How did Gypsy Rose Blanchard go from being a sickly girl confined to a wheelchair to the mastermind of a plan to kill her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, in 2015? The fourth episode of The Act, "Stay Inside," contains a pivotal moment Gypsy Rose's (Joey King) stunning evolution.
By this point, Gypsy Rose had already dipped her toes in rebellion from her mother's controlling grasp. She'd snuck away to an older man's house. She'd eaten so much sugar her teeth fell out. She'd bought a laptop. In this episode, she logs on to a Christian dating site — and matches with Nick Godejohn (Calum Worthy), the man who'd make her escape possible. Like nearly all the characters in The Act, Nick is based on a real person. His life will forever be affected by that decision to match with Gypsy Rose on ChristianDatingForFree.com back in 2012. Currently, 29-year-old Nick Godejohn is serving time for murder — and will be for life.
In Godejohn, Gypsy Rose saw an opportunity to break out of her prison-like existence with her mother, who suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, meaning that she made her daughter sick on purpose. Though the couple was separated by state lines — Gypsy in Missouri, Godejohn in Wisconsin — their relationship grew through video and text chats. They planned their wedding and kids' names. They began experimenting with erotic role play, another way for Gypsy to escape the confines of her existence.
Godejohn fit into the story that Gypsy, who was raised on a diet of Disney movies and fairy tales, had shaped about her life. Gypsy was a princess locked away by an abusive woman. Godejohn was the knight, coming to liberate her. Fittingly, the only time Gypsy and Godejohn met in person before committing Gypsy's dramatic plan was at a screening of the live-action Cinderella. She wore a Cinderella costume to the theater. They had sex in a bathroom stall.
At their next meeting, Gypsy and Godejohn's fairy tale would take a dark turn. Gypsy had asked Godejohn to kill her mother so they could be together — she was too "squeamish" to go through with the act herself. She also was instrumental in developing the plan. After ruling out arson, a gun, and poison, Gypsy stole a knife, the eventual murder weapon, from a Walmart.
In June 2015, Godejohn, then 24, traveled 500 miles on a Greyhound bus to Springfield, MO. While Gypsy waited in the bathroom with her hands over her ears, Godejohn found Dee Dee sleeping in her bedroom and stabbed her multiple times. Once Dee Dee was dead, Godejohn and Gypsy escaped to Godejohn's house in Big Bend, WI. Police eventually found the couple's location by tracing a Facebook post.
In 2016, Gypsy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder was sentenced to 10 years in prison. According to relatives, she's thriving in prison.
Godejohn's fate is far more grim. In the fall of 2018, Godejohn went on trial for the murder of Dee Dee. Godejohn's defense lawyers argued that his autism diagnosis, low IQ, and social isolation made him unable to make sound decisions. But after two hours of deliberating, the jury sentenced Godejohn to life in prison.
Now incarcerated, Nick speaks freely about his involvement in the murder. "The darker part of me was in love with the darker part of her," Godejohn said in an interview from prison in 2018. "And that part said, 'This bitch is dead.' I'm not letting her come between me and her."
Whereas Gypsy is working toward a GED and preparing for eventual release in 2023, Godejohn is still retreading this life-changing relationship.
“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 in 2018. “Unfortunately, because of how far I went, I feel as if she's betrayed me. I feel that she's abandoned me.”
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