Is ‘The Act’ on Hulu Based On a True Story?

The Act is a series that debuted on Hulu on March 20th of this year. Starring Joey King as Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee Blanchard, the show’s plotline focuses on a twisted tale that’s been called “stranger than fiction.” Dee Dee is a mother who forces her daughter, Gypsy Rose, to pretend she is sick — going so far as to shave the girl’s head, forcing her to use a wheelchair, and even lieing about her age.

Fans of the show have heard that the dramatic television series is based on true events, as per the show’s description, but find it hard to believe. After all, what kind of mother could be so cruel to her own child? So is The Act really based on a true story? We have the answers.

Is ‘The Act’ based on a true story?

Yes. As unbelievable as it sounds, The Act is based on the true story of Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard, which caught the attention of the press in 2015. While the show has been noted to give a very real portrayal of the events, there are some deviations between the show and the true story. Critics have noted that these deviations do not make a large difference in the overall true story arc.

What has happened in season one so far?

While the first season of The Act is still underway, viewers have already been given quite a crazy ride. The story begins with Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose being relocated after their home was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Then, their secret life is endangered when a dental emergency presents itself strangely. 

Fast forward to the following episode, and the Blanchard’s secret life once again becomes endangered when Dee Dee forces Gypsy Rose to dress up for a costume convention, and then the young girl goes off on her own.

Dee Dee continues to fight for Gypsy Rose to stay under her control as the teenager turns into a grown woman, and in turn, Gypsy Rose fights for independence from her clearly unstable mother.

How is the story different from the series?

Gypsy Rose, in real life, did not know her real age until she was around 20 years old, versus the series where she has this revelation at the age of 18. Her mother convinced her that she was younger than she really was, and aimed to convince outsiders (including Gypsy Rose’s peers) that her mental capacity was the same as a 7-year-old, which would automatically discount anything the girl said.

The Act also does not tell the story about how the real Dee Dee poisoned her stepmother when she was much younger or that she’d been suspected of killing her biological mother.

Additionally, the character of Scott is not entirely accurate. Scott is a significantly older man who Gypsy Rose met at a costume convention. While there was such a man, he did not play as big of a role in real life as he does in the series. 

What’s wrong with Dee Dee Blanchard?

Upon finding out that The Act is, indeed, based on a true story the biggest question is what in the world was wrong with Dee Dee Blanchard? A stable woman would obviously not put her child through so much needless trauma.

The answer is that Dee Dee suffered from something called Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, which is literally a mental disorder that causes a person to pretend that someone they care for is ill. This is typically because they enjoy the attention and sympathy it gives them as a caretaker.