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Gypsy Rose’s Release–all you need to know and more

Gypsy+Rose+Blanchard+posts+her+first+social+media+picture+on+December+28%2C+2023%2C+a+day+after+her+release.+She+captions+the+post+with%2C+First+selfie+of+freedom%21
Image courtesy of @gypsyrose_a_blanchard via Instagram
Gypsy Rose Blanchard posts her first social media picture on December 28, 2023, a day after her release. She captions the post with, “First selfie of freedom!”

When we think of mothers, we often associate them with warmth, love, and loyalty. The list of adjectives is endless. This has not been the case for Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Blanchard’s life has been deceitful but has left the world in awe of her story. Her story describes a resilient, creative girl who escaped the clutches of her abusive mother, Clauddine Blanchard, and her life that was built on lies.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard was born in 1991 to Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard and Rod Blanchard. The couple married after Clauddine became pregnant but separated a few years later. Rod moved out of state and only got information about his daughter through calls with Dee Dee. 

Early on, Dee Dee had convinced herself that Gypsy was suffering from sleep apnea. By 1999, Dee Dee–who was once a nurse’s aide–claimed that her daughter had leukemia and muscular dystrophy. Throughout Gypsy’s childhood, she was “diagnosed” by Dee Dee with multiple medical issues that include, asthma, seizures, and hearing and visual impairments. Gypsy, due to her “illnesses,” had to be fed through a tube, sleep with a breathing machine, and have her salivary glands removed. In childhood pictures of Gypsy, she is seen without many teeth left, this being due to her many medications, the loss of salivary glands rotting her teeth, and her head shaven due to “cancer.”

Many wonder how Dee Dee Blanchard kept up this make-believe life she consumed her daughter with. The answer is simple–she was an incredible manipulator who appeared as a loving and warm mother. However, this has come to be untrue. Many psychologists have diagnosed Dee Dee with suffering from “Munchausen syndrome by proxy,” where she manufactured her daughter’s illness to receive attention and empathy from the public. Some common symptoms, as explained by Medlineplus.gov, are parents who have worked in the medical field, and can “create” their child’s illness, make up lab results, and create environments that can cause the child to seem ill. This, as shown by the Gypsy Rose case, is a clear and undeniable fact for Dee Dee Blanchard.

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Dee Dee was able to feed Gypsy medications that mimicked the symptoms of certain illnesses, like leukemia and muscle dystrophy. Seeing many doctors to “prove” her multiple diagnoses, Dee Dee would stop seeing any doctor who disagreed with her. She kept the ruse from medical professionals and, most importantly, Gypsy’s father. Dee Dee convinced Rod that Gypsy was suffering from a chromosomal disorder and–Rod, who was living out-of-state–had no way to disprove her, seeing as he only communicated through telephone calls. 

When Hurricane Katrina hit the United States in 2005, Dee Dee was able to convince the government that she was a victim and her entire home had been destroyed. There, she had a reason for losing Gypsy’s medical files in the storm – another step in her fabricated lie.

By the time Gypsy was a teenager, Dee Dee, was once again able to convince medical professionals of Gypsy’s ailments. One doctor doubted Dee Dee and, eventually, the authorities were involved after it was reported that she was suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Again, Dee Dee was able to convince them of Gypsy’s ailments.

In 2011, Gypsy attempted to escape Dee Dee’s wrath. Dee Dee had begun to alter Gypsy’s birth certificates to make her seem younger than she was. By 2011, Gypsy was nineteen, yet Dee Dee convinced her–and the man Gypsy had tried to run away with–that Gypsy was a minor. Sometime after, Gypsy was able to join a Christian dating site. She met Nicholas Godejohn who, after learning of Dee Dee’s abuse, was asked to kill Dee Dee. 

In June 2015, Nicholas, under the influence of Gypsy, stabbed Dee Dee to death while Gypsy waited in the restroom. 

Gypsy and Nicholas left the crime scene to his Wisconsin home. After Gypsy wrote, posting about the murder on her shared Facebook with her mother, she was quickly found and arrested by law enforcement. 

In a sense, Gypsy was Dee Dee’s hostage–that is what is used to explain Gypsy’s role in her mother’s death. Gypsy needed to escape her prison of lies. 

Seeing as Gypsy was subject to abuse and manipulation, she received a ten-year sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 2016. She was released on December 28, 2023, after serving eight years in prison. Meanwhile, Nicholas Godejohn was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Now, in 2024, Gypsy has learned to cope with her trauma. She is currently active on her Instagram account–posting a selfie of her a few days after her release with the caption, “First selfie of freedom!”

She is now married to her husband, Ryan Anderson, a special education teacher. They wed on July 1, 2022–a small wedding ceremony in Gypsy’s prison–after years of sending letters to one another. Anderson was interested in Gypsy’s story and reached out to her; from there, romance blossomed.

Before her release, a Hulu Original show, “The Act,” was released. The show depicted Gypsy’s conditions and was played by actress Joey King. The show is considered to be very truthful and honest about Dee Dee’s manipulation. Other shows and documentaries have been created since, and before, Gypsy’s release, among many networks. 

What we know for sure from Gypsy’s story is she is a victim–but not just that. She was a prisoner under the medical manipulation of her late mother. Now, thirty-two years old, we can see Gypsy’s journey to acceptance of her trauma and the resilience it takes to heal. Though we may not share the exact conditions as Gypsy, we can use her as an example to sympathize and learn.

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Desiree Soto, Intern Staff Writer

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