Gypsy Rose Blanchard, ‘The Act’ and ‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’ subject, released from prison

A woman with long brown hair in a gray sweater holding a microphone in a courtroom
Gypsy Rose Blanchard takes the stand in November 2018 during the trial of her ex-boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn, in Springfield, Mo. Godejohn is serving a life sentence for the killing of Blanchard’s mother.
(Nathan Papes / Springfield News-Leader )

Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the woman whose twisted upbringing and mother‘s death inspired Hulu’s award-winning series “The Act” and HBO’s “Mommy Dead and Dearest,” has been released from prison.

The Times confirmed that Blanchard was released from Missouri’s Chillicothe Correctional Center early Thursday and granted parole, seven years after she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. She had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for convincing an online boyfriend to murder her mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, in June 2015.

Blanchard, whose age had been difficult to verify for years, is now 32, a spokesperson for the prison confirmed Thursday.


Her mother Dee Dee Blanchard lived with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder in which parents or caregivers seek sympathy through the exaggerated or made-up illnesses of their children. She made her daughter and others believe that Gypsy Rose suffered from a number of health issues, including developmental delays, leukemia and muscular dystrophy. Meanwhile, Dee Dee gained public sympathy and collected donations and gifts from charity organizations that believed her daughter was chronically ill — including a meeting with country star Miranda Lambert, a trip to Disney World and a home from Habitat for Humanity.

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After figuring out she hadn’t really been sick, Gypsy Rose Blanchard helped plot her mother’s death with a man she met through a Christian dating website.

The murder case garnered national interest after the 2016 publication of a BuzzFeed article and the 2017 release of HBO’s “Mommy Dead and Dearest” documentary, which both unveiled disturbing details about life with Blanchard’s mother. Some of those details included allegations that Dee Dee confined her daughter to a wheelchair and forced her to use a feeding tube.

When pressed about her daughter’s medical history or condition, Dee Dee Blanchard would say her medical records were lost in Hurricane Katrina or would seek out a new doctor. She constantly shaved her daughter’s head to cover her story.

The BuzzFeed article by Michelle Dean inspired the 2019 Hulu drama series, “The Act,” starring Joey King and Patricia Arquette as Gypsy and Dee Dee, respectively. The series won Arquette a Primetime Emmy and a Golden Globe Award, while King earned an Emmy nomination for her role. Upon receiving her nod, the “Kissing Booth” star said she hoped for justice for Gypsy Rose Blanchard.

The first-time Emmy nominee said she wants the Hulu series to change perceptions about Blanchard, who is serving jail time for the death of her mother.

July 16, 2019

“I hope that this story educates people a little bit on how much Gypsy actually went through and how little she deserved to be where she is right now,” King said. “I hope that our show sheds a little bit of light on that and hopefully ... gives her some peace of mind and potentially an early release — I wish, I hope, I pray.”

Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s former boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn, who carried out the murder, is serving a life sentence.


Just before her release, Blanchard said she was “ready for freedom.” In an interview with People, she recalled the life her mother had fabricated. She also said her mother did not deserve to die for her actions and that she regretted conspiring to kill her.

Joey King will tell you that when it came to preparing for her role as Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the young woman whose twisted upbringing would make headlines after her involvement in the death of her mother, that it was as much a mental journey as it was a physical transformation.

April 23, 2019

“She was a sick woman and unfortunately I wasn’t educated enough to see that,” she said. “She deserved to be where I am, sitting in prison doing time for criminal behavior.”

Newly out of prison, Blanchard already has an entertainment venture of her own lined up. She is set to tell her side of the story in Lifetime’s upcoming docuseries, “The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard,” which premieres Jan. 5.

Although no in-person coverage of Blanchard’s Thursday release was allowed “in the interest of protecting safety, security and privacy,” her trial attorney, Michael Stanfield, told the Associated Press that he’s “rarely had a client who looks exceedingly better after doing a fairly long prison sentence.”

“Prison is generally not a place where you become happy and healthy. And I say that because, to me, that’s kind of the evidence to the rest of the world as to just how bad what Gypsy was going through really was,” Stanfield said.

Times staff writer Yvonne Villareal and the Associated Press contributed to this report.