GYPSY SISTERS Mellie Stanley’s past marriages and childhood timeline

Gypsy Sisters Mellie Stanley

23-year-old wild child Mellie Stanley was the break out star of TLC’s popular reality series My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, eventually spawning a one-hour “Stanley Sisters” special (as well as the new reality series Gyspy Sisters) with her sister Nellie and cousins Kayla and Laura.

Though reality television is chock full of eyebrow raising shenanigans, few can compare to the jaw-dropping and headline-grabbing antics of Mellie Stanley! She drinks, she strips, she fights, and she ALWAYS says exactly what’s on her mind. Even among her outspoken Gypsy Sisters cast mates Mellie stands apart with her unpredictability and volatility. So what was it that caused her to be the way she is? A huge part is her amazingly unstable life that included watching her mother get arrested when Mellie was just 13, followed by hopping around between relatives and foster care before ending up in two different abusive marriages as a teenager.

Lottie Mae Stanley mug shot 2004As revealed on the show, Mellie’s mother Lottie Mae Stanley (mug shot photo on the right) was a professional con artist who was wanted by police in more than ten states for defrauding banks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by posing as other people. Needless to say, Lottie’s lifestyle dictated that she remain on the move, which made it difficult for her to have her very young children with her.

As a result, Mellie spent most of her childhood years being raised by her grandmother. At the age of twelve, Mellie began traveling with her mother and even participating in some of her scams. (You can read more details about the role Mellie was asked to play here.)

Lottie Mae was finally arrested when Mellie was just 13. In addition to Mellie, Lottie Mae also had two younger sons (5 and 8 at the time) with her. From our previous post on Lottie Mae’s criminal past:

Stanley also had four of her children in tow – among them two sons, 5 and 8, and a 13-year-old daughter, who police said sometimes accompanied her mother on bank jobs. Investigators said the girl had rolled wads of money – thousands of dollars – in her pockets when federal and local police descended on their home in a raid last week.

When Lottie Mae Stanley was arrested, Mellie was placed in foster care until she was 15 when her brother William took her in. At 16, Mellie moved back in with her grandmother before spending a month with Nettie.

Mellie Stanley's first husband Danny Cooper

Just shy of her 17th birthday Mellie married her first husband Danny Cooper (above). In an interview with back in May, Mellie opened up about her marriage to Danny, saying that the two ran away together just a few months after meeting and that things were perfect early on. But, things went downhill fast.

Mellie and Danny were married about six months when the two had a major argument. By this time Danny had installed locks on the couple’s trailer that prevented entry and exit without a key, and he locked Mellie in before leaving. Mellie was able to escape by kicking out a window, but her freedom was short-lived.

“He was there within two minutes because he was just right at the gas station across the street,” Mellie told “I climbed up in the tree because I knew I was dead. I knew if he got his hands on me that that would be the end of me.” But because she had cut her foot badly when kicking out the window, she wasn’t able to stay up in the tree. When she came down, “he started beating the hell out of me, like, pounding my head on the pine tree.”

After suffering even more abuse but returning each time — “My family talked me into going back to him … that was the gypsy tradition; you have to stick it out,” Mellie said — she finally had enough and took off in the middle of the night. “I just disappeared,” she said. “I didn’t let anybody know where I was going. I disappeared for like, two years.”

Gypsy Sisters Mellie Stanley as a teenager at 18
^ Mellie Stanley at 18

Mellie would get married again at 19 to another Danny (Danny Stanley), but believe it or not things didn’t get any better — they actually got worse. Mellie told that she got pregnant and when she revealed the news to her husband, he wanted her to have an abortion. “I said no, I’m not going to do that,” Mellie recalled. “So we had an argument and I woke up to him beating me. And then two weeks later, I had a miscarriage.” At the time Mellie was four months along.

Mellie never pressed charges for the abuse she suffered, saying, “Gypsies don’t believe in that.”

Here’s Mellie talking about her relationships and how they shaped her into a woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind:

“I was with a Rumney,” Mellie says in the clip. “I went through hell. If I didn’t bow down to everything he said, I would get beat up on.”

She then added, “I kept my mouth shut and did not open my mouth. So now, where everything has done been built up, I have the biggest mouth on me. And that’s where I come in to be the outcast, because I’m not going to put up with it — the sh*t being beat out of me. I hate what I’ve been through. I hate everything, and I do not want to talk about it no more.” At this point Mellie gets a bit emotional and covers her face with her hands, eventually removing them to reveal she has been crying.

