If you stay updated on bizarre and heartbreaking true crime stories, you've probably heard about the complicated mother-daughter pair of Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard. As seen in the HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, Gypsy claimed that her mother forced her to pretend she was terminally ill for the majority of her life and that Dee abused her behind closed doors. Gypsy Rose and her boyfriend subsequently plotted to kill Dee Dee, and her murder has now inspired a new Hulu series that promise to follow just how complex this story became. The Act teaser will set your obsession with this intense case aflame, so here's what you should know before the show's March 20 premiere.
Debuting on Hulu as a new anthology series, The Act's first season follows Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee and Joey King as Gypsy Rose, who pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of her mother in 2016. Those familiar with just the bare minimum about the Blanchards can easily follow along with Hulu's first teaser. In the clips, Dee Dee is vocal about her ill daughter being the light of her life, emphasizing to her, "You protect me and I protect you." Gypsy Rose is seen hooked to feeding tubes and sitting in a wheelchair, revealing that her mother is her best friend.
The pair's sunny hospital visits soon enter a new extreme when the camera focuses on Dee Dee's intensity and Gypsy's increasingly upset expressions. At one point, Dee Dee even ties her daughter to her bedpost, leading into the teaser's ominous closing. Dressed in a prison jumpsuit and standing in a courtroom, Gypsy looks visibly shaken as an off-screen voice asks if she killed her mother.
So, how does Gypsy Rose end up in that courtroom? The IRL story is a whirlwind.
The Blanchards first caught the public's attention when they moved from New Orleans to Missouri in 2005 and became local celebrities for their openness about Gypsy Rose's medical conditions. According to All That's Interesting, Dee Dee was convinced that her young child was suffering from seizures, muscular dystrophy, and a chromosomal disorder. ABC reported that Gypsy supposedly had leukemia as a girl, while she was also confined to a wheelchair throughout her childhood. Dee Dee also claimed that Gypsy had the mental capacity of a 7-year-old.
Dee Dee's public partnerships with organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Habitat for Humanity attracted doctors' interest in helping Gypsy. But when one doctor's tests proved Gypsy was healthy, he reached out to New Orleans doctors and discovered that their own studies of Gypsy matched his. Medical professionals catching on to Dee Dee's questionable validity definitely couldn't predict what would eventually happen next.
In June 2015, Dee Dee was found stabbed to death in her home. Less than two days later, Gypsy Rose, then 23, and her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, were arrested for her murder. In 2016, Gypsy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and as of 2018, she's serving a 10-year prison sentence. In 2018, Godejohn was found guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action, following Gypsy's claims that she "talked him into" killing Dee Dee. Since Dee Dee's death, experts have singled out Gypsy Rose as a victim of Munchausen by proxy, meaning that a person feigns someone else's illness or disability in order to earn sympathy. I'm definitely ready for this psychological dive into the Blanchards' fictional counterparts.
The Hulu teaser for The Act may be brief, but it definitely promises a story just as twisty as its real-life facts. "The story is so messed up and there are so many layers, and it's so, so heavy," King told Teen Vogue earlier this month. "It's nitty-gritty; it's really disturbing. And it's uncomfortable because the story is really uncomfortable. What happened is so uncomfortable."
The first season of The Act premieres on Hulu on Wednesday, March 20.