"I still have a lot of triggers": Gypsy Rose Blanchard reinvents herself despite "learning curve"

Blanchard spoke to reporters about her bombshell docuseries, not holding grudges and why she may give up cosplaying

By Nardos Haile

Staff Writer

Published January 10, 2024 10:15AM (EST)

Gypsy Rose Blanchard attends "The Prison Confessions Of Gypsy Rose Blanchard" Red Carpet Event on January 05, 2024 in New York City. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Gypsy Rose Blanchard attends "The Prison Confessions Of Gypsy Rose Blanchard" Red Carpet Event on January 05, 2024 in New York City. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Gypsy Rose Blanchard said she doesn't consider herself a celebrity, in fact, she doesn't even like being called one.

The recently paroled 32-year-old most known for her involvement in the death of her mother Clauddine "Dee Dee" Blanchard, has become our country's latest fascination. Blanchard is at the center of countless memes online, amassing 8 million Instagram followers and 9.4 million TikTok followers since her release from prison in late December. During a Tuesday press conference to promote her new Lifetime documentary series "The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard" she said, "I feel like I'm a baby bird on the internet." After being in prison for eight and a half years, Blanchard is catching up with the rest of the world which is why she thinks Gen Z can relate to her sense of eternal youth.

"No one has the right but me to share my story."

Additional layers of Blanchard's personal story and her experience as a survivor of Munchausen syndrome by proxy continue to be revealed in the docuseries and a new eBook. Blanchard's story is one of deep trauma and resilience, and she shares her experiences like when she was randomly put into solidarity confinement because of a fan's online threat before her parole announcement or when she was pulled out of school in the second grade because of her controlling mother. In the new docuseries, Blanchard tells her story in her own words after years of being at the center of fictionalized narratives about her life.

For the "Prison Confessions" press conference, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, her husband Ryan Anderson and docuseries executive producer Melissa Moore were asked questions by journalists from different outlets, including Salon. You can read the panel hosted by Lifetime below:

The following transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

You mentioned in the documentary that there are still some questions you have about your story that you need closure on. Are you able to share what those questions are?

Gypsy Rose Blanchard: Quite honestly, there are questions that I just have about the surgeries that I've had. I haven't had a chance to look at my medical records in full detail. And so I think I just have a lot of questions as far as what I had done to me medically— also just questions from my family about things that happened before I was even born.

Melissa, how did you meet Gypsy and become involved in telling her story?

Melissa Moore: Well . . . in 2017, "Mommy Dead and Dearest" had just premiered. And when I saw that documentary, I realized this is the beginning of Gypsy's story that there's so much more to learn. You know Gypsy just spoke about the medical questions that she has. And so one of the things while doing this documentary was actually getting access to her medical records. So I've probably seen more of the medical records than even Gypsy has on her case, which I'm wanting to share with Gypsy now.

But basically, since 2017, I stayed in contact with Gypsy and she started to feel comfortable with me and to the point where she started to reveal secrets and more abuse, and I realized this is maybe the time for her to tell her story. And she agreed. Plus, all the documentaries in all of the dramatization — the pen was being held by another author than Gypsy, and so I'm really proud that she had the courage to just tell it her story in her own way.

Ryan, what has life been like for you and your wife within her prison released as you've all been receiving an outpour of support and love from the documentary?

Ryan Anderson: My life after her release has been a whirlwind. It's been great. Everything's moved so fast, but it's been amazing. I've waited for this girl to come out for so long. And now she's home. It feels great to have her here. The support and everything we've written for people has been tremendous. I can't thank people enough for everything. They love this wife. They love my wife just as much as I do. So it's really great. And my life since release has been tremendous.

Gypsy, how do you see yourself today and how has your understanding of your own identity evolved over time?

Blanchard: I see myself today as someone that is basically trying to come out of prison start her new life. I know that I have been branded something. And I'm just trying to remake myself, reinvent myself into something that my family could be proud of my husband can be proud of. So I think I'm getting there. I don't think I'm not quite there yet. But I'm liking this new version of myself.

The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose BlanchardThe Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Courtesy of the Blanchard family/Lifetime)There's an incredible amount of times when family or professionals could have stepped in and removed you from your mother's care. In your opinion, do you have any insight as to why that never happened?

