For all you crime drama lovers, Hulu's about to blow your mind with the March 20 premiere of The Act. This real-life story about the twisted relationship between Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter, Gypsy, is something you'll have to see to believe. If you'd rather go into this thing knowing ahead of time whether Dee Dee Blanchard is dead or not, let me give you all the details. You can judge for yourself if this is a "must-see" or a "skip so I don't have nightmares" kind of thing.
First things first: Dee Dee Blanchard was murdered by the online boyfriend of Gypsy Rose, Nicholas Godejohn. Now that you know the ending of the tragic story, let me rewind to show you how it got to this utterly devastating point. Gypsy Rose had been raised to believe she suffered from a plethora of disorders and diseases such as leukemia, muscular dystrophy, and epilepsy to name a few. Those things were the cause, so said Dee Dee, of Gypsy's mental capabilities that she said were performing at a 7-year-old level when Gypsy was much older. Gypsy was forced to undergo procedures and take medications, she spent most of time in a wheelchair, and was fed through a feeding tube. Dee Dee received monetary support from charities and Gypsy Rose was somewhat of a poster child for all of these illnesses. The problem with all of this was that Gypsy Rose was not sick. Not at all, actually.
Dee Dee had a mental illness in the form of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. This illness manifests through a parent's need for attention through a sick child, even going so far as to make the child sick when they'd otherwise be healthy. Such was the case with Gypsy Rose. Dee Dee wanted her child to be sick, so she made her sick. At some point, Gypsy discovered she wasn't sick at all so she began to rebel. She met Godejohn online, where the two eventually plotted to kill Dee Dee in their in Springfield, Missouri home.
To skip some of the gory, unsettling details, Godejohn did, in fact, murder Dee Dee. Her body was discovered on June 14, 2015. In the beginning, police believed Gypsy Rose to be an innocent victim who may have been kidnapped after her mother's murder but she was actually hiding out in Wisconsin with Godejohn. Police could see then Gypsy was not wheelchair-bound and her age was not 19, but 23. Everything Dee Dee created about Gypsy Rose was a lie.
Ultimately, Gypsy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a 10-year sentence while Godejohn was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. After Gypsy's plea deal in 2016, Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson told the Springfield News-Leader, "When you look at this case, it’s a murder. And it’s a first-degree murder. But it’s also one of the most extraordinary and unusual cases we have seen." Gypsy’s attorney Mike Stanfield weighed in as well saying, "It’s the best outcome for her, it’s the best outcome for the state of Missouri. It’s the right thing to do for everybody.” Their journey was also covered on the HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest.
Gypsy won't be eligible for parole until 2024. She's currently serving time at the Chillicothe Correctional Center in Chillicothe, Missouri. You might wonder after all that's happened how Gypsy Rose feels about the death of Dee Dee. On a 2018 interview on Good Morning America, she said this about the woman who she once trusted who she found had betrayed her, saying, "I feel like I’m freer in prison than living with my mom. I guess now I’m allowed to just live like a normal woman."
The Act premiers on Hulu March 20.