Audrey is a passionate writer who covers a wide array of topics, including film/tv reviews, opinion-based pieces, and relationship advice.
The Gypsy Rose Blanchard Situation
When the story first broke that Gypsy Blanchard elicited her boyfriend Nick to murder her own mother, I thought Gypsy was probably an entitled narcissist, or was strung out on drugs. However, as complex details began to emerge, I quickly became enthralled with her situation. There is so much more to it than simply DeeDee Blanchard's murder. In fact, acknowledging it as only a murder leaves out the years of abuse suffered by Gypsy at the hands of her mother DeeDee, Deedee’s long and checkered past, and Nick Godejohn’s diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, among other complexities of the case.
As I saw news stories, I was very confused and intrigued, as were many others who searched the web for information regarding this case. Now the whole saga has been dramatized (and sensationalized, according to Gypsy [Harnick, 2019]) in Hulu’s original series The Act, which made me have even more questions. Through a little digging around, I have been able to come up with some hypotheses to some of these doubts.
Where is Gypsy's father, Rod Blanchard, from?
Specifically, why does he sound Irish at times in interviews?
I literally typed “Is Rod Blanchard from Ireland?” into the Google search bar. Nothing came up about this, nor about where he is from. Then, I read a few things that mentioned that Rod and Clauddine "DeeDee" Blanchard live around the bayous in southern Louisiana. Rod’s accent, though sounding Irish at times, is probably Cajun. Cajuns, or Acadiens, were Canadian settlers from Nova Scotia of French origin that moved to Louisiana in the 1800s. This ethnic group has maintained many French traditions and passed down the French language from generation to generation. They also created and acquired new cultural elements upon moving to the bayous, resulting in Cajun culture.
They speak Cajun, which is a dialect of French, and make food like gumbo, jambalaya, and boudin sausages. When speaking English, their accent is unlike any other Southern accent in the United States. They distinctively pronounce words like “this” as “dis”, and may stress words not traditionally stressed in English. Because of this French influence, Cajuns may sound European at times. Many Cajun families only speak Cajun French at home, even though French speaking at home has been declining over the years (Masaman, 2017). Notably, Blanchard is a French last name that means “nearly white”, and Pitre, Deedee’s maiden name, is a French last name derived from the French word for an apothecary’s pestle. Cajuns should not be confused with Creoles, which are a different ethnic group who are mixed race between Filipinos, Spanish, African, Cajun, and Native American groups and speak a mixed French language, like in Haiti.
What do we know about DeeDee, other than that she suffered from Munchausen by Proxy?
Clauddine “DeeDee” Pitre's marriage failed. She was a twenty-three-year-old beauty queen who became pregnant by her boyfriend, seventeen-year-old Rod Blanchard. They married but soon divorced.
DeeDee was suspected of other killings. Her family thought she killed her own mother, Emma, by starving her, and they also suspect she poisoned her stepmother, whose ailing health improved greatly when DeeDee moved out (Lundgren, 2019). Some family members suspect her need for control over Gypsy would have soon ended up in Gypsy’s death (Duff, 2019).
DeeDee may have had personality disorders and was not close with her family. None of her family members were upset by her death due to the amount of manipulation and control she had exhibited toward others.
DeeDee was a kleptomaniac who learned her shoplifting behavior from her mother, Emma (Tron, 2019). She also tried to teach this behavior to Gypsy. Emma had been caught for shoplifting multiple times, and DeeDee even went to jail for a stint for writing a bad check and also accumulated misdemeanors, among other legal issues. It is possible that mental illness and obsessions ran in the family.
Can We Trust Gypsy?
My feelings fluctuate between anger at Gypsy for her poor decisions, and pity toward her for having lived a life of captivity and abuse. Because of this hard life, most news outlets show her in a sympathetic light. However, we really do not know if she is as innocent as she seems, simply trying to escape abuse. She could be tricking us all.
Is Gypsy Rose Blanchard manipulative like her mother? Nick Godejohn (DeeDee’s killer) seems to think so (Douglas, 2018). He says that Gypsy used him to murder DeeDee, faking her feelings for him, even though his feelings for her were real. Could Gypsy now be manipulating the media by speaking shyly and eloquently about her victimhood? No doubt she is a victim of child abuse, but is it ever okay to set up the killing of your mother, no matter how abusive? Surely there could have been another way out of this situation. I would have much rather seen DeeDee, as horrible as she was, locked away for life or in a mental institution, and Gypsy and Nick Godejohn free and without having committed murder. Are we being manipulated into thinking that the killing was justified?
