Gypsies are mostly known for their free-spirited nature, and the women of the Stanley family have certainly shown no inhibitions with their over-the-top celebrations, fights and relationships as shown in TLC’s “Gypsy Sisters,” a spin-off series from “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.” Viewers couldn’t get enough of them, once they got over the shock of seeing how wild and crazy the ‘Stanley Sisters’ could be, after the show was launched in 2013. It was canceled in 2015 after four seasons, and many were curious as to what the sisters have been up to, considering that the drama never seemed to end in their family.
About the show
The Stanley Sisters of Martinsburg, West Virginia
Nettie Stanley, Laura Johnston, Kayla Williams, and Mellie Stanley were featured in season one of “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” in 2012. They made quite an impression, perfect for reality TV, as they talked without filter, and behaved outrageously, whether they were in the privacy of their own homes or out in public. Case in point – Mellie engaged in a brawl with a cousin of Alyssa, her nephew Heath’s bride, outside the courtroom right after the wedding. She hated Alyssa for disrespecting Nettie, Heath’s mother, by talking behind her back. Alyssa couldn’t stand her future mother-in-law, and said, ‘I do hate her because she’s a two-faced bitch.’
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TLC then aired a one-hour special about them called “The Stanley Sisters,” and it turned out to be a backdoor pilot for their own reality show, “Gypsy Sisters.” As their daily lives were chronicled in the TV series, the viewers found all their craziness to be surreal, and it fascinated them no end.
Their relationship can be confusing at times, so here’s the gist of what they are to each other: Nettie and Mellie are the daughters of Lottie Mae Stanley, who landed on America’s Most Wanted list in 2003 for multi-state bank fraud, and was incarcerated for nine years in 2004.
I’m just being me for Know I’m no more faking to please overs my life if me and my family pic.twitter.com/t2GcWM7WwB
— Mellie Stanley (@melliestanley89) November 9, 2018
Lottie’s sister, Jettie Matthews, is the mother of Kayla and Gus, the husband of Laura. Nettie and Kayla were raised as sisters, with the former acting as the family matriarch as she took care of everyone, and liked to meddle in their affairs. Mellie admitted to being the black sheep of the family. Kayla claimed to be a proper Gypsy wife as she said, ‘I cook, clean, and raise my kids, and my husband rewards me with bling.’ Laura said her life revolved around shopping, tanning, and looking hot for her husband.
More family members were introduced in the series such as JoAnn and Dovie (Nettie’s sisters), Annie (Kayla’s sister), and Dallas and Nuckie (Nettie’s daughters). They added to the chaos that often ensued for one reason or another. Most, if not all of them, were aggressive and loved to fight, but claimed that they always forgive and forget.
“Gypsy Sisters” cancelation
People who had become addicted to high drama and jaw-dropping altercations that led to down-on-the-floor fighting, were disappointed when it was announced that the network pulled the plug on the TV series in July 2015, citing a decline in ratings as the reason. Around 1.4 million watched the season one finale, and its numbers might not have increased significantly in the succeeding seasons, but were still respectable for a reality TV show. Avid fans could not help but speculate on the real cause for its cancelation.
Some believed that it had something to do with the death of a puppy. An argument erupted between Mellie and her then-husband, Randall “Scott” Vuncannon, over rent money as she wanted him to be more responsible and help pay the bills. Things escalated, and Scott vented his anger at the dog, which barked at him and tried to bite his leg, so he threw it against the wall. According to a police report, a 911 call was made to report a domestic dispute in progress – a man was beating a woman in the street before leaving the scene. The police responded to the call, and found Mellie crying as she said, ‘He killed my dog.’ An account of what happened was posted on her Facebook page, but was later deleted. Scott was said to have been arrested and charged with animal cruelty resulting in death. For whatever reason, it appeared that he wasn’t charged with assault on Mellie, despite the initial report of him beating her up. Scott wasn’t under contract with the network, and the incident, which occurred in July, wasn’t filmed.
When TLC said that it was time to move on, perhaps they didn’t want to deal with the ramifications of this tragic event, and all the other things that could go wrong in the lives of the Stanley sisters, as they seemed to have a penchant for trouble.
What happened to the cast of “Gypsy Sisters”?
