Fact Checking 'The Act' Ep 5: Dee Dee Blanchard's Illness and Gypsy Rose's Virginity
We’re more than half-way through Hulu’s episode run of The Act. While the series is based on the real-life events surrounding Dee Dee Blanchard’s murder, it has taken some liberties with what really happened. We’re here to break it down for you and separate fact from fiction.
(Also, see the fact-checking for episodes 1-2, episode 3, episode 4, and what what the Real Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard (and Others) Look Like)
First, we’re going to address the burning question you’re probably wondering:
Did Gypsy Rose and Nicholas Really Have Sex in a Movie Theater Bathroom?
Yes. This really happened, down to the movie they were both there to see, the live-action Cinderella. Gypsy Rose recounted losing her virginity in the HBO doc Mommy Dead and Dearest.
Was Dee Dee Confrontational to Nicholas at the Movie Theater?
No, their confrontation didn’t happen, although she was suspicious of Nicholas once he tried to get Gypsy Rose to sit next to him in the theater. Dee Dee apparently thought he was weird (per HBO doc) because he was an adult man going to Cinderella alone. In fact, according to a family friend, Dee Dee engaged in light banter with Nicholas while in line to buy tickets, suggesting he go to the Bass Pro shop while he was in town.
Did the Phone Call Between Dee Dee and Nicholas Happen?
Per Fancy Macelli, a family friend of the Blanchards:
If that had happened, I can honestly say I’m not sure we’d even be sitting here talking,” said Fancy. “Dee would have been way too suspicious and locked it all down. She might have really unraveled.”
Did Dee Dee Tie Up Gypsy Rose After Going to the Movie?
No. Dee Dee only tied up Gypsy Rose once, when she ran away to meet a 35-year old man whom she met at a convention.
Though Dee Dee had physically restrained Gypsy on her bed, it only happened once after she tried to run away. Though Dee Dee did use physical strength and intimidation to control Gypsy, she wasn’t frequently tied up as a punishment. “Gypsy describes [the time her mom restrained her] as one of the scariest moments of her life,” said Fancy. “She was chained for a long time and starved, only eating at her mother’s mercy. She was dragged to that bed and violently tied up according to her.”
Did Nicholas and Gypsy Role Play Over Video Chat?
Yes, the HBO doc covers this pretty extensively, too. Before their first real-life meeting at the movie theater, Gypsy Rose and Nicholas talked over video chat, frequently engaging in role-playing with sexual overtones. Nicholas, while self-diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (in reality, his only official diagnosis is Aspberger’s syndrome ) would role play his different personalities, and Gypsy Rose would create a complementary personality to match.
So Ruby (Gypsy Rose’s Alter-ego) and Victor (Nicholas’s Alter-ego) are Real?
Per the source, Victor was a 500-year old vampire.
Did Dee Dee’s Health Decline Drastically?
No, not really. Dee Dee’s physical health was in decline toward the end of her life (she was believed to have diabetes, which the show covers) but not nearly as drastically as they’ve portrayed in The Act, and her mental faculties were reportedly intact.
In actuality, “as Gypsy became more aware of the world around her,” Dee Dee was getting “more powerful and more controlling” so that she could keep Gypsy under her thumb. “She could see Gypsy wanting a different life, and she was not going to have that. In fact, she was doing things to make Gypsy seem younger and younger and forcing more childlike things on her,”[…]
Did Gypsy Rose Have to Help Take Care of Dee Dee?
In The Act, Dee Dee’s declining health made it so that Gypsy Rose has to become partially responsible for Dee Dee’s wellbeing. This was apparently not the case in real life.
Per InTouch, talking to Fancy Macelli:
[…] Gypsy was never a caretaker for her mother. “She did everything she could to make Gypsy helpless and [think] that she couldn’t leave her mom because she would not survive,” not because Dee Dee needed a caretaker for her own illnesses.
Did Gypsy Buy the Knife?
No. Family friend Fancy Macelli believes that Gypsy Rose shoplifted the knife (just like Dee Dee taught her to) because Gypsy Rose, in reality, was never allowed out of Dee Dee’s sight. So much so that she is still surprised that Gypsy Rose was able to go to the bathroom by herself to have sex with Nicholas.
Did Gypsy Rose Propose Murdering Dee Dee First Like She Did in ‘The Act’?
This is probably one of the largest points of contention, I believe, between Gypsy Rose’s family and The Act.
Here’s what we know. Nicholas Godejohn’s defense attorneys tried to argue that Gypsy Rose manipulated Nicholas into murdering Dee Dee:
Defense attorneys argued for a lesser charging, saying that Blanchard’s daughter, Gypsy Blanchard, manipulated Godejohn into killing her mother in order to escape from an abusive home life. She already is serving a 10-year prison sentence.
InTouch has Fancy’s rebuttal:
Through the text messages we have, we can see [Godejohn] was very much in control [of] and dominate to Gypsy. It’s part of how she didn’t think to question a lot of things he said because, [with] her conditioning with her mom, it seemed normal to her. … Showing Nick being so awkward and incompetent makes it all seem like Gypsy had to convince this kid to do [everything they did].”
The Act’s portrayal seems to imply that Gypsy Rose had a more active role in the plotting of Dee Dee’s murder than Gypsy Rose’s family and friends believe. Per the quote above, it’s clear they believe that Nicholas Godejohn led the plot to murder Dee Dee—and that the murder of Dee Dee was an extension of the abuse Gypsy Rose suffered all her life: a dominant person controlling Gypsy Rose.
However, per Buzzfeed :
Prosecutors also said they found social media evidence of Gypsy directly asking Godejohn to kill her mother, though these have never been made public. Documents from pretrial discovery show him telling a friend about Gypsy’s desire to murder her mother as early as May 2014.
Ultimately only two people know who first suggested murdering Dee Dee: Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Nicholas Godejohn.
Did Gypsy and Nicholas really text about killing Dee Dee?
Yes, per Buzzfeed:
As the investigation into the crime continued, it turned up text messages between the two that appeared to discuss and plan Dee Dee’s death. “Honey, you forget I am ruthless, and my hatred of her will force her to die,” Godejohn texted Gypsy. “It’s my evil side doing it. He won’t mess up, because he enjoys killing.”
Header Image Source: Hulu/YouTube
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