How much is the truth and how much is fiction? In Hulu’s sixth episode of The Act, viewers meet Dee Dee Blanchard’s mother, and starting right from Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s birth, get a strong sense of her overbearing nature. But what about the real Dee Dee and her mother — what was their relationship really like?

Who Is Emma Pitre?

Emma Pitre was the mother of the real-life Dee Dee. Emma and her husband Claude actually had six children together: Claude Jr., Claudia, Evans, Tate, Dorla and Claudine (Dee Dee), according to Cosmopolitan. On The Act, viewers watched as Dee Dee began to neglect her ill mother after Gypsy was born, and eventually starved her to death. The real Emma died in 1997 at the age of 59 — but was that really her cause of death?

How Did Emma Pitre Die?

Dee Dee’s family is apparently pretty sure The Act’s version of events is pretty close to the truth in this case. In the 2017 documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, Laura Pitre, Dee Dee’s stepmother, said of Gypsy’s mother, “To leave your mama dirty and asking for food, and [not] feed her, that’s evil.” Cosmo reported that Dee Dee’s family does indeed think she intentionally withheld food from her when she was sick, as portrayed on the show.

However, nothing in Emma’s obituary noted anything about her cause of death, according to Distractify. But Claude and Laura Pitre have their suspicions, likely because they think Dee Dee tried to kill Laura too. In the documentary, Laura claimed that Dee Dee tried to kill her by putting the weed killer, Roundup, in her food when Dee Dee and Gypsy lived with them. Laura was bedridden for nine months but got better after Dee Dee and Gypsy were kicked out, according to Cosmopolitan.

Who Plays Dee Dee’s Mother on The Act?

margo martindale
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Actress Margo Martindale portrays Dee Dee on the Hulu series. She told Refinery29 that she actually “looked up pictures of her to decide whether I wanted to do this or not,” and that she knew little about the woman before she had the opportunity to play her. It’s not as if she was famous, and she died long before the events of The Act and before Gypsy, who is still alive and in prison, would be able to recall much about her since she was so young when she passed.

Dee Dee’s mother Emma is a bit of a mystery, but the way The Act chose to portray their relationship is truly compelling. Are you caught up?

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