The residents of Springfield Missouri were charmed by a seemingly young, sickly girl named Gypsy Rose Blanchard. She couldn't walk, was bald, and supposedly had mental disabilities, but she adored Disney princesses and dreamed of a better life. In reality, that better life didn't involve being cured of her illness: It meant leaving her mother. Gypsy was allegedly being held captive by her mother’s lies about her health, and according to her depiction in an upcoming television series on Hulu called "The Act," she felt just as trapped as some of the Disney characters she adored — and much like in these fairy tales, she was looking for a prince charming to vanquish her captor.
Gypsy's mother, Clauddine "Dee Dee" Blanchard, pretended Gypsy had leukemia, muscular dystrophy, and other ailments in a suspected case of Munchausen by proxy. "Dee Dee" was never diagnosed because her alleged abuse wasn't revealed until after she was found brutally stabbed to death in 2015 in the home she and Gypsy shared after Gypsy enlisted her online boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, to kill her. Both are currently in prison for the murder.
While the alleged scam was going on, in between hospital visits to treat ailments that weren’t even real, Make-A-Wish would frequently fly Gypsy down to Disney World, all expenses paid.
"Right now, I’m in Cinderella’s castle eating some royal mashed potatoes,” Gypsy, sporting a pink hat with the word "Princess" across it, exclaimed in footage obtained by ABC News. She was sitting in a wheelchair, part of the sham her mother Dee Dee allegedly forced her to be a part of.
Despite the smiling appearances in Disney World and an affinity for all things pink, Gypsy claimed she felt trapped during that time, just like the fictional heroines she appeared to idolize. “Gypsy just wanted to be a regular teen," Aleah Woodmansee, Gypsy’s friend and neighbor down the street, told ABC’s “20/20,” explaining that Gypsy’s mom wouldn’t let her date or even have her own Facebook account, despite the fact that Gypsy was secretly an adult (her mother allegedly lied to Gypsy and other's about Gypsy's real age).
“The Act,” a “character-based seasonal true-crime anthology series" on Hulu, is based on the events leading up to Dee Dee's killing, It's set in a pink house which looks pretty much the same as the real house Habitat For Humanity built for the Blanchards, fit for a princess, in Springfield, Missouri.
The new show has depicted Gypsy's desire to be free of her mother by alluding to various princess and comics stories. Gypsy wears a Cinderella dress to a comics convention, where she meets a man dressed as Wolverine, for example. She then tries to escape her home to marry him. When she's at his house, she refers to herself as Jean Grey, a love interest of Wolverine’s, asking him, “Wouldn’t it be romantic if after all this time, Wolverine and Jean Grey could be together and she could finally be free from that evil Cyclops?”
In the comics series, Grey and Wolverine's love remained mostly unrequited. He replies by explaining that Grey actually ends up killing Cyclops. Gypsy’s mom, the Cyclops of her story, then shows up and takes her away.
In "The Act," Gypsy also wears a Cinderella dress while meeting a character based on the real-life Godejohn in person for the first time while at a movie theater to watch the new "Cinderella" movie. The symbolism is blatant: In nearly all versions of "Cinderella," Cinderella is tortured by her step-mother and step-sisters until some magic and Prince Charming save her from a life of abuse.
In fact, in real life, the couple did meet in person at a screening of the 2015 Disney film "Cinderella." Just like in "The Act" Gypsy and Godejohn planned to pretend he was a stranger so that "Dee Dee" could approve, and just like in the Hulu series, Gypsy slipped off during the princess screening to have sex with him in the bathroom of the movie theater, according to WDAF-TV in Kansas City.
During their mostly online relationship (both in real life and in the series' depiction of their romance), Gypsy modeled in princess-like wigs for her online boyfriend. Once used to cover her bald head, which her mom made her shave because they were faking that she had leukemia, they were now used for Godejohn's BDSM fantasies — and Gypsy's fantasies of a different life.
In "The Act," when Dee Dee gets wind of their relationship, she ties Gypsy up to the bed with a piece of fabric Gypsy once used to dress up like Rapunzel, a fairytale heroine who was locked in a tower.
Not long after in the show, she asks Godejohn to kill her mom so she can be set free from her captivity. It appears she viewed him as a dark prince charming of sorts, coming to save her from her mother's abusive grip.
Of course, we know how this turned out in real life. While Gypsy no longer has to lie about her age or her health issues, she is currently in prison serving a 10-year sentence. However, for her, it seems this is still a happy ending: "I'm freer in person than living with my mom," she told ABC News.
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