Gypsy Rose Blanchard is 27 years old, serving a 10-year prison sentence, and by all accounts, doing just fine. In fact, she says she’s thriving.
“She still tells me that she's happier now than with her mom,” Gypsy Rose's step-mom, Kristy Blanchard, told the Springfield News Reader in February 2018. “And that if she had a choice to either be in jail, or back with her mom, she would rather be in jail."
It’s an unusual statement — but in the context of Gypsy Rose's life, it makes perfect sense. To understand where Gypsy Rose is coming from, we have to go back to one of the strangest crimes in recent memory. In 2015, Gypsy Rose's mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, was found stabbed to death. Neighbors learned about the murder after someone took to Dee Dee's Facebook page and wrote, “That bitch is dead.”
Gypsy Rose never denied her involvement in the crime. In 2016, she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. This came as a surprise to her neighbors and friends, who viewed her as a sweet, childlike young woman. During her trial, Gypsy Rose's motivations for her extreme action became clear. Gypsy Rose grew up confined to a wheelchair. She was shuttled in and out of hospitals for tests and surgeries. Her teeth were removed. She had a strict medicine regimen for her supposed leukemia, and ate her meals through feeding tubes. Essentially, Gypsy Rose was sick.
Except that she wasn’t. Dee Dee had been lying to Gypsy Rose about her supposed illness her entire life. Dee Dee suffered from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, in which someone deliberately makes a person in their care sick. Recently, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy has also swarmed pop culture — examples can be found in Sharp Objects, Everything Everything, and even the movie Greta.
Gypsy Rose felt trapped. In 2012, she met Nicholas Godejohn on a Christian dating site, and identified an escape route. Capitalizing on years of affection, in 2015, Gypsy Rose convinced Godejohn to help her kill her mother so they could be together. Gypsy Rose waited in the bathroom while Godejohn carried out the murder. They fled from Missouri to Godejohn's house in Big Bend, WI. Police caught up with them there.
In 2019, Godejohn was sentenced to life in prison. “She was basically the mastermind behind it all [and] I was basically a hired hit man in its own weird sense. I loved Gypsy to the point where I would...do anything for her. I've proven that with what I did,” Godejohn told ABC News. “Unfortunately, because of how far I went, I feel as if she's betrayed me. I feel that she's abandoned me.”
Gypsy Rose is serving time at Chillicothe Correctional Center in Chillicothe, MO. Behind bars, she's closer to her true self than she could ever be with her controlling mother. “She looked much more like the person that she was, which was the complete opposite of the person that I knew, and it was like she had a costume on that whole time and then took it off,” Kim Blanchard, an acquaintance of Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose's (of no relation), told reporter Michelle Dean for Buzzfeed News. She will be eligible for parole in 2024.
According to Gypsy Rose's father, she will move in with him and her step-mother when she finally gets out. Gypsy Rose will be up for parole in 2024, at which time she'll be 32 years old.
Outside prison, Gypsy Rose has become a public figure. She's been the subject of an HBO documentary, Mommy Dead and Dearest, and now a fictional TV adaptation. However, she's been unable to actually interact with these works. Erin Lee Carr, director of Mommy Dead and Dearest, told Refinery29 that Gypsy Rose is eager to see them.
"Gypsy has basically had the entire film narrated to her, but she is still in prison so she hasn’t seen the film yet. She is really excited to see it. She’ll see it immediately when she gets out," Carr said. "I just think that she is a survivor. Gypsy is going to have a life beyond this."