In 2015, the world was shocked when Dee Dee Blanchard was found murdered in her Missouri home. But the story only became more complex when it was revealed that her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, planned the attack with her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, in order to escape her mother’s excessive control. Gypsy had spent her entire life disabled and incredibly ill – or so everyone believed.
Gypsy’s mother, Dee Dee, had fabricated and exaggerated her daughter’s ailments for years, even going so far as to shave Gypsy’s head and force her to use a wheelchair to sell the cancer story. She controlled every aspect of Gypsy’s life under the guise of providing medical care for her wheelchair-bound, cancer and muscular dystrophy-stricken daughter. In reality, Gypsy could walk and did not have cancer at all. Enduring her mother’s psychological and physical abuse in silence, Gypsy hatched an escape plan with her online boyfriend, Godejohn, to kill Dee Dee.
Now Gypsy speaks out from prison about gaining her freedom. “I feel like I’m freer in prison than with living with my mom,” she shares in a video statement. “Because now I’m allowed to … just live my life as I want to.” Gypsy goes on to apologize for her role in her mother’s murder but maintains it was a last desperate attempt to break free after her mother had stolen so much of her life.
Gypsy’s story is complicated, evoking both sympathy and condemnation. Family, friends, and neighbors failed her and the medical system as her mother controlled her life. And yet, she resorted to murder in her bid for freedom with Godejohn by her side. Her case provokes many questions about guilt and intent.
Regardless of how we judge her crime, Gypsy says she can finally make her own choices in prison – what to eat, what to wear, who to talk to. She even has a new boyfriend now. Despite being imprisoned for a decade, Gypsy conveys a sense of liberation in the video.
“I feel like I’m freer in prison than with living with my mom. Everything is a privilege now because I have the power to get online, I have the power to talk to someone,” Gypsy reflects. For a young woman who never previously had any control, even limited autonomy feels like freedom.
The tragic case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard involves many complex layers of manipulation, abuse, intent, and even love on the part of her boyfriend, Godejohn. Her interviews from prison reveal deep psychological scars but also a sense of newfound independence. While ten years behind bars will restrict Gypsy’s movements, she conveys that nothing can limit her freedom again after her mother stole so much. Her mother’s excessive control could not contain Gypsy’s longing for liberty – though the lengths she went to in order to achieve it with Godejohn make this a complicated case of both villain and victim.