Content note: this story includes references to sexual assault, violence, child abuse, and murder.
Hulu is bringing to life the most bonkers crime story in recent memory, reported Deadline. It's called The Act, and it is an anthology season-based series; in other words, each season presents a new story. For their debut, they're tackling the Gypsy Rose case from Buzzfeed's viral 2016 article (and a subsequent HBO documentary called Mommy Dead and Dearest) and turning this insane story into a live-action show. If you've heard of the Dee Dee Blanchard murder, you are likely screaming at this news. If you haven't heard of this story — well, sit the fuck down and grab a can of La Croix. This story is so off-the-wall, it seems like it can't possibly be real but, oh my god, it is entirely true.
Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her single mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, seemed the perfect family. Gypsy appeared to suffer from various maladies, including muscular dystrophy, leukemia, sleep apnea, and used a wheelchair for mobility. She also appeared to have intellectual disabilities and used a feeding tube. But although Gypsy was ill, her mother dutifully took her to a myriad of doctors; Dee Dee also arranged various Make A Wish programs for her daughter, including an all-expense paid trip to Disneyland and a free home built by Habitat for Humanity. The two regularly kept everyone updated about Gypsy's many medical conditions on their social media, where they posted smiling photos together. Gypsy always looked like a young child, and would often don a Cinderella-type wig and dress up as a princess.
Then, Dee Dee turns up stabbed to death in their home. Gypsy has briefly gone missing, but later reappears in court, very much walking normally and not needing a wheelchair. Soon, everything comes to light, and the story takes a turn for the unbelievable.
Gypsy is in almost perfect health. She was also in her early twenties — Dee Dee had forged birth certificates and dressed Gyspy to appear much younger than she actually was. For most of her life, Dee Dee had convinced the entire world that Gypsy was a very sick child: Dee Dee had Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, a mental illness that causes a caregiver to feign or induce illness in another person. The end goal is almost always a need for attention, which Dee Dee received in spades: tons of followers on social media, freebies from companies, coverage on local news. And it was all a lie.
Dee Dee sheltered Gypsy to the point of abuse. Gypsy was not allowed to have friends or date, and when she tried to escape the home, Dee Dee chained to her bed. She knew that she was healthy, but felt trapped by a lifetime of abuse and medically unnecessary surgeries and a cocktail of forced medications — many of which caused side effects that mimicked symptoms of the illness that Dee Dee told the public Gypsy was suffering from.
The story gets stranger from there. Gypsy, well past her teen years, wanted to date. Since her mother would not allow her to leave the house, she began secretly dating someone she met online. His name is Nicholas Godejohn, who was once arrested for masturbating in a McDonald's.
Godejohn also introduced the concept of BDSM into his relationship with Gypsy. There was a Daddy Dom/little girl element to their relationship, with elaborate costumes and personas, played out through a series of Facebook profiles. Gypsy explained her plight to him, and the two conspired to murder Dee Dee.
After Godejohn stabbed Dee Dee to death, he told police that he considered raping her corpse, but Gypsy urged him not to; he ended up raping Gypsy instead. The pair then escaped the scene and checked into a series of motels using a credit card, which allowed police to easily discover their whereabouts.
Gypsy pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors felt that, given her history of abuse and that she didn't actually commit the murder, some leniency was deserved. Godejohn's trial is set for later in 2018.
Are you still alive after reading that? We know, it's such an incredible story. There is so, so much more to this case, and we encourage you to the read the initial Buzzfeed story and watch Mommy Dead and Dearest. Then, when the live-action Hulu series drops, we can all scream at the television together. Sometimes life really is stranger than fiction.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.