Gypsy Rose Blanchard: how killing her mother garnered her 18 million followers


Her mother made her believe that she was suffering from serious illnesses. One day she met the man who would become her boyfriend and together they planned her murder. Her first selfie following her release from prison generated more than 6.5 million interactions

A screen grab of the 2017 HBO documentary 'Mommy Dead and Dearest'.
A screen grab of the 2017 HBO documentary 'Mommy Dead and Dearest'.HBO

The body of Dee Dee Blanchard was discovered by police in Springfield, Missouri on June 14, 2015, face down and bathed in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed 17 times in the back while she slept. Her daughter, Gypsy Rose, then 23, was convicted of second-degree murder for planning the crime along with her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, the young man who executed the killing. Today, not only has Blanchard regained her freedom after serving eight of the ten years she was sentenced to, but she is also an internet sensation. There's an insatiable appetite for her every move.

Behind this idolatry is an explanation that goes beyond the irrational behavior of masses on social media. The list of criminals with hordes of followers is extensive, but Blanchard's case is as anomalous as it is unique, possible only in a country as bipolar as the United States. For years, her mother subjected her to outrageous medical treatments, convincing those around her that the girl had serious brain damage. She even falsified her birth certificate to maintain absolute control over her, even when she was of age.


Dee Dee transported her daughter in a wheelchair, claiming she suffered from leukemia and muscular atrophy, as she told her neighbors. She fed her through a tube and gave her several medicines a day, even going so far as to remove her salivary glands. For years, she kept Gypsy's head shaved, assuming her hair would fall out anyway due to cancer, and the medications eventually caused her to lose some teeth. She was so obsessed with her and her care that they even shared the same bed.

In reality, the one who was sick was the mother, diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome, a disorder that inflicts injury or illness on another person. Gypsy Rose tried to escape several times, but her mother would bring her back home, until she met Godejohn on an internet Christian forum and helped him plan the murder. After killing her on June 14, 2015, the couple took to Dee Dee's Facebook wall, writing: "That bitch is dead".

The story of Gypsy Rose and her mother's murder have been the subject of many a television series on HBO and Hulu, as well as various documentaries. The latest, released on January 5 on Lifetime, The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, is a six-part series that unravels the entire case, from her childhood traumas to the eight years spent behind bars and her undeniable remorse, all spiced up by her sudden and unexpected fame.


Gypsy has over eight million followers on Instagram and another ten million on TikTok. Her first post-release selfie generated more than 6.5 million interactions, notoriety that has led her to give numerous interviews on radio and television. She admits in one of them, with People, that she was "desperate to get out of that situation" and that she wished they had understood her mother's problem earlier. "Helping her would have helped me," she explains.

Gypsy Rose vividly remembers the ordeal of her feigned illnesses. "Obviously, I knew I could walk and didn't need a feeding tube, but everything else was really confusing for me," explains the 32-year-old ex-convict, who grew up isolated and only briefly attended school. Her mother limited interaction with other children, with minimal contact with the outside world. "What I knew about life outside the four walls of my house, I only saw in Disney cartoons, and in those cartoons there are no warning signs about bad parents."

Regarding the crime itself, she does not give excessive details, except that she remained locked in the bathroom while her boyfriend carried out the murder. "I regret it every day," she says, feeling responsible for having put him in that situation. "However, the act of committing murder also fell on him. Everyone has a choice."

Blanchard even considered suicide if sentenced to life in prison. Now, she enjoys celebrity status — the story of a tortured young woman who ended up planning her mother's murder and now garners sympathy on social media for the second chance life seems to have given her.