Thanks to documentaries like HBO's Mommy Dead and Dearest and shows like Hulu's The Act, most people know who Gypsy Rose and her mother Dee Dee Blanchard are. But less has been made of who Gypsy Rose's father Rod Blanchard is. Part of that is because he wasn't a huge part of her life during her childhood. Rolling Stone reported that experts familiar with the case now believe Dee Dee suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which led her to invent illnesses for Gypsy Rose as a way to keep her close and garner sympathy. She lied about Gypsy's ability to walk, her real age, and her health status. Eventually, Gypsy orchestrated her mother's murder in an attempt to escape. She's now serving a 10-year prison sentence for her role in the crime.
It was only after Dee Dee's death that Rod got the full picture about what had been going on. "[I] never had any inkling that [Dee Dee] was abusive," Rod told Fox News in 2018. "She was pretty good at hiding that part. And Gypsy was scared to say anything."
According to BuzzFeed, Rod was just 17 when 24-year-old Dee Dee got pregnant. The two married, but Rod realized a year later that he wasn't in love with Dee Dee. They separated before Gypsy was born and Rod went on to marry Kristy Blanchard. Rod and Kristy saw Gypsy frequently when she was young, but less so after Dee Dee and Gypsy moved from Louisiana to Missouri in 2007. Their relationship became strained with distance, and Dee Dee reportedly bad-mouthed Rod to anyone who would listen.
According to BuzzFeed, one of the Blanchards' Missouri neighbors had reportedly been told by Dee Dee that Rod was a "deadbeat, an alcoholic drug abuser who had mocked his daughter’s disabilities" and never sent child support. By contrast, Rod told BuzzFeed that he sent $1200 a month to Dee Dee even after Gypsy had turned 18.
Rod said he and Gypsy still talked over the phone, but things weren't the same as when they lived closer. "[Dee Dee] spent a lot of time making sure that there was distance between us," Rod claimed to Fox News. "A lot of times I would call Gypsy and she wouldn’t be available to talk to me." Rod said some things also struck him as odd, like when Dee Dee warned him not to tell Gypsy she was actually 18.
Even though Gypsy is now in prison, Rod said their relationship has markedly improved these days. "It's a hundred times better, honestly," he told Fox News. "We email each other. She can call me any time and she does." He said Gypsy is looking forward to being released and truly starting her life. He told Fox News that she's currently getting her GED, and in an interview with Investigation Discovery, said that Gypsy plans to be an advocate for child abuse victims and also wants to go to cosmetology school.
Rod also admitted to Dr. Phil that he feels guilty that he didn't help Gypsy sooner. "How could I let this happen? Why wasn't I there for Gypsy more?" Rod asked himself on the show. But he knows that's in the past and he needs to move forward with Gypsy now back in his life. "I honestly feel there's a lot of ground I need to make up with her. And I’m hoping she can forgive me," Rod told Fox News.
According to Rolling Stone, Gypsy is eligible for parole in 2024 when she's 32 years old, and Rod told People magazine that Gypsy can come stay with him when she gets out of prison. "She’ll always have a home here," he said. "We'll put her on the right path."