|REEL FACE:||REAL FACE:|
Born: July 30, 1999
Los Angeles, California, USA
Gypsy Rose Blanchard
Born: July 27, 1991
Birthplace: Golden Meadow, Louisiana, USA
Born: April 8, 1968
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Clauddine 'Dee Dee' Blanchard
Born: May 3, 1967
Birthplace: Chackbay, Louisiana, USA
Death: June 10, 2015, Springfield, Missouri, USA (stabbed)
Born: January 28, 1991
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Born: abt 1989
Born: December 8, 1993
Denver, Colorado, USA
Birthplace: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Renamed Lacey in the series
Born: July 18, 1951
Jacksonville, Texas, USA
Born: March 15, 1938
Birthplace: Golden Meadow, Louisiana, USA
Death: June 9, 1997, Golden Meadow, Louisiana, USA
Born: abt 1974
Actress Joey King, who portrays Gypsy, studied her unique voice and says that it was a crucial part of getting into character for the role. Mistakenly, many viewers have assumed that it's Joey King's real voice, but it isn't. "It's just doing your research — watching videos, listening to her speak, and just really trying to get it in my brain as much as possible," the actress told Vulture in March 2019, adding that at first the studio assumed she would use her own voice instead of trying to match Gypsy's. "I'm very happy that I was able to do her voice and become her more completely."
The Act true story reveals that Gypsy Rose Blanchard's voice was indeed that high pitched, especially while she was under her mother's care. You can hear her squeaky voice in this interview from 2008 when she was almost 17. Speech experts have weighed in on why her voice was so high pitched, with some reasoning that she was doing it almost unconsciously in response to being infantilized by her mother, Dee Dee, who had convinced her that she was years younger than she was.
Yes. According to the BuzzFeed article on which The Act was based, Dee Dee began obsessing over Gypsy's fake medical problems when Gypsy was only three months old, claiming that she had sleep apnea. As she grew, Dee Dee's list of her daughter's medical issues seemed to never end. She claimed that Gypsy had epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, leukemia, cancer, asthma, eye problems, hearing problems, and chromosomal defects, among other things, none of which were true (aside from an occasional lazy eye). Dee Dee would often switch doctors to create a confusing medical trail. It also helped that Dee Dee had once worked as a nurse's aide. She knew enough medical terminology to convince people she was well-informed regarding Gypsy's ailments. It is believed that Dee Dee was suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a caregiver (usually a parent) applies an imaginary illness or injury to a person under his or her care.
When Gypsy became a teenager, her mother told family and friends that she had the mind of a 7-year-old. To make sure Gypsy stayed under her control, Dee Dee home-schooled her, kept a watchful eye on her Internet usage, and stayed with her at all times. During interviews, Dee Dee can often be seen clutching Gypsy's hand, and it is believed that she would squeeze her daughter's hand in order to let her know if she was answering a question correctly.
AnnaSophia Robb's character in The Act is based on Gypsy's friend Aleah Woodmansee. Despite Aleah's name being changed for the series (likely for legal reasons), it seems that her friendship with Gypsy is depicted rather accurately. They were neighbors and would spend time discussing various things, including boys. "She would show interest in like different boys and try to ask me advice on like, you know, how do you approach them? How do you like, kiss a boy?" says Aleah. As seen in the Hulu series, Dee Dee didn't like the boy talk. "My daughter has the mentality of a child," Aleah recalls Dee Dee telling her. "You're talking to her about teenage girl things."
On the show, Lacey's mom Mel (Chloë Sevigny) is a fictionalized version of Aleah's mother, Amy Pinegar.
It's true that Aleah Woodmansee was the only one who knew that Gypsy Rose Blanchard had a secret Facebook account. Gypsy used her Facebook alias "Emma Rose" to message boys.
Yes, but only loosely. Michelle Dean's BuzzFeed article that was the basis for The Act TV show mentions a real-life 35-year-old man that Gypsy met at the Visioncon sci-fi convention in 2011. However, their relationship didn't evolve gradually via texts over time. Instead, Gypsy tried to escape the convention with him that day, making it as far as his hotel room. Dee Dee learned where they were from people who had seen them, and she arrived soon after with counterfeit papers that claimed Gypsy was a minor (in reality, Gypsy was 19 at the time).
The show gives the man the name Scott and stretches out Gypsy's crush on him as they exchange texts. It culminates with her running away to be with him when he's hospitalized. Dee Dee arrives at his home the same night with the counterfeit papers that state Gypsy is a minor. The real-life incident purportedly infuriated Dee Dee so much that she used a hammer to smash the family computer.
