Gypsy Rose Blanchard appeared to be an incredibly sick child and teen, which was just what her mother wanted.
In fact, her mother, Clauddine "Dee Dee" Blanchard, pretended Gypsy had leukemia, muscular dystrophy, and other ailments in a suspected case of Munchausen by proxy, keeping the girl wheelchair-bound, hairless, and essentially trapped. Dee Dee was never diagnosed because 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 Gypsy and Godejohn are currently in prison for the murder.
The first season of Hulu's “The Act,” a true-crime anthology series, is based on the events leading up to Dee Dee's killing and depicts many of the “ailments” that the real-life Dee Dee inflicted on her daughter. So which forced procedures and made-up diseases shown in "The Act" did Dee Dee actually enforce upon Gypsy in reality?
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The Feeding Tube
One of the more dramatic, and painful to watch, procedures that Gypsy undergoes in "The Act" is getting a feeding tube inserted. A feeding tube is a medical device which is used to provide nutrition to people who are unable to consume food by mouth. In the show, Gypsy had a feeding tube inserted into her stomach.
In real life, Gypsy did actually have a feeding tube inserted into her body, according to Michelle's Dean's article for BuzzFeed News, which served as the basis for "The Act."
On the show, Gypsy's characters teeth rot, and she's forced to have them all removed. In real life, Gypsy’s teeth also rotted and were removed, according to Rolling Stone, although it’s not clear exactly why.
Rolling Stone theorized that it could be anything from the result of unnecessary prescription medications or just a lack of dental hygiene. It was also speculated it was due to the medication Gypsy was prescribed due to her alleged epilepsy or because Gypsy’s salivary glands were removed (again at the request of her mother, who Gypsy alleges numbed her gums so Gypsy would drool, convincing doctors to remove them), says Dean.
Gypsy was put on a lot of medication. As for how much, “no one really knows the answer to that question,” Dean told Oxygen.com. “The only person who could answer that question is dead and she probably wouldn't have answered that question truthfully.”
In addition to the feeding tube being installed and a surgery to have her salivary glands removed, Gypsy underwent several other surgeries, according to Dean. Although she said she couldn’t specify what the surgeries were, she said there were “quite a few surgical procedures where Gypsy had to undergo anesthesia.”
On both the show and real life, Gypsy's mother shaved her head leaving her completely bald. "Well, she’d shave my hair off. And she’d say, ‘It’s gonna fall out anyway, so let’s keep it nice and neat!’" Gypsy explained, according to Dean.
Just like in the show, Gypsy was forced to use a wheelchair. Her mother helped her fake that she was paralyzed from the waist down, Gypsy said on an episode of “Dr. Phil.”
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