She only appeared in season one of the TV series. A man claiming to be her husband, Gus, wrote on someone else’s Facebook page that he didn’t want Laura to film anymore. According to a source close to them, the decision to leave the show was made by the couple, and not Gus alone.
Once out of the spotlight, Nettie has been focusing more on her family. As the eldest of 10 siblings, with a mother on the run for six years before being imprisoned for nine, she had the tough job of looking after them. She has nine children from three marriages. After a decade of being married to her husband, Huey Williams, who has a successful paving business, they renewed their wedding vows in 2014 and they are still together. Her Instagram posts were mostly about Huey, her gypsy sisters, kids, and grandkids, and how proud she was of them. Nettie also posted about having a new home, hoping it would be finished by March 2021.
Some attributed her retreat from the public eye to the tragic death of her stepson, Rocky, in March 2015. It was reported that 22-year-old Rocky was involved in an altercation that turned physical, over a basketball game at a YMCA parking lot in Kingsport, Tennessee. He sustained multiple stab wounds and was rushed to the hospital, but died shortly after; his daughter was born less than 24 hours after that. The suspect turned himself in, and was arrested for first-degree murder. However, he received a not guilty verdict, as the stabbing was done in self-defense since it was Rocky who reportedly attacked first.
In April 2017, Nettie’s 15-year-old daughter Chasitie Collier lost control of the car she was driving, and it hit a light pole at 40mph. Unfortunately, two children of her sister Dallas were with her in the car; baby London was said to have been unharmed, but Richard’s leg was broken in two places. That day, Chasitie was at Dallas’ home, and was left to babysit her children. Nettie defended Chasitie from those who blamed her for what happened; she said that Dallas was at fault for leaving her kids, and further said that the people whom Chasitie visited never called Nettie, knowing fully well that she wasn’t allowed to drive at her age. Chasitie sustained minor injuries, but she was more worried about the possibility of spending one to 10 years in juvie.
The public was aware of how tumultuous Nuckie Williams’ relationship had been with Pookie. She was 14 when she started dating 16-year-old Pookie, and they ran away after that, only to break-up after a year. They reconciled, and she married him at 16 and had a baby, Pookie Jr. She left him and her son to be with a boyfriend, who was said to be a heroin addict, and see the world. Pookie tied the knot with Samantha, but they later divorced. He and Nuckie got back together, and she gave birth to Ivory in 2017, and Delilah in 2019. However, things again ended between them. Based on the marriage certificate that Nettie posted on her Instagram, her daughter Nuckie married Jacob Cole Edwards in August 2020.
23-year-old Dallas has been in a relationship with 24-year-old James “Jay” Malone for seven years, since she was 15. Things had not been easy between them at the start, considering that after she had given birth to their first child, he left her and married her cousin Annie, with whom he had two more children. He later left Annie to be with Dallas again. She also had relationships with two other men, and had a kid with each of them.
A huge fight broke out at Nuckie’s bridal shower, when Annie and Mellie showed up uninvited. Dallas and Nuckie rushed toward the car, and Nettie had to break up the fight to save Annie. Reportedly, the producers of the show put pressure on Mellie and Annie to go there, as they needed (even more) additional drama footage, and gave the latter the assurance that she would be protected, since she was worried that she would be attacked.
On Jay and Dallas’ wedding day, she and her mother argued over the color of her lipstick, dimming her excitement, and she ended up going to the venue alone, minus the gown train. They later made up, Nettie saying that they had ups and downs, and the love that overcomes everything. Jay said, ‘It feels good to be married to Dallas and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m extremely happy.’ She said that seeing Jay at the altar made it the best day of her life.
After her marriage to her cousin Josh had failed, she moved on to marry Jay, who had a child with her cousin Dallas. With Jay going back and forth between the two, they soon went their separate ways. While the divorce was yet to be finalized, Annie, who’s in her early 30s, then had a relationship with 19-year-old Lushy Cooper, who was in jail in New York, and was waiting for his release, so that she could become Mrs Cooper.