Yes. Fact-checking The Act revealed this to be true. Gypsy claimed that Dee Dee tied her to the bed for two weeks after she tried to run away. The difference from the TV show is that it only happened once in real life (after running away to be with the guy she met at the sci-fi convention). Gypsy said that she was starved and terrified. Some of that terror is absent from the show and she instead acts more submissive than frightened. The real Gypsy called it one of the worst experiences of her life.
"She physically chained me to the bed, and put bells on the doors, and told anybody that I probably would have trusted that I was going through a phase," Gypsy said during a 20/20 interview.
No, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that this happened. In The Act, Gypsy's mom Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette) meets a middle-aged man (Dean Norris) at a sci-fi convention and he takes an interest in her. They get to know each other through phone calls, and the man ends up suggesting to Dee Dee that she's too heavily involved in caring for Gypsy. In reality, the only widely reported relationship that Dee Dee had was with Gypsy's father, Rod Blanchard.
Rod and Dee Dee met when Rod was still in high school. She became pregnant during their first year of dating, when he was 17 and she 24, and they decided to get married. "I woke up on my 18th birthday and realized I wasn't where I was supposed to be," Rod told Michelle Dean, author of the BuzzFeed article on which The Act is based. "I wasn't in love with her, really. I knew I got married for the wrong reasons."
Yes. Her teeth began to rot and fall out as a side effect of Tegretol, a medication she was being given for epilepsy (which she didn't have).
Yes. The real Nick Godejohn, who is reportedly on the autism spectrum, did claim to have multiple personalities. This included a good side (Nick) and a bad side (a vampire named Victor). Actor Calum Worthy attempted to embody Nick by repeatedly watching the few available videos of him. He practiced Nick's mannerisms and even mimicked his diet of mostly pizza and peanut butter.
Yes, In the Hulu series, we see a female doctor trying to chase down Gypsy's medical records after she becomes suspicious of Dee Dee's claims. The true story behind The Act reveals that a male doctor, pediatric neurologist Bernardo Flasterstein, did become suspicious and began to doubt the number of ailments that Dee Dee claimed were affecting Gypsy. In his file, he noted his concern regarding the possibility of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, but he didn't report it. In 2007, he informed Dee Dee about his doubts with regard to Gypsy's illnesses. It wasn't long before Dee Dee switched doctors.
No, at least not according to the Blanchard family. They claim that Nick was much more domineering and controlling of her in real life. They said that the Hulu TV show's portrayal of Nick as a mentally challenged young man who means well is false. The Blanchards claim that in real life Nick was significantly more in control of things, including Dee Dee's murder.
According to the documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, it was Nick's original intention to sexually assault Dee Dee as well as murder her. To stop Nick from raping her mother, Gypsy said that she made a deal with him that he could rape her instead. She claimed that he followed through on the deal after the murder, despite pleading with him (as Victor) to stop.
Yes. Their sexual encounter in the movie theater bathroom in the series did happen in real life. As described in the documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, their meet-up at the movie theater in 2015 to watch Cinderella unfolded much like it does on the Hulu TV show. Nick came to the theater alone and Dee Dee was disturbed by him trying to get close to Gypsy, who was dressed in her Cinderella costume. One difference from the show is that in real life Nick wore a Prince Charming costume, which probably freaked out Dee Dee even more. They are pictured below at the movie theater.
Yes. The Act fact check confirms that here the Hulu show is mostly in line with the true story. "She got jealous, because I was spending a little too much attention on him," Gypsy later stated on ABC News, "and she had ordered me to stay away from him. And needless to say, that was a very long argument that lasted a couple weeks. Yelling, throwing things, calling me names: bitch, slut, whore." Not long after the fight is when Gypsy began thinking about murdering her mother. "It was not because I hated her," she said. "It was because I wanted to escape her."
Yes. As we studied The Act's historical accuracy, we discovered that this is exactly what happened in real life. They traced the IP address of the two shocking Facebook posts that showed up in Dee Dee and Gypsy's joint account. The IP address led them to a home located 600 miles away from Springfield, Missouri in Big Bend, Wisconsin. It was the home of Nick Godejohn, Gypsy's boyfriend.
This is what Dee Dee's family believes and it's conveyed in The Act when we see Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette) withholding food from her mother, Emma, before she dies. "To leave your mama dirty and asking for food, and [not] feed her, that's evil," Laura, Dee Dee’s stepmother, says in the HBO Gypsy Rose Blanchard documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest.
After Dee Dee and Rod Blanchard divorced, Dee Dee and Gypsy went to live with Dee Dee's father Claude and her stepmother Laura. In the documentary, Laura says that Dee Dee tried to poison her by slipping weed killer into her food. Laura ended up bedridden for nine months. Dee Dee was confronted at a family get-together for her control over Gypsy and Laura's illness. They kicked Dee Dee out and she moved to Slidell, after which Laura made a complete recovery.
