In the new episode of The Act, the story of Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard seems to grow even scarier. When the mom catches her now-adult daughter on the computer after chatting with men online, she confiscates it and smashes it in a terrifying moment. IRL, this really happened — and Aleah Woodmansee, Gypsy’s real-life best friend and neighbor, tells us exactly what went down. According to her, the real story is just as explosive, but the timeline itself is a little different. After weighing in on Lacey, the character based on her in The Act, she’s correcting the record on this storyline, too.

When we asked Aleah about Gypsy’s online accounts, she confirmed that Dee Dee’s daughter “actually had several different accounts she made over time.” The two would message online or text during the “early hours in the morning, typically between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. after her mother would fall asleep.” It was through those communications that Gypsy “became more open about her feelings about boys and how she longed to have a real relationship with a guy.” Because her impression of her friend was that she was still a young teen who was developmentally delayed, she “let Gypsy lead the conversations.” Aleah confessed, “Periodically she would tell me how lucky I was because my mom let me have a boyfriend and go on dates,” but their messages were pretty tame.

However, that’s not what Dee Dee though when she found out. Though Aleah says that to this day she doesn’t know how Dee Dee found out about the messages, she does know what happened after. “Dee Dee took the laptop to her front yard and destroyed it with a hammer. [Her laptop wasn’t] just taken away — [it was] destroyed so there was no way for her to access them again,” Aleah shared. “The next time I went over there, Dee Dee was more serious than I had ever seen before. She asked me to go outside with her to talk. From there, she told me that she had found all of the messages, and that she wasn’t going to tell my mom, but I cannot talk to Gypsy the way I did, about boys and things. She reminded me that she has the mentality of a young child and that our messages were inappropriate, she told me about destroying the laptop.”

Aleah continued, “[She] went on to tell me that we all do things we don’t mean — we all have some sort of history, she mentioned how she even has one. But [she said] Gypsy is her life and she does her best to give her all of the things she can to live a happy life and how she didn’t want things to be planted in [Gypsy’s] mind that she didn’t understand. Dee reminded me of all of the children’s shows and movies she still watched to prove her mental state. That was the last time she ever spoke to me, and it was really the last time I was allowed to spend any time over at their house.”

But more than a year after that interaction, Aleah was surprised to find that Gypsy had started messaging her on Facebook again. “That’s when she filled me in on what had been going on with her, and that’s when she eventually told me about Nicholas. She also started asking about some of the rumors her mother told her were going around the neighborhood about me. Some of it was completely bizarre. At one point, she apparently told Gypsy that I had run away from home, had a baby and didn’t know the father.” The rumors were intense — and they seemed to come from Dee Dee.

“She would always beg me to not say anything to my mom, because we knew she would confront Dee Dee about the lies,” Aleah shared. “A couple of times she would get worried because of something someone said and she would ask if I told anyone about us talking — of course I hadn’t.” Around that time, though, Gypsy filled her friend in on what exactly had gone down at the Blanchard house after her mom had found the laptop. “Apparently, she said that she wished my mom was hers instead because I’m allowed to have boyfriends,” Aleah said. “Gypsy was so upset because she knew that broke her mother’s heart and she never wanted to do that again.”

Trying to be respectful, Aleah decided to approach Dee Dee herself — but that was when her relationship with her neighbors really started to fall apart. “[Gypsy and her mom] had finally rekindled their relationship, but because she was so worried and how upset Dee Dee was the last time I spoke to her, I kept asking Gypsy to talk to her mother about me so we could maybe smooth things over. Eventually, she asked her mom about where we stood, and her mother’s attitude remained unchanged.” Because Dee Dee refused to budge, Aleah didn’t want to come between them. “I started talking to her about how we should get her mother’s approval before we keep trying to talk, not for my sake but for Gypsy’s. I didn’t want her to get into any more trouble than I had already caused.”

Though Gypsy and her mom had (somewhat) mended their relationship for the time being, and Gypsy had reached out to Aleah, the neighbor didn’t want to cause any more trouble for her friend. “Eventually I tapered off the conversations because I really did worry about her,” she said. “And that was the last time we spoke [until her arrest.]”

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