Gypsy Rose Blanchard, Engaged in Prison After Plotting Mom's Murder, 'Just Wants to Be Normal': Friend

As she serves a 10 year prison sentence for orchestrating the murder of her abusive mother, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who recently became engaged, is trying to find a semblance of normalcy.

“She just wants to be normal,” family friend Fancy Macelli tells PEOPLE of the 27-year-old’s life in prison and her romantic relationship.

On Friday, Macelli revealed Blanchard was engaged to a man with whom she had a pen pal correspondence, and who initially wrote her a letter after watching the HBO documentary about her case, Mommy Dead and Dearest. The couple has known each other for a year and a half.

Macelli, citing Blanchard’s wishes, did not reveal the fiancé’s name.

Blanchard was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the June 2015 stabbing death of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard.

Today, Blanchard is free of her mother’s abuse for the first time in her life and is learning how to navigate relationships.

“She’s going from one controlling environment to another, but this is one thing she has all the control over,” Macelli says. “So I think that’s really new for her of having that control of a relationship, of actually genuine care, not [one where] someone wants something from her.”

Macelli adds: “He’s just there for her.” 

Macelli says the relationship started off platonic but over time turned romantic. Blanchard quietly told her friends and family she was engaged earlier this year.

“[Their engagement] is rather new and she’s very happy,” Macelli says.

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This is the first romantic relationship Blanchard has had since she dated Nicholas Godejohn, the man who killed her mother.

Godejohn, who was convicted of first-degree murder and is now in prison for life without parole, killed Dee Dee to help Blanchard escape her life of abuse.

Experts have said that Blanchard was the victim of Munchausen by proxy, a rare form of abuse in which a guardian — in this case Blanchard’s mother — exaggerates or induces illness in a child for attention and sympathy.

Blanchard’s family plans to meet her fiancé next month, and family members have already spoken with her about the responsibilities of marriage.

“They’ve got a long road ahead of them,” Macelli says, noting that the couple have currently decided to wait to get married until Blanchard is released from prison.

Macelli says the relationship has had a positive influence on Blanchard.

“I’ve seen her grow into a really intelligent, mature person and I think a lot of that does have to do with the relationships that she’s now allowed to have,” she says. “You can draw from the people you have around.”

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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