Blanchard: I think a big part of it was there was people that had suspicions, family included, but nobody just wants to rock the boat you know? So it wasn't brought up to other people, it wasn't talked about. So people kind of kept their suspicions to themselves just for fear of upsetting my mom and her ultimately pushing them away as friends or whatnot. So I think that on the professional standpoint, I think that for those doctors that did have suspicions, I think it all has to do with money honestly. And that's just my that's my opinion about it. They were making money off of me and so I think that in their profession, I think that that came first.

Moore: I remember, Gypsy, we had discussed that CPS came to your house at one point. Remind me about that.

Blanchard: They did come to my house. And basically, they're asking me the wrong questions. So they're like, show me your arm, your legs. And they were checking for bruises. And at that point, my mom never hit me. They wasn't asking the right questions to me.

Moore: So nothing was ever done.

Blanchard: Nothing – there was no follow-up report or anything. They came to one time and then they closed the file. 

Moore: If I recall from our conversation, this happened in the Habitat for Humanity house on Volunteer Way. One thing that if I recall, this is just my memory, I think after that incident when CPS came, I believe you were telling me your mom became more paranoid about strangers and [put] garbage bags over the windows. 

Blanchard: She became like increasingly more paranoid after that visit from CPS and she actually went as far as to remove the doorbell on the door because she was just so paranoid about them coming back.

Gypsy, your story has blanketed the media and everyone from true crime bloggers to court TV anchors have dissected your case. Why was it important for you to sit down and do these confessionals for the Lifetime series?

"I'm a glass-half-full type of person."

Blanchard: I've wanted to put out something [out] that was very accurate. I wanted to put out something that was the truth. So much of what has already been put out there was either by people that honestly they just didn't know the ins and outs of my case, or my life. And ultimately, I think that I'm the source — it happened to me. And so no one has the right but me to share my story. And that's why it was important for me to do this docuseries because I can finally be like, "OK, I'm ready. I'm emotionally stable at this point. I don't want to keep being haunted by the past." So this, this series is me letting go of my past.

Moore: Gypsy, there were also fictionalized accounts of your life and I think that added a lot of confusion and misconceptions about you. What was the biggest misconception from the fictionalized version of your story?

Blanchard: Honestly, it didn't even have to do with me. I haven't watched many, but I have watched at least two, and for me, it was how they portrayed my mom. I think people tend to forget that my mom or at least maybe they don't even know that the reason why she was able to snowblind the doctor so much and the community is because she was so friendly. So in these shows, they're portraying her as like mean all the time, and that's not how she was. She was very charming, very relatable. She would give a hug to anyone. She would like to cook for people. Her personality was bubbly and friendly to the outside world. And then what you see behind closed doors is her hitting me, calling me names and the abuse.

Anderson: She'd get their guard down by just being nice.

Ryan, now that you and Gypsy are finally together in person, what are you most looking forward to about your new life?

Anderson: There's many things I'm looking forward to in our new life. Just being a normal married couple – like yesterday we went shopping and it was great. We just walked the store. We had two buggies that was amazing. We just want Gypsy to feel free. To get whatever she wanted. And she got some stuff but I was like it's kind of funny. She actually bought like — I'm gonna tell them — she bought like a baby clothes for a future baby.

Blanchard: Oh my god!

Anderson: We're not there yet. Like slow down.

Blanchard: It was so cute I had to get the outfit for just in case later down the road. 

Anderson: I was walking through that section like, "Keep walking." But you know, it's just little things like that I'm enjoying. Tonight we plan on cooking again together and we like doing that together. Just little things like that is what I find most enjoyable.

Gypsy, how do you take care of your mental health these days? Is there a wellness routine that you follow?

Blanchard: I just kind of keep to the same thing that I've always done. If I feel overwhelmed at any point, I will listen to music.  Sort of how I release the anxiety is I will close myself off in like a room or I close space, put on my headphones. And I'll journal for a little bit or I'll just lay back in my bed and just decompress while listening to any song that I feel like is relatable in that moment. And that's how I relaxed and I stay mentally sane. And also being married – I can lean on Ryan for a lot of things that maybe if I need to talk and vent, this is my go-to right here.

Ryan Anderson; Gypsy Rose BlanchardRyan Anderson and Gypsy Rose Blanchard attend "The Prison Confessions Of Gypsy Rose Blanchard" Red Carpet Event on January 05, 2024 in New York City. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)Gypsy, were there any of your other family members involved in your life and do you hold a grudge towards any of them for not removing you from the situation?

