Gypsy Blanchard's story seemed crafted for the TV series and documentaries it later inspired. Details that emerged after Blanchard's mother, Clauddine, was found stabbed to death in their Missouri home in June 2015 seemed to add to the tale's macabre intrigue: Blanchard said she had been abused and kept in a wheelchair by Clauddine, who had lied about her daughter's many illnesses.
The killing had been carried out by Nicholas Godejohn, a boyfriend Blanchard met online who was sentenced to life in prison in 2019 after being found guilty of first-degree murder - allegedly at Blanchard's encouragement. The media followed intently as Blanchard pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2016 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Dramatic television productions by HBO and Hulu followed.
And Blanchard set about starting a new life from behind bars. She studied for a GED. Blanchard courted several new partners in prison, family members said, then got married.
Now, eight years after her mother's killing, she has been released from prison. Blanchard, 32, was let out on parole Thursday morning after serving the majority of her 10-year sentence, the Missouri Department of Corrections confirmed to The Washington Post. Blanchard was released from the Chillicothe Correctional Center at 3:30 a.m. local time, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections.
In an interview with People before her release, Blanchard said she regretted her actions.
"Nobody will ever hear me say I'm glad she's dead or I'm proud of what I did," Blanchard told People. "I regret it every single day."
The Missouri public defender's office did not respond to requests for comment on the Blanchard and Godejohn cases.
In the interview with People, Blanchard offered stark details about abuse she claimed to have suffered at the hands of Clauddine. But she said her mother did not deserve to be killed.
"She was a sick woman and unfortunately I wasn't educated enough to see that," Blanchard told People. "She deserved to be where I am, sitting in prison doing time for criminal behavior."
Audiences across the nation also grappled with the complexities of Blanchard's case as her story spread. Clauddine home-schooled her daughter, monitored her internet usage and kept her in a wheelchair. Blanchard said her mother justified it by telling her that she was mentally and physically disabled, and suffered from serious medical conditions, including leukemia and muscular dystrophy.
An attorney for Blanchard said Clauddine's deception stemmed from a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare mental condition in which a parent imagines their child to have fictional illnesses, the Associated Press reported.
Blanchard, who authorities discovered to be healthy upon her arrest, told People that she questioned her mother's claims about her health, but was always talked down.
"I would voice concerns, being like, 'I really don't feel like I need this,' and she would get really, really upset with me and start manipulating me," she said.
Blanchard also said that as she got older, her mother berated and struck her when they disagreed.
"I was desperate to get out of that situation," Blanchard told People.
Blanchard found an outlet in a Christian dating site, where an online connection sparked a passionate romance - and a murder plot, prosecutors said. Blanchard and Godejohn fell in love in a "bizarre" online relationship, Godejohn's attorney said, according to the Springfield News-Leader. In an interview with investigators, Godejohn admitted stabbing Blanchard's mother and said Blanchard gave him gloves and a knife to carry out the killing.
"She felt it was her only way to be with me," Godejohn told investigators, according to the newspaper.
In court, attorneys argued over the charges Blanchard and Godejohn should face. While Blanchard took a plea deal, Godejohn's case went to trial, where defense attorneys argued that he was used by Blanchard to enact her own plan for the killing.
Blanchard testified in Godejohn's trial, the News-Leader reported, and said she devised the plan to escape her captivity and abuse. Godejohn was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
As Blanchard served her sentence, the television dramatizations of her story catapulted her to an unconventional celebrity. Family members and neighbors gave interviews. Entertainment outlets reported on Blanchard as she carved out a personal life in prison. She got engaged after meeting a suitor who reached out by mail after watching the HBO documentary about her story, then called off the wedding months later, InTouch and E! News reported.
Blanchard married a Louisiana teacher in June 2022. Of the relationship, Blanchard told People, "We're in love."
Another documentary, "The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard," will premiere on Lifetime in January.
Even after her case engrossed followers for years, Blanchard said her story should serve as a warning.
"I want to make sure that people in abusive relationships do not resort to murder," she told People. "It may seem like every avenue is closed off but there is always another way."