We fact-checked ‘The Act’, the series based on Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s story.

And Gypsy Rose is… not the biggest fan of the limited series. 

“I am unable to watch The Act,” she told Bustle in 2019.

“I feel it is very unfair and unprofessional that producers and co-producer Michelle Dean has used my actual name and story without my consent, and the life rights to do so.”

With permission or not, the series was praised for its depiction of the tragic events, even if each episode did conclude with the warning that “some scenes and characters have been dramatised or fictionalised”.

So the question is: what was true, and which parts didn’t happen? Following Gypsy’s release, we decided it was time to fact-check – and the sad news is, most of the horrifying details shared in the series check out.

True: Dee Dee led doctors to believe Gypsy Rose had serious medical conditions.

As a nurse’s aide, Dee Dee was familiar with medical terms and conditions. The illness claims began when Gypsy was only three months old, with Dee Dee saying her baby had sleep apnea. From there, the ‘illnesses’ grew in severity, going on to include asthma, eye problems, hearing problems, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, leukemia and even cancer.

Gypsy has since confirmed that the only condition she has is impaired vision due to a lazy eye. 

To ensure Gypsy wouldn’t look into her own conditions as she became a teenager, Dee Dee told her daughter she had the mind of a seven-year-old, and her personal life was severely restricted. 

Experts believe that Dee Dee was suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a caregiver or parent applies an imaginary illness or injury to a person under their care. Dee Dee was able scam doctors partly because the family had lived in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, which meant that Gypsy’s medical records and birth certificate had been destroyed.