Blanchard: My mother isolated me and her from her side of the family and also on my dad's side of the family at a pretty young age for me. I was probably about six years old when she started removing us a little more and moving away from our hometown that we grew up in. I don't hold anything against anyone. I don't hold a grudge. And I've actually told them all that I'm like, "I don't put blame on you guys because I was six years old when she took me from you guys. And I understand that you guys were just as much in the dark as everybody else is." So I constantly drive that home that I do not hold a grudge against anyone. My mother was good at manipulating and lies. And that's all there is. There's no blame to be put on anybody else.

Melissa, was it difficult to navigate conveying such personal traumas, especially assault from family members? How does a producer working on a docuseries get parties to speak on this sensitively?

Moore: Well, something that we haven't really been talking about is my backstory and the trauma of — my father's in prison for life. And that's one of the connecting factors that Gypsy and I had in common is we both experienced an unimaginable amount of trauma in our lives. And that's what bonded us. So my father is serving multiple life sentences in prison for murder. And there was also the fictionalized versions of my dad's story and so I can relate to Gypsy feeling like everybody is tying their narrative of something deeply personal about yourself. So we can connect with that, but there was no judgment. Gypsy knew that I would not hold any judgment towards her because I know what it feels like to be judged. So we just had an open rapport, open book kind of thing with each other. I think we just connected because we both understand what it's like to live a unique and dark past.

Gypsy and Ryan, what has it been like with this sudden onset of fame? What is the most challenging and also the most rewarding part?

Anderson: The most challenging is when they take comments out of context and they run with it, and people make TikTok videos about something that I might have said and took it the wrong way. That's the most challenging; everything you say is under a microscope. And it's one of those where I'm not used to that. I'm just a southern boy from Louisiana. So that's challenging to me. I just happened to fall into marrying the most beautiful woman in the world. So it's just one of those things where I feel overwhelmed sometimes with everything they say. The most rewarding is just being with her.

Blanchard: And for me, like I'm just coming out of prison for eight-and-a-half years and everyone is well aware of my story before that. I'm very new to social media. I'm on a learning curve right now. So when I comment or even like someone's posts, I have to realize that it will be seen by millions of people  . . .  I have this huge platform which I can use for good. It's kind of like a superpower. On the downside, there's people making fake accounts in my name scamming people. There's a rumor going around that I'm pregnant, which is not true. At all. It's so much — so many eyes on us right now that it is a little overwhelming. And so like Ryan said, we are taking the time at night to just vent because we need to have those those releases of stress.

The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose BlanchardThe Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Courtesy of the Blanchard family/Lifetime)Gypsy, given everything that happened to you, how were you able to handle being in prison? Were you always optimistic you will be paroled? And how difficult was it to keep the faith?

"Shout-out to prison for giving me my education."

Blanchard: I think that I've always been fairly optimistic. I think the only time that I was ever not optimistic about my fate was while I was in county jail, and I talked about that in both my ebook and the documentary. I lost faith at one point, and it was really grim. But then as soon as I knew that, I was going to be spending 10 years in prison and getting out of prison fairly young. I started having faith again, and my personality is pretty bubbly. I'm a glass-half-full type of person. So I always just had the faith that it was going to be OK at some point.

Moore: I remember Gypsy one of the interviews that I did with you in prison, you had just had a nightmare that you weren't going to get paroled . . .

Blanchard: Two of my friends in prison had had their parole hearings before me. And they had gotten bad news like they had both didn't get paroled, which it wasn't a good setup for my confidence and to me getting parole.

Anderson: I remember that I had to keep lifting you – just keep lifting her up and keeping that positivity.

Gypsy, there are lots of convention photos of you dressed as "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" characters. Did your experience and what you were going through impact your love of those franchises in any way, and is cosplay something you hope to get back into?

Blanchard: I'm not gonna lie – a little bit. I think that looking at old pictures of me wearing different costumes and stuff, even though the interest is there, I can't help but have a small part of me that still feels like when I put on a costume I'm put back in that time. And that's just something that I'm gonna have to work through with a therapist. I still have a lot of triggers that they might be extremely subtle, so that's actually could potentially be one of them. That's definitely not on the extreme side, but on the subtle side of the trauma that happened.

What do you want people to get out of this series and hearing your side of the story?

