot of people interested in this case make the argument that Gypsy Rose could have run away, or told the police about what was happening, and didn’t need to murder her mother to escape the abuse. However, it’s not that simple. An escape attempt landed Gypsy Rose two weeks handcuffed to her bed, as well as a threat from Dee Dee that she would smash her fingers with a hammer if she did it again. Dee Dee also went forward to the police and told them that her daughter was mentally incompetent, and to not listen to Gypsy Rose in the case that she tried to escape her. The abuse of Dee Dee gaslighting Gypsy Rose didn’t stop there, though. Gypsy Rose reports that Dee Dee would hold her hand in public and squeeze it tight any time she said or did anything that could have been interpreted as her saying she wasn’t actually sick, then Dee Dee would physically beat her with open hands or a coat hanger. 

On June 14, 2015, Dee Dee Blanchard’s body was found stabbed to death in her bed. Gypsy Rose and her then boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, were soon caught and taken to a police station, and were later found guilty and sentenced to prison for their crimes. As we already know, Gypsy Rose spent her time and has now been released, however Godejohn remains in prison and will remain there for the rest of his lifetime. The Hulu television show The Act starring Joey King tells the story of what Gypsy Rose Blanchard went through, as well as the HBO movie Mommy Dead And Dearest. Blanchard’s newly released ebook Released: Conversations On The Eve Of Freedom has exclusive illustrations and writings, along with interviews Gypsy Rose did while in prison. Now married to 37 year old Ryan Scott Anderson, Gypsy Rose lives in Louisiana with hopes of spreading awareness about Munchausen syndrome by proxy using her substantial social media following. Though murder wasn’t the solution, Gypsy Rose herself saying in an interview with People, “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,” Now that she is free of both the prison system and the cycle of abuse she was trapped in, Gypsy Rose plans to take advantage of her newly found freedom. In her interview with People magazine, she shared her plans to attend a Kansas City Chiefs football game with the hope of meeting Taylor Swift, whose boyfriend Travis Kelce plays as a tight end for the team. Additionally, she looks forward to hosting a second wedding with her husband to celebrate their marriage outside of prison and expresses her desire to start a family in the future.

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About the Contributor
Leyla Johnson, Journalist
Hi, my name is Leyla Johnson and I've loved writing for as long as I can remember. When I'm not stuck behind a keyboard, I'm usually making a mess in the kitchen or sitting by the fireplace with a good book. I absolutely love to travel and have been to 8 countries so far but hope to visit more. In addition to all things above, I'm also obsessed with music, especially artists Taylor Swift, Conan Gray, Lana Del Rey, Sabrina Carpenter, Gracie Abrams, and many many more.

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