My heart ❤️🥳 pic.twitter.com/uaNFzRTGa0
— Gypsy Sisters Annie (@AnnieJohnston12) January 31, 2020
In January 2017, shortly after Annie shared online the photos of the Armani sunglasses and a Louis Vuitton bag she bought on her trip to New York, she was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, such as obtaining and conspiring to obtain property under false pretenses, exploitation of an elderly person’s trust, and forgery of checks. Those arrested with her were Jeanette “Jett” Small, who had been engaged to Lushy the previous year, and Dick “Bubba” Cooper, Jett’s husband and Lushy’s brother. It was reported that the three did yard work for an elderly resident in Halifax County, and as they were allowed to fill out the amount on the checks, they overcharged the resident with close to $6,000. It was her cousin Mellie who posted her $400 bail. Based on her Instagram page, Annie has remarried and lived happily with him and her five children.
As a middle child, JoAnn was described as being the good-natured one, with an easygoing personality. Many were surprised when she was arrested in 2014, and charged with obtaining and conspiring to obtain property under false pretenses. While on vacation in Cary, North Carolina, she scammed Target out of thousands of dollars of merchandise with the help of a couple of their young cashiers as they ran fake barcodes, cashed gift cards, and forced expired coupons. JoAnn turned herself in after a warrant of arrest had been issued, and was released after posting bail. She pleaded guilty and was given 24 months probation on top of paying Target over $14,000 in restitution.
She and Richard had been married for 17 years before they called it quits in 2014. Kayla had moved on, and was linked to several guys including Tyler Mumaw, Adam Prather, and Doug Cooper; she reportedly married the last two, neither of which lasted. She tied the knot with Benny Small in 2018, and it appears that their marriage is still going strong. As a testament to that, they professed their love for one another on Valentine’s Day 2022, based on his Instagram post. In March 2022, he posted this as well: ‘My current relationship is my last, and I’m not ever giving up on it.’
However, it’s been said that Kayla was in an abusive relationship with her husband Benny. On her Instagram, photos of her and Benny were rare, as her posts were mostly about her children, grandchildren, and businesses including her clothing line called Gypsylicious by Kayla. People could only speculate that things are still okay between the couple, based on her recent posts, as they were about walking away, changing ways and standards for the better, since one cannot change someone who didn’t want to be changed. ‘I see me loving life single for a very long time,’ Kayla wrote.’
Most people called her crazy, especially when she’s drunk, as she easily gets into shouting matches and brawls wherever she may be.
She was nearly 17 when she ran away with Danny to marry. Things were great at first, but six months into the marriage, he beat her up and pounded her head into a tree after having caught her when she escaped from their trailer home, when he tried to lock her in. Mellie suffered more abuse, as she claimed that her family talked her into sticking it out with him as it was a gypsy tradition. When she’d had enough, she left and disappeared for a couple of years. She was 19 when she married a second time. Her husband wanted her to abort a pregnancy, but she refused, but was four months pregnant when she miscarried, two weeks after her husband beat her up after an argument.
Mellie had four children with four different men: She had Richie in 2013, with ex-husband Robbie York, in 2015, her daughter Brandy was born, with Nik Picolo as the father; Divinity Rose was born in 2016, with ex-husband George Lee Jr., and in 2020, she gave birth to her fourth child, Serenity Faye, with MJ West. It was said that only three of her kids are staying with her, as Brandy lives with her grandparents on her father’s side, but Mellie could visit her.
It's about that time! #WakeAndShake #310 #BabyWeightBeGone #GetHealthyWithMellie #GypsySisters 310 Nutrition
Some believed that motherhood had mellowed her, as she hadn’t been engaged in physical fights as she used to. However, Mellie was still getting into trouble, as she was arrested in 2017 along with her then-husband George Lee for a massive coupon scam. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2019 to five years’ probation, the terms of which included repaying Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us the amount of $18,000, and obtaining her GED. Some weren’t surprised by this, as she was exposed to a life of crime as early as 13, since her mother Lottie reportedly used her to gain the trust of young bank tellers, confusing them to release account information.
“Gypsy Sisters” Reboot
As early as 2017, rumors started spreading that TLC had plans of rebooting the TV series. It was said that Mellie posted online that the cast was approached to do “Gypsy Sisters” again. While she wasn’t sure about Nettie, she said that she, Annie, Kayla and JoAnn weren’t interested. Nettie shared a screenshot on her Facebook page of her alleged conversation with a producer of the show, about the possibility of her having her own show.
Apparently, fans couldn’t wait to see their favorite gypsy sisters on the small screen again.