Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the subject of Hulu‘s new true crime series The Act, is engaged. People confirmed the news on Friday after speaking with Blanchard family friend Fancy Macelli, who notes that 27-year-old Blanchard is “taking it slow,” but does have a fiance. Here’s what we could find out about this unlikely romance.
Currently, Blanchard is serving a 10-year sentence for the second-degree murder of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard. The case, which initially appeared to be a straightforward murder plot between Blanchard and then-boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn, was complicated by the revelation that Dee Dee had been inflicting severe physical and psychological abuse on her daughter. Blanchard is considered to be a victim of Munchausen by proxy, a form of abuse in which a caretaker “exaggerates or induces illness in a child for attention or sympathy.” Under Dee Dee’s control, Blanchard was forced to undergo unnecessary surgeries, use a feeding tube and wheelchair, and keep a shaved head to mimic the effects of chemotherapy. Dee Dee also lied to her daughter about her age, and claimed that Blanchard had “the mental age of a 7-year-old.”
Once her abuse was uncovered, Blanchard admitted she had asked Godejohn to kill her mother so she could escape. He was later convicted of first-degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
According to Macelli, Blanchard met her current fiance as a pen pal. After watching the HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest that tells the Blanchards’ story, her fiance felt compelled to write to her in prison. “He started writing her and then visited her,” Macelli explains. “They just grew to have a relationship.” Currently, they’re talking “at least” several times a week, both on the phone and when he visits her at Chillicothe Correctional Center in Missouri. Despite their engagement, Macelli insists that they’re “taking it slow.” “They don’t know exactly what they’re going to do when she gets out. It’s a long way down the road,” she admits. “So things can change.”
The couple have known one another for a year and a half, and he’s been in regular contact with Blanchard’s father and stepmother, who he plans to meet next month. Macelli says Blanchard’s family approves of the engagement, and that they’ve spoken to her fiance on the phone and through emails. And where Macelli says Blanchard’s relationship with Godejohn had been borne of “desperation,” her relationship with her now-fiancé is one of “mutual love and respect.”
“She’s 27 years old, she deserves to be in love and she deserves to have somebody who cares about her,” Macelli says, adding that “he’s just there for her.” It’s clear that Macelli is optimistic about the relationship, noting the “excitement in [Blanchard’s] voice,” and that it’s a “very positive and happy time.” Macelli emphasizes all the pain that Blanchard has already been through, noting that this is something “she wouldn’t have ever been able to do with her mom: be engaged.”
If you’re itching to know more details about Blanchard’s fiance — for example, his name — we don’t suggest holding your breath. Macelli explicitly says she won’t “release his name or anything like that,” since Blanchard prefers to keep him “private.” Given how many people are interested in the details of Blanchard’s life, we can hardly blame her.
For now, the couple is waiting to get married until Blanchard is released. Blanchard will be eligible for parole in 2024 (she’ll be 32 at that time), though her family is petitioning for relief. The “Free Gypsy Rose Blanchard” petition, started by Blanchard’s father Rod, says Blanchard has “suffered long enough,” and asks that she be awarded either a shorter sentence, or relocation to a mental facility “where she can get the better help she needs.” While it’s unclear how successful his petition has been, we’re glad that Blanchard now has supportive family members in her life, and hope this engagement is the start of a better chapter in her life.