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It was a story that shocked everyone who knew her: Gypsy Rose Blanchard was a bald girl who sported giant glasses, wore primarily pink outfits, and sat in a wheelchair for years, but it wasn't the real her — her mother had forced her to pose as a sick child and teen.
Her mother, Clauddine "Dee Dee" Blanchard, pretended Gypsy had everything from leukemia to muscular dystrophy to developmental issues, making her endure multiple surgeries and consume unneeded medications — a condition known as Munchausen by proxy. This abuse went on until Gypsy’s online boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, stabbed Dee Dee to death in 2015.
It’s basically impossible to fathom how Dee Dee could have abused her daughter like this. Hulu's fictional anthology series, "The Act," which uses Gypsy's story as the basis for its main characters, puts forth the suggestion that Dee Dee’s sickness stemmed from her own mother. The show dives into Dee Dee’s backstory as a way of explaining how a woman could commit such monstrous acts, with Dee Dee’s own mother in the show depicted as overbearing and possibly abusive.
As her mother is dying in the show in Episode 6, Dee Dee tells her, “I know you tried your best to always love me.”
Her mom’s response?
“You made it impossible.”
So what are Dee Dee’s real mother and father like? Is “The Act” at all reflective of their relationship?
Well, her mom, Emma Pitre, was not that unlike Dee Dee, at least according to Dee Dee’s father, Claude Pitre. He now lives in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana with Dee Dee’ stepmother, Laura Pitre, in a home covered with cheerful decorations and wind chimes.
“Her momma was a shoplifter and all kinds of stuff and I don't know how many times she had to go to court for shoplifting,” he said in the 2017 HBO documentary “Mommy Dead and Dearest,” which also chronicles Gypsy and Dee Dee’s story. “She stole, I think $3,000 or $4,000 from my dad,” Claude continued.
When Dee Dee's mother, Emma died, her family alleged in that documentary that it triggered Dee Dee to go off “the deep end.”
However, the family also alleges that, just like in “The Act,” Dee Dee starved and abused her mother when she was dying and up until her death.
Kristy Blanchard, Gypsy’s stepmom, claimed, “Dee Dee was starving her. Dee Dee wasn't giving her anything to eat."
Laura also insisted that for Dee Dee “to leave her mother dirty and not feed her, that’s evil.”
As for Dee Dee, her family said they don’t care that she’s dead.
Both her own father and stepmom agreed that she “got what she deserved” when Gypsy’s boyfriend killed her, according to their commentary in the HBO documentary. Claude said that none of Dee Dee’s siblings cared that she died either and insisted that nobody wanted her ashes after she was cremated.
“I said, ‘Flush that in the toilet,’” he said in “Mommy Dead and Dearest.”
Of course, there are other reasons for the hatred, besides the abuse Dee Dee allegedly unleashed on her own mother and daughter.
In addition to the fact that she allegedly stole from them, they also claimed she possibly tried to kill her own stepmother with Roundup.
“She was putting some poison in my food,” Laura said in the HBO documentary. “Same thing she was putting in the plant.”
Claude said Laura nearly died after that incident.
Seeing as they claim to have experience with Dee Dee causing harm in their lives, the couple do not appear to blame Gypsy for what she did to her mother.
Godejohn was sentenced in February to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder. Gypsy, meanwhile, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 2016 for her role in orchestrating the attack.
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