The Little-Known Story Of Rod Blanchard, The Father Of Gypsy Rose Blanchard

Published January 19, 2024
Updated January 22, 2024

Rod Blanchard thought his daughter Gypsy Rose was terminally ill — until she orchestrated the murder of her abusive mother in 2015.

Rod Blanchard

HBODee Dee Blanchard cast her ex-husband, Rod Blanchard, as a deadbeat dad, but that wasn’t the truth.

Many now know the story of how Gypsy Rose Blanchard planned the 2015 murder of her abusive mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, who subjected the girl to years of unnecessary medical tests and treatments. Gypsy Rose served eight and a half years in prison for her role in Dee Dee’s killing. But where was Gypsy Rose’s father, Rod Blanchard, during all those years of physical and psychological torture?

Dee Dee once told her friends and neighbors that Rod Blanchard was a deadbeat drug addict and alcoholic who’d skipped out on her and Gypsy Rose. But that — like many of the stories that Dee Dee told — was not the truth.

This is the real story of Rod Blanchard, from the role he played in Gypsy Rose’s childhood to their close relationship today.

Rod Blanchard’s Relationship With Dee Dee

Little is known about Rod Blanchard’s early years, but it’s believed that he was born around 1974 in Louisiana. When he was just 17 years old, he started going out with an older, 24-year-old woman named Dee Dee. They dated for just four to six months, but when Dee Dee became pregnant, Rod felt that he should marry her. He did — but quickly regretted the decision.

“I woke up on my birthday, on my 18th birthday, and realized I wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” Rod later told BuzzFeed News. “I wasn’t in love with her, really. I knew I got married for the wrong reasons.”

Though the couple separated before Gypsy Rose Blanchard was born on July 27, 1991, Rod was determined to play an active role in his daughter’s life. Over the years, he sent Dee Dee $1,200 a month — even after Gypsy Rose turned 18 — and showered her with gifts like a television and a Nintendo Wii.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard

YouTubeA young Gypsy Rose Blanchard with her mother, Dee Dee.

Meanwhile, Dee Dee kept Rod informed about a number of alarming medical conditions that Gypsy Rose had seemingly developed, starting when Gypsy Rose was three months old and Dee Dee took her to the hospital for “sleep apnea.” Soon after that, the list of Gypsy Rose’s health problems grew.

“The next thing was that she had epilepsy,” Rod told the Springfield News-Leader. “Over time, Gypsy became more and more sick.”

At least, that’s what Rod believed.

Rod Blanchard’s Role In Gypsy Rose’s Upbringing

Rod Blanchard, who got remarried to a woman named Kristy, diligently visited Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose for the first 10 years of Gypsy Rose’s life. But then, Dee Dee limited their time together. She used Gypsy Rose’s health as an excuse to keep Rod away. And since Dee Dee claimed that she needed to be with Gypsy Rose 24/7, Rod was never able to bond with his daughter.

“I was always hoping that Gypsy would get old enough that one day we could bond,” Rod explained to Fox News. “But I didn’t want to push it too far. Dee Dee had full custody and could cut me off completely from any kind of relationship we already had. There was a fine line I had to walk with her.”

Dee Dee Blanchard With Gypsy Rose

HBODee Dee Blanchard looked like a doting mother from the outside, but the truth was much more sinister.

On Gypsy Rose’s 18th birthday, Dee Dee even warned her ex-husband not to tell Gypsy Rose her age. She claimed that Gypsy Rose’s mental capacity was behind by four or five years. Rod acquiesced, but found it strange.

“It was very weird that she wouldn’t let me celebrate her 18th birthday or let her know she was 18. That was part of the whole scam, I guess,” he later said. “Looking back now, it probably should have brought up a big red flag.”

There were plenty of red flags in Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s relationship. But few noticed them until June 14, 2015, when Dee Dee Blanchard was discovered stabbed to death at her Springfield, Missouri home. Gypsy Rose, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found.

