Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2016 to the second-degree murder of her mother, is single once again after breaking her engagement to her fiancé, Ken. Gypsy, now 28, began her prison sentence in 2016. After a few short months, met a man named Ken through the prison’s pen pal system. Some people have all the luck!! After several months of writing back and forth, Ken and Gypsy met in real life, along with her father and step-mother (at least she didn’t have to stress over what to wear). The two quietly became engaged soon after the visit and began focusing on what their lives together would look like after Gypsy’s release.
But it looks like all good things must come to an end. According to an insider interview with E! News, Gypsy and Ken parted ways but are seemingly being more mature about it than most would be. “Both Gypsy and Ken are brokenhearted over the situation and still have nothing but love for each other,” says an E! News insider. I don’t want to judge, but it must be relatively easy to maintain an amicable breakup when you know you’re not going to bump into your ex at happy hour or while buying cheese puffs at Target. The insider continued that the former lovebirds both want to take some time to focus on themselves, which for Gypsy shouldn’t be an issue until about 2026.
Gypsy rose to notoriety when the very bizarre details of her case came to light. In 2015, she convinced a man she met online, Nicolas Godejohn, to murder her mother after facing years of abuse. Their story became widely known thanks to the 2017 HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, as well as the 2019 Emmy-nominated Hulu show The Act, starring Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee and Joey King as Gypsy Rose.
Gypsy’s story garnered sympathy because Dee Dee, who suffered from Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (a mental disorder that makes one crave attention and sympathy by being a caretaker), raised Gypsy in a constant state of illness. To the outside world, Gypsy appeared constantly sick. Dee Dee even lived in a home with a wheelchair ramp, shaved Gypsy’s head, lied about Gypsy’s age, and distanced her from any medical professional who questioned her symptoms. After her mother’s murder, Gypsy took to their shared Facebook account posting several disturbing statements, one of which being “That bitch is dead!” She later explained she’d posted the messages in an attempt for someone to find her mother’s body. Gypsy expressed remorse for the killing and ultimately only faced 10 years in prison due to the extreme conditions in which she was raised, and the belief that her only way out of the volatile situation was through murder. Meanwhile, Godejohn was sentenced to life in prison.
Hopefully by the time Gypsy is released, The Bachelor will still be going strong. Reality TV loves someone with a rocky past!
UPDATE: The same day as calling off her engagement with fiancé Ken, Gypsy’s stepmother, Kristy Blanchard, contacted InTouch to announce that the pending nuptials are back on! “They’re taking things slow and want to keep their relationship as private as possible,” Kristy told InTouch, putting in no effort whatsoever to keep their relationship private.
Idk how you maintain an on-again/off-again relationship when your only sources of communications are letters and once-a-day, 90-second phone calls but hey, Tim Robbins tunneled his way through a 20-foot-thick concrete wall with a f*cking baby hammer, so wish it, will it!
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Hulu’s The Act.
As the finale nears, I’ve been reflecting on Hulu’s The Act—a masterpiece of true crime television, in my opinion, with one nagging issue. As a fictionalized version of events, The Act can and does take liberties with the truth. Some portrayals are adjusted in a flattering way; others are not. We also know that The Act chose not to consult Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who is currently in prison, or her family. As The Act season continues, and the show seems to increasingly turn on its lead character, I have to wonder: how much should a fictionalized show be able to editorialize before it becomes unethical? Was The Act fair to Gypsy Rose?
According to Gypsy’s family, the answer is a resounding no. In a Vulture interview earlier this month, Gypsy’s stepmother Kristy Blanchard spoke out against The Act‘s depiction of Gypsy, her friends, and the mother-daughter dynamic. “Untruthful tellings don’t help,” she said. “It doesn’t help time in prison and it doesn’t help her family.” She cites an early shoplifting scene as an example, in which she says “Gypsy being portrayed as the one who tried to encourage the mom to steal something for her…that came from Dee Dee.” Dee Dee was a “fraudulent individual,” Kristy reminds us. Gypsy, on the other hand, was “an unwilling participant” who was “scared to death of her mom.”
I remember that scene, but I hadn’t read it as harshly as Kristy Blanchard feared people would. In that scene, I read Gypsy’s actions as the symptoms of having grown up in a f*cked-up environment—I didn’t judge her or make assumptions about her character. In later scenes, that I’m hoping Kristy never sees, I can’t say this same. When Gypsy coaches boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn through shoplifting schemes, she’s definitely the one in control. She’s also the one in control when she wakes Nicolas up to mock him for the list of reminders he carries in his pocket (“open doors for her”). Or when she berates him in their motel room: “what do you know?” she demands, dripping with contempt.
In many scenes since Dee Dee’s murder, in fact, Gypsy has been depicted as cold, manipulative, and cruel. They indicate the extreme stress she was under, and the physical and emotional toll it was taking, but that doesn’t undo the damage of seeing how she treats Godejohn during this time. The Act, for me, has taken a turn, and is now depicting Gypsy as the mastermind behind her mother’s murder—and Godejohn as her hapless victim.
Thanks in no small part to Juliette Lewis’ performance as Godejohn’s devastated mother, The Act has given Gypsy’s boyfriend a kinder take than others. Godejohn is currently serving a life sentence with no parole for first-degree murder, but The Act shows him as gentle, inept, and completely at Gypsy’s mercy. (Earlier in the season, their relationship had felt more nuanced—it’s only in recent episodes that I feel the power has really shifted to Gypsy.) These scenes where Gypsy acts out toward Nicholas are a powerful reminder of the rage her childhood of abuse has left with her. But they also undeniably paint Gypsy as the more murderous of the two, and not-so-subtly imply that she’s the real villain of this duo. Gypsy is due for release in 2026—is The Act suggesting that she shouldn’t be?
When asked her feelings about The Act, Gypsy kept her objections fairly neutral: she doesn’t like that the show “used actual name and story without consent, and the life rights to do so.” Fair enough. But here’s my question: if she ever does watch the show, and feels strongly that her character was misrepresented, are we okay with that? The Act is taking the most license with her character in the moments we know the least about—the days following the murder. No one in the world but Gypsy and Nicholas can attest to what their relationship was like in those crucial days: and The Act, without consulting either, has made a strong choice about how things unfolded.
In the end, it’s a take with damning consequences for Gypsy, whose story is ostensibly the one that’s being told. Call me old-fashioned, but I think you should make a real effort to get your subjects right when adapting true crime into television, and I’m not sure that was ever The Act’s goal. Especially if those subjects are still alive and very much facing the consequences of shifts in public opinion. I can appreciate, from a storytelling perspective, that the angle they’ve chosen is compelling. But if it’s not in fact what happened, and they’ve explicitly fictionalized events to make Gypsy look like the bad guy? Well, that sounds like a lawsuit to me. Gypsy’s already threatened legal action, and after seeing the way this season has gone, I can’t say I blame her.
Images: @theactonhulu (2) / Instagram