Gypsy Rose Blanchard Announces Pregnancy


Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who was convicted of helping to kill her abusive mother in a widely publicized case, announced in a tearful YouTube video on Tuesday that she and her boyfriend, Ken Urker, were expecting their first child.

“I want to be everything my mother wasn’t,” Ms. Blanchard, 32, said in the clip, describing the pregnancy as “a blessing.” She said she was due in January.

In 2016, Ms. Blanchard was sentenced to 10 years in prison — the minimum for second-degree murder — under a plea agreement that acknowledged the abusive relationship with her mother. After serving about seven years, she was released in December and has since gained millions of followers on social media, where she has documented her personal life, including her marriage to Ryan Anderson and her relationship with Mr. Urker. (Ms. Blanchard filed for divorce from Mr. Anderson in April.)

Ms. Blanchard’s childhood, trial and life after prison were the subjects of an HBO documentary in 2017 and a Hulu mini-series in 2019, which thrust her into the national spotlight. (Both programs portrayed her as a victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy — a form of abuse in which a parent fabricates an illness for a child.) More recently, Ms. Blanchard has starred in her own series on Lifetime, “Gypsy Rose: Life After Lock Up.”

Ms. Blanchard has disavowed some of the public fascination with her life. This week, she called out a TikTok user who posted a video from the house in Springfield, Mo., where her then-boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, stabbed her mother to death in 2015. While Ms. Blanchard no longer lives in the house, some social media users have filmed themselves in recent months driving past it and stopping by to gawk.

In the video, the user films the house while driving by and pointing out several “no trespassing” signs in the yard. “People came out,” the user wrote in an on-screen caption, referring to the home’s apparent residents. (The TikTok poster did not respond to a request for comment.)

Ms. Blanchard chastised the user in a comment. “Y’all have no respect or decency,” she wrote. “A tragedy happened in that house yet y’all visit it as if it was the Grand Canyon.”

In a response to emailed questions, Ms. Blanchard wrote that the home “harbors many negative memories” for her and that she felt “uncomfortable” watching visitors “glamorize” the site.

“I recognize that sharing my story so openly invites interest in my case and life, but the things I experienced in that house were very real and very traumatizing,” Ms. Blanchard continued. “It brings up a lot of difficult emotions to see people reduce it to a tourist attraction to visit while they pass through Springfield.”

She asked that people leave the house, and its new residents, alone.

Other TikTok users have posted similar clips. “This is not a tourist attraction, why are you filming our house?” a person standing outside the home shouts in one of the videos. In another, posted in December, a pair of women filmed themselves on a “ghost hunt” along the property.

Helen Brake, a neighbor who lives on a nearby street, said in a phone interview that she was disgusted by the regular presence of onlookers.

“I think it’s appalling,” said Ms. Brake, who has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years. “You’ve got to be ghouls to keep doing that.”

She added that the house had been repainted since Ms. Blanchard and her mother lived there. Ms. Brake said she once offered to make a dress for Ms. Blanchard when her mother told Ms. Brake she was having a hard time finding one to fit her daughter.

“There are new owners. The house has been painted. They changed the address. Still, they come out of the woodwork,” Ms. Brake said. “It’s sad. I guess some people don’t have anything better to do.”

The scenes of gruesome events have long drawn crowds and curiosity, said David Schmid, an associate professor of English at the University at Buffalo who researches crime and popular culture. He cited an instance from the 19th century in which so many people clamored to view see the excavated basement of the serial killer H.H. Holmes that officials worried the sidewalk might collapse.

Dr. Schmid attributed the cultural obsession with Ms. Blanchard, including the visitors to her former home, to “natural human curiosity about the extremes of human behavior.” That curiosity becomes “problematic,” though, when it elevates a perpetrator or a victim to the status of celebrity, he said.

“Once they achieve that celebrity status, society tends to disregard their personal lives, their personal rights,” he continued. “Instead, the celebrity’s life become public property of a kind. We don’t feel that there’s anything inappropriate about doing this kind of thing because we feel, in a sense, that the celebrity belongs to us.”



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