The story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, is easily one of the most bizarre you will come across in the true crime genre. The Act on Hulu tells the almost unbelievable story of Gypsy Rose, who was found guilty for her role in the murder of her mother, and Dee Dee, who spent most of her daughter’s life convincing her that she was terminally ill. But what does Gypsy Rose look like now? The Act dives deep into their relationship and the events that led up to and followed Dee Dee’s 2015 death.
People reported that Gypsy Rose was a victim of Munchausen by proxy, which is when a parent or guardian uses a child’s illness or makes a child sick to get sympathy and attention from others. In this case, Dee Dee made up most of Gypsy Rose’s ailments and even forced her to move around in a wheelchair whenever other people were around to continue with the charade.
Dee Dee led friends, family, and the general public to believe that Gypsy Rose suffered from muscular dystrophy and leukemia, among other illnesses, and kept Gypsy Rose heavily monitored. Still, she eventually met Nicholas Godejohn online, who was charged with helping Gypsy Rose carry out the plot to murder her mother. Gypsy Rose pled guilty to second-degree murder and is now serving a 10 year sentence.
Before Dee Dee’s murder, Gypsy Rose was usually seen in a wheelchair and could be easily identified by her shaved head, childlike voice, and lack of teeth. In an interview with ABC News, Gypsy Rose said that Dee Dee would use a numbing agent on her gums to make doctors remove her salivary glands and this may have contributed to the eventual rot, decay, and removal of her teeth.
"There are certain illnesses that I knew I didn't have," Gypsy Rose said. "I knew that I didn't need the feeding tube. I knew that I could eat, and I knew that I could walk, but I did believe my mother when she said that I had leukemia," Gypsy said. "Because I was taking lots of medications, and Mom said that they were for cancer, and she would shave my hair off and said, 'It's going to fall out anyway, so let's keep it nice and neat.'"
Today, Gypsy Rose is almost unrecognizable as the same wheelchair-bound meek young girl who doctors and neighbors saw before her mother’s death. She has false teeth where hers were previously removed and her hair is now grown out, whereas before Dee Dee had convinced her to keep it shaved off. In an interview with Investigation Discovery, Gypsy Rose said that although she is finally free from her mother after years of abuse, if given the chance to do it all over, she would have instead reached out to someone for help.
Despite regretting the part she had in her mother’s murder, Gypsy Rose did suffer because of Dee Dee for the majority of her life. Dee Dee would take her to different doctors to get false diagnoses in order to keep Gypsy Rose sick and continue to benefit from her false illnesses. They were given trips across the United States to Walt Disney World, concerts, and sports games. Gypsy Rose was also never told her correct age and made to believe she was younger than she actually was and act as such, too.
The Act not only goes into Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose’s relationship, but also what led to the change in Gypsy Rose to make her want to help carry out the plan to kill her mother. The first two episodes drop on Hulu on March 20.