A gypsy mother who was shunned by her family for marrying outside of the community has revealed her determination for her 10-year-old daughter to become a bride as soon as possible so she doesn’t suffer the same fate.
In seson six of Gypsy Brides US, Lee Ann from Philadelphia explained the importance of her daughter, Mary, 10, marrying another Romanichal gypsy, and even organized a 10th birthday party for the youngster where future potential husbands and their families could ‘get a look at her’.
‘What difference does it make if she’s 14 or 40, she has to carry on the tradition,’ she asked her husband Joe, who said he didn’t want to see their daughter ‘wasting her life’ by marrying young.
Lee Ann added that she wasn’t against Mary having a child at 14, claiming that if she waited until she’s any older than 18 to get married, then she would not be ‘wanted anymore’ by any ‘good gypsy boy’.
The series is causing a stir after being released for the first time on streaming services including Amazon Prime.
Traveller Lee Ann and her gorger husband Joe, are torn about their daughter Mary’s (pictured) future in Season six, episode six of Gypsy Brides US
Lee Ann, who had been married to Joe for 15 years when the show was filmed, explained that she ‘loves’ being a gypsy because of its traditions including marriage without the potential for divorce.
She said: ‘When I went to marry my husband, my father stopped speaking to me. I had to make a choice between Joe and my family.
‘It was either marry the man that I love or have my family’s approval. Marrying outside of the community has affected my life in a big way.
‘I’m trash, i’m no good because of who I am. That’s what a lot of people think.
‘I want Mary to be a hundred per cent gypsy. It’s very important that Mary marries a Romanichal to keep the blood line and the traditions going.’
Joe described the gypsy culture as ‘strange’ and admitted that he didn’t want their daughter to embrace the traditions, but said it was ‘hard to win an argument with Lee Ann’.
Lee Ann (pictured) tells Joe that Mary’s 10th birthday party is an opportunity for her to meet future husbands who will help her to continue the Romanichal gypsy bloodline
For her part, Mary said that she enjoyed the fashion associated with being a gypsy, but was torn about her future.
‘They argue a lot about it. My mom wants me to clean and have children, take care of them. My dad really wants me to become a writer because I love to write,’ Mary said.
‘I just want to have both, I don’t want to just have one,’ she explained.
Over a family dinner, Lee Ann took the opportunity to explain her plans for Mary’s birthday party, despite opposition from Joe.
‘I think it needs to be for her to meet future husbands, for their families to get a look at her,’ Lee Ann said.
‘Of course she’s not ready yet, but you know’
Joe turned to Mary saying that he would spend the next six years trying to talk her out of getting married young.
Lee Ann is left devastated when none of her family attends Mary’s (pictured) 10th birthday party and threatens to cut contact if they don’t come
Lee Ann added that the traditional birthday party was also important for her to get her family back.
While Mary was out of the room, Lee Ann confronted Joe about not taking her arrangement seriously.
‘If you had it your way, by the time you think she’s ready. She’s never going to find a good gypsy boy,’ she said.
‘If she waits any longer than 18, she’s not going to be wanted anymore. That’s the way it’s done.
‘Who’s to say that she can’t still live her life, get married, have kids and be a Romanichal and still go to school?’
But Joe argued against Mary having to ‘stay at home scrubbing the house all day, wasting her life’.
Joe comforts Lee Ann (pictured) as she vows to no longer associate with being a gypsy because her family didn’t come to Mary’s party
Lee Ann added that she’d be fine with Mary having a child at 14, if that’s what she wanted to do.
However Joe dubbed the idea ‘crazy’, saying: ‘She’s not a piece of meat. I’m not doing it, you’re not pawning her off to somebody.
‘It’s a party for a little girl, I’ll be damned if she’s going to be surrounded and hounded by guys all night. Gypsy or gorger I don’t care who they are. A guy is a guy and she’s a 10-year-old girl.’
On the day of the party Mary gushed about feeling like a princess after choosing a ballroom dress complete with lights.
However, Lee Ann was left devastated when none of her family attended the occasion and Mary walked into a hall with very few people.
Visibly emotional she said: ‘Nobody comes. I’m done. They can all kiss my fat a**. I don’t want nothing to do with none of them. Not a single one and I’m no longer a gypsy.’