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Why TikTokers have been looking forward to Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s release from prison

TikTok: @nmilz1 / @gypsyroseblanchard727 / @justjadaxo

TikTok and X (formerly Twitter) users have been clamoring for the release of 32-year-old Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who served seven years in prison for her role in the 2016 killing of her mother before her release on Dec. 28. Posts calling her “queen” and “mother” appeared on social media, where fans are treating her with an enthusiasm usually reserved for pop stars.

According to a post from her stepsister Mia Blanchard, family members maintained social media accounts for Gypsy while she was behind bars, including a TikTok account with nearly 500,000 followers. People are eager to see how she will acclimate to freedom, and whether she’ll become a social media star herself.

Who is Gypsy Rose Blanchard and what did she do?

Gypsy is believed to have been a victim of child abuse through Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder in which a caretaker makes someone ill (or creates the illusion that they are ill) to get attention. She said that throughout her childhood, her mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, took her to doctors to have her treated for conditions — including leukemia and muscular dystrophy — that she never actually had. She said she was forced to use a wheelchair and oxygen tank, even though she required neither.

Doctors expressed concern about Gypsy’s treatment beginning in 2007, but she remained in Dee Dee’s care. She unsuccessfully attempted escape in 2011, and after meeting then-boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn online in 2012 and speaking with him for a few years, she planned to escape with him.

Godejohn stabbed Dee Dee to death in 2016. Her body was discovered thanks to a Facebook post announcing the attack, which remains online to this day. Gypsy was sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to her role in the attack, and Godejohn received a life sentence in 2018 for first-degree murder.

The 2017 HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest helped publicize Gypsy’s case. In 2019, Joey King and Patricia Arquette portrayed Gypsy and Dee Dee for the popular Hulu limited series The Act, which was nominated for two Emmy Awards.

These moments in pop culture, combined with coverage in countless articles, true-crime podcasts, YouTube videos and TikTok explainers that have garnered millions of views have ensured that Gypsy’s story is well-known and discussed often. Throughout her prison sentence, she has given multiple interviews expressing her remorse and desire to move past what she’s done. She wrote a book called “Released: Conversations on the Eve of Freedom” that will be published in January.

Why does Gypsy Rose Blanchard have so many fans?

Because Gypsy’s case is so frequently discussed, she’s become a bona fide pop culture figure. Even Pop Crave, the X account dedicated to disseminating information about celebrities, has been posting updates about Gypsy’s release, soliciting responses like “mother” (a slang term used to describe a beloved famous woman) and “reputation era incoming” (a reference to Taylor Swift’s vengeance-inspired album).

People looking forward to her release have been posting fan edits, or videos of Gypsy set to music, as they would for someone like Nicki Minaj or a K-Pop idol. Some users jokingly posted plans for a “release party” and discussed what cultural moments they hope she’ll experience as a free woman.

“She served so hard … can’t wait for her to strut down the streets on Dec 28,” one user captioned a video of Gypsy testifying in court. “Literally on my way to Gypse (sic) Rose prison so she has a ride home,” another wrote.

Gypsy’s stans may have seen the mass reconsideration of pop culture icons who once drew misogynistic ire from tabloids, like Britney Spears and Pamela Anderson, and chosen to get ahead of the curve by throwing their support behind her. It’s also possible that those fans have been affected by the recent true-crime reckoning, which questioned how brutal tragedy has become entertainment at the expense of victims but sympathized with Gypsy’s violent response to years of abuse. Maybe Gypsy is drawing ironic support from the same people who support convicted fraudsters like Anna Delvey and Elizabeth Holmes.

Each fan may have a different reason for supporting Gypsy, but there are still a number of people who are worried about the behavior. Some social media users expressed concern about the level of fandom building for Gypsy before she’s even had time to acclimate to life outside of prison.

“When Miss Blanchard gets released, I need y’all to be normal. Please do not give this girl … a heart attack. Remember how long she’s been locked behind bars,” TikToker @zacefronisdead wrote in a post. “please leave gypsy rose blanchard alone she is a victim of abuse and has been failed by our justice system like shes not yas slay boots c*** shes a real woman who has REAL IRREVERSIBLE life trauma like can we behave that way,” X user @SwintyMinty posted.

Just before her release, Gypsy told People that she regrets what she did to her mother every day. She didn’t say anything about her fans or what might be waiting for her on social media — just that she’s “on the eve of happiness.”

"I'm ready for freedom," she said. "I'm ready to expand, and I think that goes for every facet of my life."