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Fact Checking 'The Act,' Ep. 3: What's Real/Fake for Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard?

By Kate Hudson | TV | March 29, 2019 |

By Kate Hudson | TV | March 29, 2019 |


Hulu’s The Act released its third episode this week, and as always, I’m here to break it down for you: What was true to life for Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard, and what was fiction? (The fact check for the first two episodes is here.)

Let’s get to it:

Did Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee attend sci-fi conventions?

Yes, Gypsy Rose, in particular, enjoyed them because they were an opportunity to dress up and blend in with the crowd.

Did Gypsy Rose have an older boyfriend named Scott that she ran away with?

Gypsy ran away in 2011 to be with an unnamed 35-year-old man she met at a sci-fi convention (so, maybe his name was Scott but probably not) per Buzzfeed:

When did she realize her life was different, that there was something wrong? “Whenever I was 19,” she said. She meant the time when she ran away with the man at the convention in 2011. When her mother came to take her back, she began to wonder why she wasn’t allowed to be alone, to have friends.

Will Scott play a larger role in the series?

Doubtful. The man Scott is based on did not play a role in the murder of Dee Dee.

Did Gypsy walk through the hospital she regularly went to in order to be with her boyfriend?

Oh my god, no. There is nothing online to support the theory that Gypsy Rose ever walked in public, let alone put on a wig and walked into a place where she would be easily recognized. It was speculated (and alleged by Gypsy Rose) in the HBO doc Mommy Dead and Dearest that Dee Dee used physical abuse to bend Gypsy to her will. It’s highly doubtful that she would have risked that beating to walk into a place where she was well known.

Keep in mind, in real life, her own father didn’t know she could walk! (More on him, and that, below.)

Did Gypsy Rose learn how to kiss from YouTube?

That’s unclear. But her neighbor, Aleah Woodmansee, on whom the character of Lacey (AnnaSophia Robb) is loosely based, reported via ABC News, that:

“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?’” Woodmansee said. “Gypsy just wanted to be a regular teen.”

Did Dee Dee lie to Gypsy about her age?

Yes. Gypsy Rose had no idea what her true age was for a long time. When her father called her on her 18th birthday, he was instructed by Dee Dee to not mention her age because it would confuse Gypsy. Dee Dee claimed that Gypsy thought she was 14.

Was Dee Dee a Pageant Queen like she said?

Yes. Footage of her competing appeared in the HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest.


Who was Shelley, the friend/neighbor the Blanchard women met at the sci-fi convention?

Shelley is most likely based on neighbor Kim Blanchard (no relation to Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee) who would go to the same fantasy conventions as the mother/daughter duo and lived close by.

Did Gypsy Rose have a red wig?

Yes. She had one, but there’s no indication it was given to her by the man she ran away with in 2011.


Were Dee Dee and Rod (her husband) “kids” when they married, like she said in The Act?

Um, only if you classify a 24-year-old woman who gets impregnated by a 17-year old boy a kid and not a predator.

Why did Dee Dee and Rod Break up?

Rod realized that he didn’t love Dee Dee and left her.

According to Inside Edition:

But it wasn’t long before Rod Blanchard realized he had made a mistake. “I woke up on my birthday, on my 18th birthday, and realized I wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” he said. “I wasn’t in love with her, really. I knew I got married for the wrong reasons.” He and Dee Dee separated and though she tried on more than one occasion to get back together with him, the pair ultimately broke up.

Did Rod make Dee Dee choose between him and Gypsy Rose, like Dee Dee said in The Act?

No. He was actively involved in Gypsy Rose’s life up until 2004. He was as fooled by Dee Dee’s claim of Gypsy’s health as anyone. Per Buzzfeed:

The first time Rod saw his daughter walk was in a news report on Gypsy’s arraignment hearing in Wisconsin.

Keep in mind that Dee Dee was extremely abusive toward Gypsy Rose and lied to her about her health constantly. It’s not a stretch to imagine she told some lies to her about her father. However, Rod had a relationship with Gypsy Rose and spoke to her on the phone occasionally, so Gypsy Rose was aware of him, and he played some role in her life. His complete absence (sans the brief shot of the child support payment he sent Dee Dee in episode 1) is a narrative choice on The Act’s part and not a reflection of the real situation.

Did Dee Dee meet a man she was friendly with at the convention, too?

I’ve scoured online and can find no record of a man in Dee Dee’s life after Rod. This is unclear, but doubtful.

Did Gypsy go by ‘Emma Rose’ on her private Facebook account?

Yes. Her most frequent alias names were “Emma Rose” and “Devona Wolf,” according to a copy of the police warrants the Springfield News Leader reported on, although she is alleged to have had more.

I can’t believe this bats*it show is based on a true story. What’s going to happen next?!

Nothing good, friend.

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Kate is a staff contributor. You can follow her on Twitter.

Image sources (in order of posting): Hulu/YouTube, HBO/YouTube, HBO/YouTube