Now Mellie is pregnant again, and although her relationship with the baby’s father Robbie didn’t work out (it’s still unclear whether Mellie and Robbie actually exchange vows, though it is clear that they did have a wedding ceremony complete with Mellie in a hot pink and leopard print wedding dress!), Mellie seems ready to own up to the responsibility. “I wasn’t ready for no kid. But it grows on you. And I figure I was old enough to lay down and spread my legs, so I’m old enough to spread them and have a kid,” she told Radar Online last week.

Gypsy Sisters Mellie Stanley pregnant

Mellie has been in a few relationships since she broke things off with Robbie, but currently appears to be single. Click here to find out more about her pregnancy — including her due date, the sex of the baby, and what name Mellie has picked out!

Gypsy Sisters airs Sunday nights on TLC at 9/8c.

  • Geniya

    she makes the cast of jersey shore look like high class people.

  • NotImpressed

    She’s disgusting. Posted pictures of her self at the strip club last night holding a pack of cigarettes. She’s obviously not changing her life very much.
    I feel so sorry for that innocent child she’s bringing into all of her craziness. 🙁

  • Her sisters name is Nettie, isn’t it?

    • kim


  • DeeDeDee

    I love a muffin top in supposedly sexy pictures…

    Eh. I think she’ll be a decent mom. Look at how much Snookie changed for her kid, right?

  • MaxwellWeeeee

    Too bad one does not have to take a test before bringing a new life into this world. I know reality TV is trash but having registered criminals touted as people with values is disgusting! Even Robbie has a nasty record.

  • Hoooly hot mess! But, I really do feel bad for the childhood & abusive relationships she’s had. That’s rough 🙁

    I wish the best for the baby, & hopefully Mellie’s more stable family members will help her raise the child. That’s a damn tough haul to do alone.

  • Jenn

    “I wasn’t ready for no kid….”
    If you can’t form a sentence that makes sense then please DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN! She is seriously disgusting. I would rather see a show with just Kayla and Laura to be honest. The problems in those marriages and their over controlling husbands would make a more interesting show then the hot mess that is Mellie. I watched years of that already and it was called the Jersey Shore.

    • J

      Don’t hate don’t read if you don’t like her….

  • Blue

    it’s too bad the bar just gets lower and lower with each new show. no wonder people look down on Americans when this is all they see.

  • SB

    Seems like she has been through a lot!
    She wil be a loving Mother.

  • Sue

    She’s a pig and acts like a sleeze…No man wants a girl like her. Hot Mess!

    • miss Moose

      she is loving and caring to animals, to her baby, and to her family (when she isn’t having a temper tantrum.) This girl is REAL. she has a good heart. People, this isn’t 1950 anymore, or Iraq either……. Young women have sex just like men do; it doesn’t make them bad or immoral, just natural. The critical people are scary misogynists (woman haters). Join the modern world where we DON’T stone women for doing what comes naturally. The people who need criticism are the awful men who feel it is their right to oppress and beat innocent women. We are not cattle, and you do not own us. Let’s move with the times, please, that old-style crap is over. Wake up women and stop accepting bad treatment — that’s a part of the problem; you have to stand up for yourself and say “no more.” get mad. ps mellie is a product of her environment. education was never encouraged, so she has very little. She had no decent parenting, nurturing or unconditional love. There were some significant traumas which occurred at fairly early ages……… She was not born angry and dysfunctional, she was made that way. Try and have a little understanding and compassion. I’d rather be around one girl like her than 20 of these superior acting, hater
      a-holes, who probably couldn’t survive what she’s had to endure. And for someone that you say is unable to attract a man, she’s been doing pretty well from where i sit. They may act like bums, but she seems able to attract very good looking guys (too bad they’re not worth keeping). i bet some of these girls are jealous, and that they couldn’t get a handsome man to save their lives.

  • no man would want someone like mellie but robby york did but his past isnt clean as a whistle, ive looked at his past and man hes got quite the list of charges that were brought on him in 2011 and no matter what a person has been dealt in life they can choose to change and reach out for help. I feel sorry for what mellie went through being beat up and stuff but she needs to find it in her heart to reach out for help

  • christopher

    To all the people bashing Mellie Stanley…shame on you! Put yourself in her shoes and imagine how you’d feel! God Bless you Mellie! Keep on going girl… ; )

    • J

      Thank you I agree

  • deadlights

    Its so funny watching this show, they act as though just because of their heritage they get discrimanted against, uh no its because you act like trash. You can have an education, class and still be proud of your heritage.

  • Nikki

    Well she chose those guys , why would a guy with class want you? If you got no class, people open your eyes before you get into relationships at least. She tries to act all big and bad, that stuff is played out she’s no changing nothing her kids will be just like her and you can tell her acting is a defense, boo hoo not feeling bad for you