Gypsy Rose Pitre Blanchard spent the first 24 years of her life being infantilized by her late mother who suffered from factitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA) also known as Munchausen by proxy. When the mother was young, she also experienced abuse at the hands of her own mother.
Blanchard and her doctors were convinced by her mother that she had epilepsy, leukemia, muscular dystrophy and other severe illnesses. Because of this, she underwent several invasive and painful procedures that she did not really need.
Donors showered Blanchard and her mother with support and donations. The mother-and-daughter duo made many Make A Wish trips to Disney and Habitat for Humanity made a house for them in Springfield, Missouri, United States.
When Blanchard became a teenager, she wanted to do things girls her age normally enjoyed such as going out with boys and putting on makeup but her mother was strictly against it. Her mother even lied about her birthdate and made her four years younger than she actually was.
The secrets, lies, revelations and twists in Blanchard’s life inspired several television series and films and were featured in documentaries. She was played by Joey King in the Hulu series “The Act” while Patricia Arquette played her mother.
As a survivor, Blanchard is now an advocate for children who are experiencing abuse. Here are 13 more things about her:
- She was born in Golden Meadow, Louisiana, USA on July 27, 1991 to Rod Blanchard and Clauddine “Dee Dee” Pitre Blanchard. Her parents separated shortly after her birth. Her maternal grandparents are Claude Pitre and Emma Pitre. Antoine Gisclair and Alcida Doucet Gisclair are her great-grandparents.
- In 1999, her mother falsely claimed that she was suffering from leukemia and muscular dystrophy and said she required a wheelchair and feeding tube.
- After Hurricane Katrina, she and her mother relocated from Louisiana to Missouri. In 2005, Missouri neurologist Bernardo Flasterstein suspected that she was a victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy at the hands of her mother but did not report the case to social services. Her mother stopped taking her to Flasterstein.
- In 2011, she tried to run away to be with an older man she met at a sci-fi convention but her mother eventually caught up with her. As a punishment, her mother chained her to her bed, destroyed her phone and computer and put bells on the doors. Her mother threatened to smash her fingers with a hammer if she tried to escape again.
- On October 9, 2012, she met Nicholas Godejohn online via a Christian dating app.
- In October 2014, she told her friend and former neighbor Aleah Woodmansee that she was still able to secretly access her computer and set up a private Facebook account using the name Emma Rose. She told her in a Facebook chat, “This is my personal account my mom is still overprotective so she don’t know about this account.”
- On June 14, 2015, Godejohn, her then boyfriend, stabbed her mother to death in their house in Springfield at her instructions. The victim’s body was found on June 15, 2015. On June 16, 2015, she was arrested with Godejohn and prosecutors charged her with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the killing of her mother. She and Godejohn were booked into the Waukesha County jail in Wisconsin before they were extradited back to Missouri.
- In 2016, she started serving her 10-year sentence at the Chillicothe Correctional Center in Missouri.
- “Mommy Dead and Dearest,” a documentary about her and her mother, debuted on HBO on May 16, 2017. A man named Ken reached out to her after watching the documentary to show his support for her. In 2017, she told Dr. Phil McGraw, “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 don’t believe that I’m in the right place to get the help that I need.”
- In prison, she attends classes, enjoys photography and has a job taking photos of visitors, according to her stepmother Kristy Blanchard. In 2018, Kristy told the Springfield News-Leader, “Despite everything, she still tells me that she’s happier now than with her mom and that if she had a choice to either be in jail, or back with her mom, she would rather be in jail.”
- His father is pleading for her early release from jail through an online petition Free Gypsy Rose Blanchard, which received more than 134,000 signatures in April 2019. In the same month, she got engaged to Ken, the man who reached out to her after watching “Mommy Dead and Dearest.”
- She has a parole hearing in December 2021.
- She is eligible for parole in 2024.