EXCLUSIVE: Gypsy Rose Blanchard – ‘Prison Healed Me’

Gypsy chats to Grazia five months after her release

Gypsy Rose Blanchard Life After Lock Up

by Millie Payne |
Updated on

Gypsy Rose Blanchard has opened up about adapting to life outside of prison, eight years after pleading guilty to the second-degree murder of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard.

Louisiana-born Gypsy - who turns 33 next month - was released on parole from Chillicothe Correctional Centre in Missouri in December 2023, after serving seven and a half years of a decade-long sentence.

Now, as the parolee takes the helm of a new Crime+ Investigation series, Gypsy Rose: Life After Lock Up, she reveals to Grazia how she took prison as an ‘opportunity’.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard Life After Lock Up

‘I think [prison] made me more resilient,’ she tells Grazia. ‘It shaped me in the way that it healed me. I don't think you'll have a lot of people who say prison healed them, but it really did. I was able to get my education and I was able to build myself up in preparation for this freedom that I have now.’

Gypsy is a widely considered a victim of factitious disorder imposed on another, which is defined as ‘when someone falsely claims that another person has physical or psychological signs or symptoms of illness, or causes injury or disease in another person with the intention of deceiving others'.

When her daughter was growing up, Dee Dee Blanchard convinced everyone around them – including multiple doctors - that Gypsy had a myriad health issues, including leukaemia, asthma, vision and hearing impairment, muscular dystrophy, and epilepsy. To add to the pretence, Dee Dee forced Gypsy to use a wheelchair and oxygen tank that she didn’t require, with the ruse prompting outpourings of empathy and support – both emotional and financial - from their community. Gypsy has previously explained why she didn't confide in anyone about the extreme deception, saying, 'I couldn’t just jump out of the wheelchair because I was afraid and I didn’t know what my mother would do. I didn’t have anyone to trust.'

Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Dee Dee Blanchard
Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Dee Dee Blanchard ©Crime+ Investigation

Gypsy's story then took an unprecedented turn in June 2015 when she and her then-boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn conspired to murder Dee Dee. Nicholas stabbed Gypsy’s mother to death in her Missouri home while Gypsy hid in the bathroom, before the duo fled to his native state, Wisconsin. Four days later, Gypsy shared a Facebook status reading, ‘The b*tch is dead’, eventually leading police to find Dee Dee’s body and subsequently arrest the pair on murder charges.

In 2016, Gypsy was sentenced to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Meanwhile, Nicholas was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. In an interview from prison in 2019, he said of his crime, ‘I wanted to make sure [Gypsy’s] mum was not going to harm her anymore. I made sure of that.’

With the global interest in Gypsy’s story increasing tenfold on her release from prison, she tells us what she hopes viewers take away from watching her in Life After Lock Up.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard Life After Lock Up
Gypsy Rose Blanchard Life After Lock Up ©Crime+ Investigation

‘I understand that my story is well known, but I don't want to be forever known as the girl that dot dot dot… you can put the pieces together,’ she says. ‘I want viewers to take away who I am as just Gypsy. Where my story started, it was tragic and it was unfortunate. I made wrong choices - I'm not a perfect victim. I've made wrong choices. I own up to that and take accountability for that. I paid the price by going to prison.’

She continues, ‘But those choices are going to live with me for the rest of my life, and that's a daily struggle for me. It's having to build myself back up and say, “Okay, I understand that I made a wrong choice. That doesn't have to define everything that goes on in the future. I can make myself into a better person and grow from that and move forward.”’

Since Gypsy’s release from prison, many have commented how content and healthy she looks. Is she happy? ‘I am,’ she replies. ‘It took a while to get there, but I’m happy.’

Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Kristy Blanchard
Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Kristy Blanchard ©JC Olivera/WireImage

She adds, ‘I took prison as: “I want to better myself.” So coming out of prison, I felt like I had the building blocks already there. It was about putting them into action and getting to see that final project of, “Hey, I've been building my self-esteem up all the time. Now let's get my hair done, let's get my nose done, let's my nails done. This has definitely been a confidence booster, but on the flip side, I’m in therapy, so it’s like I’m healthy from the inside and out.’

In Gypsy’s words, Life After Lock Up allows viewers to be a ‘little fly on the wall in the room with [her] on a daily’.

The first episode puts the public frenzy around Gypsy’s story at the fore. Not even 24 hours after her release, she was followed by paparazzi and blasted over every corner of the internet.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard
Gypsy Rose Blanchard ©Raymond Hall/GC Images

She admits that it hasn’t been easy adapting to life on the outside, revealing, ‘I didn't expect to come out to this level of attention. I expected to fully fade into the background.’

While Gypsy no longer has an active social media presence after deleting her accounts in April, she thinks it’s the uniqueness of her life that has captured such intrigue.

She says, ‘There's not one trauma victim [who] is the same as another. I think with my story, you have crime, you have abuse, you have all layers of a life that is still being uncovered.’

The terms of Gypsy’s parole state she must live with family, so she’s currently residing with her father and stepmother as she navigates the ‘roadblocks to gaining independence’. She has also built up an ‘established relationship and communication’ with her parole officer, meaning she can request out-of-state visits at his discretion.

Meanwhile, the integration into her family has been ‘really good’ she says, explaining, ‘My dad, my stepmum and our friends have been rallying around me for so long now. I'm learning how to cook with my stepmum and my dad is teaching me how to play the guitar. The small family moments are so precious.

‘There are some family members that it's going to take a little bit more time and effort. They're still emotionally healing, especially on my mother's side of the family. But it's kind of like they want a relationship with me too, so it's about reconnection.’

Gypsy Rose Blanchard
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 05: Gypsy Rose Blanchard is seen in Midtown on January 05, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images) ©Gotham/GC Images

While independence is proving to be a challenge for Gypsy, she’s taking it day by day.

‘I always say, “Don't get ahead of yourself" but the hopes and the dreams for the future are just living a happy life. I can't go back in the past and recreate some of the things that I should have had with my family. Having the family time that I always should have had is that long-term dream and it's so simple… but it's something that for so long was just that - a dream to me. Now, it's a reality.’

Gypsy Rose: Life After Lock Up will premiere on Crime+Investigation and Crime+Investigation PLAY from Monday 10 June at 9pm.

Millie Payne is a News and Entertainment Writer for Grazia. She has specialised in showbiz interviews, features, articles and roundups for over three years and loves combining her love for writing, talking and all things popular culture.

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