This leads me to my next question: now that she is out of jail will she steal, manipulate, or otherwise continue cycles of abuse that she was raised in? She knows no different. She already shoplifted and made other poor life choices, such as finding a random guy online who claimed to be a 500-year-old vampire and getting him to murder her mother rather than calling CPS or running to the police.
Her sneakiness and skill is also alarming; she secured a murder weapon and even took care to mail it back to Nick’s house in Ohio, as well as acting cool and unfazed when asked about her mother by Nick’s parents. Truly, what if this woman is just as crazy as her mother and grandmother were and ends up abusing others, or even killing others, like DeeDee is suspected of doing, and for which Gypsy already served a 10-year-sentence in jail.
Let us not forget, she asked Nick to kill her mother and he did while she hid in the bathroom. Who is to say we will not see Gypsy serve future jail sentences for future committed crimes? Her marriage is another one of her questionable life choices, as she fell in love with her pen pal in jail and became engaged to him (Crabtree, 2019). Her choices do not seem reasonable, and she always excuses her behavior, just like DeeDee did. DeeDee was a master of excuses and explanations, so much so that she tricked educated, professional doctors for decades about Gypsy’s illnesses. My assertion is that both in nature (hereditary kleptomaniacal tendencies and personality disorders) and nurture (being raised with deception and abuse) Gypsy may continue to exhibit dangerous and deceptive techniques that could culminate in future abuse or even murders. I hope this is not the case, but I can't bring myself to fully trust her.
Where is Gypsy Rose Blanchard Today?
Gypsy is about to turn thirty years old at the time of the update of this article, and is preparing to get her GED, hoping to use her newfound credentials to pursue her interests in the beauty profession. Her prison hobby is photography and she says she feels freer there than she did living at home with DeeDee (Das Biswas, 2020). She no longer plans to marry her boyfriend, Ken, after she gets out of prison, having ended the relationship in 2019. She is looking forward to being released from prison in 2023 and is planning on telling her own story in a book and possibly advocate for abused children, as well as reconnecting with her family members that DeeDee always kept her away from (Keegan, 2021).
Crabtree, E. (2019). Gypsy Rose Blanchard Is Engaged Weeks After ‘The Act’ Premiere: Report. Retrieved from: https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/gypsy-rose-blanchard-is-engaged-after-the-act-premiere-report/
Das Biswas, S. (2020). Where is Gypsy Rose Blanchard Now? Is She in Jail? Retrieved from: https://thecinemaholic.com/gypsy-rose-blanchard-now/
Diaz, J., Smith, J. and Valiente, A. (2018). How a young woman forced to use a wheelchair, treated for several illnesses, ended up in prison for her mother's murder. Screenshot taken from video. Retrieved from:https://abcnews.go.com/US/young-wheelchair-bound-woman-treated-illnesses-ended-prison/story?id=52138979
Douglas, B. (2018). Charged with Murder, Godejohn Gives His Side of the Story.
Duff, C. (2019). Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s Family Thinks Her Mom Would’ve Killed Her If She Lived: ‘It Wouldn’t Have Ended Well’. Retrieved from: https://www.intouchweekly.com/posts/gypsy-rose-blanchards-family-thinks-her-mom-wouldve-killed-her/
Harnick, C. (2019). She Plays Her on TV, But Is Joey King Ready to Meet Gypsy Rose Blanchard? Retrieved from: https://www.eonline.com/news/1033848/she-plays-her-on-tv-but-is-joey-king-ready-to-meet-gypsy-rose-blanchard
Keegan, H. (2021). With Eye Toward Possible 2023 Release, Gypsy Blanchard Says She's Working on a Book. Retrieved from: https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/crime/2021/02/02/gypsy-rose-blanchard-plans-writes-book-to-be-released-in-2023-letter-from-jail-dee-dee-blanchard/6581736002/
Last name searches performed on Ancestry.com.
Lundgren, A.(2019). The True Story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s Mom, Dee Dee Blanchard. Retrieved from: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/tv/a27099800/gypsy-rose-blanchard-mom-dee-dee-blanchard/
Masaman. Youtube video uploaded May 28, 2017. Louisiana Creole and Cajuns: What's the Difference? Race, Ethnicity, History and Genetics. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suiDNTDt8AI
Tron, G. (2019). What Was Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s Grandmother Like? Maybe Not Too Different From Dee Dee. Retrieved from:
© 2019 Audrey Lancho