Blanchard: I really want people to just watch the series and feel like they have a better understanding of who I am as a person. What I've gone through who I am now and how I had to get to where I am now by going through some really hard things that were even after the crime and getting arrested and everything because I spent eight-and-a-half years in prison. So that was a long time for me to at least make some mistakes, learn from them. And I think people just need to see me as, OK I'm just a person. I'm not a character from a TV show. So how there's evolution within me, there's evolution even going on right now. I hope they get that from the series. I hope they also look at my story and also take from it that this could happen to anyone, and Munchausen by proxy syndrome is far greater than what people might think. There's no way to calculate the number [of victims affected]. But it's not talked about enough. So go talk about it, talk about my story and realize that, hey, if you see something that just seems a little bit off, whenever you see a child and they might be in a situation where you're like, "Huh, that just doesn't seem right to me." Say something. What's the worst that can happen?

Did you ever suspect that your mother was lying to you about your health issues?

Blanchard: Of course, I had my suspicions because obviously there were things that I knew that I didn't have wrong with me. And then there was other things that I didn't know before. So there was times that I would question I'm like, I really need this medication. Do I really need this? I would think to myself, so yeah, I did have my little doubts.

Moore: Something that people ask me all the time is why people go to like, "Why didn't you ask your dad how old you were or something like that?" And I don't think people realize, they didn't understand that you didn't have a relationship with your dad at that point. But I remember asking you how did you not know your age? How did your mom hide your age from you? And I remember you telling me that she never put the right number of candles on your cake. Remind me of that. She hid your age from you.

Blanchard: It probably started happening when I was about eight years old. And so I didn't ask questions as an eight-year-old, but it continued on until the crime happened. And so I get that question a lot actually. "How did how did you not know your age?'" Growing up for birthday parties and for gatherings, my mom never put number panels on my cake.

Anderson: She also changed your birthday on all the forms.

Blanchard: Things that was going on, I never asked for clarification because my mom handled all kinds of medical paperwork there was never a need for me to know the exact date. And so finding out that I was older than that I thought was a little bit of a shock to me after everything. And now I feel like, "Oh, I went from 19 to 32. Jeez, God I got old so quick. How did that happen?"

Anderson: You didn't go to school.

Moore: That's true. You didn't go to school. So there wasn't, you know, this lineage of school pictures. That I still can't wrap my head around that you only went to school until second grade. And that you are so intelligent and articulate. And that you can write and read that the level that you do is phenomenal. 

Blanchard: It was a lot of work for me; getting my education was something that I prioritized. There was times that I wanted to give up I'm like, "I'm never gonna get this." And then I finally started picking it up. Shout-out to prison for giving me my education. Who would've thought?

Moore: People talk about how the medical community failed you — I see that the school system failed too because there should have been checks and balances from you being homeschooled all these years to see if you would pass state tests, so pass certain tests or that there is a board that are like members that come to your house to make sure that you truly are getting a homeschool education.

Blanchard: I'm really shocked that that never happened. I remember the doctor saying, "Only homeschool?" And my mom would say, "Oh, she's homeschool. We're registered." And there was no questions more about it. So I'm actually just finding out that it's illegal to not put your kids in school. Why didn't anybody say anything? Because I didn't know that.

What are your hopes for the future both personally and in terms of the message or impact your story can have on others in difficult situations?

Blanchard: Personal goals right now are just having a lot of family time, making amends with those that were really hurt by not only in the crime, but also learning that the people that they knew, meaning my mom and me, before I got arrested and my crime, were not real. They weren't real people. It was a fraud. We weren't those people. So now coming out, I just want to make amends with those people and tell them who I am and how I reintroduced myself to these people that I knew from before. They're having to learn me now . . . I think professional-wise aside from that nine to five – I think that I will always be Gypsy Blanchard to the media. But I think that I am putting the Gypsy Blanchard that people knew from several years ago in the past, and I think going forward. I am married so I'm now going forward as Gypsy Rose Blanchard-Anderson. What that means for me is OK, reinventing myself as a new person. Prison Gypsy is over. Now this is the new Gypsy, and let's form this new identity for me and see what I can do. See the power of my voice. I've already used the power to share my story for myself. Let's see if I can share maybe other people's stories and give them a voice.

By Nardos Haile

Nardos Haile is a staff writer at Salon covering culture. She’s previously covered all things entertainment, music, fashion and celebrity culture at The Associated Press. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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