Blanchard met her fiance, Ken, when he wrote a letter to her after watching a HBO documentary about her case

By Steve Helling and Harriet Sokmensuer
July 16, 2019 05:00 PM
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Courtesy ABC News

Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the Missouri woman who murdered her mother after being forced by her for years to portray herself as terminally ill, recently announced her engagement — and those close to her support the relationship.

“We really do like him and we hope to get to know him better,” stepmother Kristy Blanchard tells PEOPLE, adding that they talk often to the man, who has been identified publicly only by his first name, Ken.

“He loves Gypsy very much, and you can clearly see that when he talks about her and looks at her,” the stepmom adds.

Blanchard is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the June 2015 stabbing death of her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard.

Blanchard met Ken after he wrote a letter to her in prison after watching the HBO documentary about her case, Mommy Dead and Dearest. The couple has known each other for almost two years.

Earlier this year, the 27-year-old quietly announced to family and friends that she and her boyfriend are getting married, family friend Fancy Macelli told PEOPLE in April.

“They are very happy,” Macelli said. “You can hear excitement in her voice.”

It’s the first romantic relationship Blanchard has had since she dated Nicholas Godejohn, the man who helped her kill her mother.

In April, Macelli told PEOPLE the couple’s relationship started off platonic and eventually became romantic after months of correspondence.

Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard
Courtesy HBO

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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.

The couple will hold off on getting married until Blanchard is released from prison.

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Courtesy HBO; Investigation Discovery

“He’s just there for her,” Macelli said. “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…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.