The Aftermath Of Dee Dee Blanchard’s Murder

When Rod Blanchard heard that his ex-wife had been murdered and his daughter was missing, he called Kristy in a panic. “I was in hysterics thinking [Gypsy Rose] got brought somewhere and was left to die,” Kristy recalled. Even if Gypsy Rose was found alive, Kristy wondered “how could I take care of her when Dee Dee knew everything on how to take care of her?”

But then, the story took an incredible turn. Gypsy Rose was found alive at the Wisconsin home of her secret boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, a young man she’d initially met online. Police later discovered that Godejohn had murdered Dee Dee — at Gypsy Rose’s request. And it was soon revealed that Gypsy Rose, who had long used a wheelchair, could walk perfectly fine. In fact, the 23-year-old woman was in stunningly good health.

Nicholas Godejohn

Greene County JailNicholas Godejohn murdered Dee Dee Blanchard in 2015 as Gypsy Rose listened nearby.

“Things are not always as they appear,” a Springfield sheriff said the day after Gypsy Rose was found. That turned out to be an astounding understatement, as the public — and Rod Blanchard — would soon learn.

Gypsy Rose didn’t have any of the ailments that Dee Dee said she had. She didn’t have leukemia, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, or any serious physical conditions at all. Investigators later suspected that Dee Dee’s invention of Gypsy Rose’s illnesses was due to a mental health disorder called Munchausen syndrome by proxy — and once Gypsy Rose realized the truth about her mother, she and Godejohn plotted Dee Dee’s murder.

Gypsy Rose Mugshot

Waukesha County Sheriff’s DepartmentGypsy Rose Blanchard was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the role she played in her mother’s murder.

Godejohn was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment; Gypsy Rose was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison. And Rod Blanchard was condemned to a lifetime of wondering if he could have done more to help Gypsy Rose.

“I feel guilty. How can I let this happen? Why wasn’t I there for Gypsy more?” Rod told Dr. Phil in 2017. “If I coulda built that relationship with her, she wouldn’t have hesitated to call and say, ‘Daddy,’ you know, ‘this ain’t right.'”

Gypsy Rose And Rod Blanchard’s Relationship Today

Ever since Gypsy Rose first entered prison, Rod Blanchard has become his daughter’s most ardent supporter. He started an online petition to reduce her sentence while she was imprisoned. He also spoke to her three to five times per week when she was behind bars.

“She can call me anytime and she does,” Rod told Fox News. “I’m keeping tabs on all of her accomplishments in school. She’s getting her GED… It’s wonderful. I can’t wait for her to get out so we can build on that foundation that we started here.”

In an interview with A&E, Rod explained that his relationship with Gypsy Rose felt “completely different… She feels like she can tell me anything, and she can open up to me, which is great. I think she feels like she can trust me, and vice versa, which was not there before. So that’s a big step.”

Gypsy Rose And Rod Blanchard

HBOGypsy Rose and Rod Blanchard reconnected after she was sent to prison.

As for his ex-wife? Rod Blanchard hasn’t been shy about saying that he believes that Dee Dee got what she deserved in the end.

“If you think you can manipulate someone all their lives and for them not to bite back at one point when they had enough, then you’re completely mistaken,” he told Fox News. “I think [Dee Dee] asked for what she got.”

When Gypsy Rose Blanchard was released early from prison in December 2023 after serving about eight and a half years of her sentence, Rod Blanchard was one of the first people to welcome her home. And he was overjoyed to be able to celebrate New Year’s Eve with her in person.

After reading about Rod Blanchard, the father of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, discover the little-known story of Ted Bundy’s wife Carole Ann Boone. Or, see what Kerri Rawson says about growing up as the BTK Killer’s daughter.

Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Fraga, Kaleena. "The Little-Known Story Of Rod Blanchard, The Father Of Gypsy Rose Blanchard.", January 19, 2024, Accessed June 23, 2024.