Yes. In the HBO Gypsy Rose Blanchard documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, Gypsy said that these were in fact her mother's last words to her. In the Hulu series, Dee Dee says this to Gypsy as Gypsy is saying goodnight to her, just before she lets Nick into the house to commit the murder, which in real life happened at approximately 3 am on June 10, 2015. It's true that Gypsy provided the knife, which she had stolen from Walmart. She left rubber gloves for Nick outside the front door. She stayed in the bathroom and covered her ears while Nick stabbed her mother in her mother's bedroom. The real Nick Godejohn said that Dee Dee screamed for Gypsy three times, but she never came.
"I heard her scream once, and there was more screaming, but not like the kind in a horror film," Gypsy told 20/20, "just like a startled scream, and she called out my name, about three or four times, and at that point, I wanted to go help her so bad, but I was so afraid to get up, because my body wouldn't move, and then everything just went quiet."
Yes. In researching The Act true story, we verified that like in the Hulu series, Gypsy and Nick mailed the murder weapon to Nick's house. During Nick Godejohn's interrogation, he said that Gypsy had the mailing envelope ready for the knife. Gypsy addressed the envelope, and when it arrived at Nick's house, they hid it in his closet in his bedroom.
For the most part, the situation with Gypsy's father, Rod Blanchard, seems to line up with what's seen in The Act. Dee Dee and Rod divorced before Gypsy was born. Gypsy was led to believe her dad was a deadbeat who had abandoned her. Dee Dee even told friends and doctors that Rod was a drug addict who didn't want anything to do with them. However, like on the show, most of this appears to have been untrue. During his occasional visits with Gypsy, Dee Dee always stayed in the room. He had remained a part of Gypsy's life until she was around 10-years-old, but it became more difficult to see Gypsy after Dee Dee moved away with her. She always made an excuse as to why he couldn't visit. He continued to send child support payments.
"She was always scared that I would get close to Gypsy. It bothered me. But I was always hoping that Gypsy would get old enough that one day we could bond," he explained to Fox News. "It got hard, it really did. But I didn't want to push it too far. Dee Dee had full custody and could cut me off completely from any kind of relationship we already had. There was a fine line I had to walk with her."
Gypsy was convicted of second-degree murder and is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for her involvement in her mother Dee Dee's death. She will become eligible for parole after serving 85% of her sentence, or eight-and-a-half years. As for Gypsy's boyfriend, Nick Godejohn, he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
The show hints at the fact that Nick had been arrested in the past, which he brushes off as a misunderstanding. Fact-checking The Act uncovered that the real Nick Godejohn was arrested in 2013 for watching pornography on his laptop inside a McDonald's for nearly nine hours, during which time he was seen with his hand down his pants masturbating. Nick claimed that he was just scratching himself.
"No, I was not able to get in contact with her," Joey King said in a Build Series interview. In a separate interview with the Today show, the actress elaborated, "Legally, I wasn't allowed to. I don't even understand all the reasons." Instead, the actress turned to Michelle Dean, who wrote the Buzzfeed article about Gypsy and had been in contact with her. Dean was also a producer and writer on The Act Hulu series.
Of Gypsy, actress Joey King said, "If she sees it one day, I think it'll be really, really hard for her to watch. I think it'll be hard for them to watch other people play them, number one, and also this is like reliving your truth, and so I can't even imagine what that would be like if they saw it."
Yes. The real-life little pink house that was built for Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard by Habitat For Humanity still exists. It's located in Springfield, Missouri. Since the release of the Hulu TV show, neighbors have become frustrated with all the tourists driving by, many stopping outside of the house and even peering through the windows. As of 2019, the house in which Dee Dee Blanchard was murdered remains empty. The pink house seen in The Act TV series is a copy that was built in Rincon, Georgia where the series was filmed.
No. Corresponding via email, the real Gypsy told the women's magazine Bustle:
"I am unable to watch The Act. However, I feel it is very unfair and unprofessional that producers and co-producer Michelle Dean has used my actual name and story without my consent, and the life rights to do so. Therefore, there will be legal action taken against the show's creators. I want to share my story and bring awareness about Munchausen by proxy, in the hopes that I can encourage those who might be experiencing abuse to speak up, because someone WILL listen. No child should ever be abused especially from their parent."
Kristy Blanchard, Gypsy's stepmother, said The Act's writer and co-producer, Michelle Dean, cut off all contact with the family while the series was being made. The family also claims that they were promised some of the profits from the series, which never happened. This explains why actress Joey King was never allowed to meet the real Gypsy.
Broaden your knowledge of the true story behind The Act by watching videos of the real Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Nicholas Godejohn describing the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard.