Brian Laundrie’s parents have been spotted for the first time since the debut of The Gabby Petito Story movie on Lifetime.
The film – which follows the story of Petito and Laundrie on their ill-fated cross-country road trip – has received significant backlash in the days following its October 1 premiere.
Both Roberta and Christopher Laundrie were spotted outside of their North Port, Florida home on Monday.
Roberta wore a big floppy hat as she walked to get into a pickup truck parked in the Laundrie’s driveway.
Christopher, meanwhile, appeared to be looking around the property following Hurricane Ian before joining Roberta in the truck.
Their home had been hit along the storm’s path but doesn’t appear to be damaged.
The Laundries have kept a low profile amidst various lawsuits being pursued against them by the Petito family, as well as the Lifetime film’s premiere.
‘A BAD AFTER-SCHOOL SPECIAL’
The Gabby Petito Story premiered on Saturday, October 1, with Skyler Samuels playing Gabby and Evan Hall acting as Laundrie.
Both actors have faced significant backlash for participating in the film.
“I honestly don’t know what I think of this. I feel like I’m watching a bad after-school special,” wrote one person on Twitter. “And Gabby seemed more timid in real-life than she is in this movie.”
“They already got a show about Gabby Petito? Seems gross,” wrote another.
“This #GABBYPETITO movie is very cringe. I can honestly imagine Brian being weird like this character playing him. He gives jealous narcissist.”
Other viewers took shots at the actors being “too old” to play Gabby and Laundrie.
“Why did they cast thirty year olds that look old to play Gabby Petito and Brian???” wrote one person.
“Watching the Gabby Petito Story and the actors playing Gabby and Brian look about 10 years older than they were in real life,” said another with a laughing emoji.
‘THIS IS ACTUALLY SOMEONE’S DAUGHTER’
Other actors have defended their decisions to act in the film.
Douglas Taurel, who plays Gabby’s father Joe Petito, spoke exclusively to The U.S. Sun about his decision to accept his role.
Taurel admitted that he had ignored the case that captivated the country last summer until he was cast in the film.
“When the story came out, I saw it on TV, I was just like the rest of the nation, but I ignored it mainly because I didn’t want to watch it as a TV show because I knew that was someone’s family,” Taurel said.
“I know people were talking about it, blogging about it, and I just felt like, this is actually someone’s daughter. I don’t need to watch his tragedy.”
Once he was cast in the role, Taurel began researching the details of the story of the doomed young couple, and used his own experience as a father-of-two to get into the mindset of Joe Petito, who the nation got to know as a father desperately searching for his daughter.
“What I deduced from watching [Joe’s interviews] over and over, is that he had a public and private persona,” Taurel shared. “Privately he probably was a mixture of angry and emotional, sadness and frustration, but in public, he needed to present this strength not only for himself and his family but also for Gabby.
“I don’t know when is the right time. As an actor, you just step into the role that you’re presented and you try to present it with as much integrity, truth, and honesty as you possibly can,” Taurel said of the movie’s timing.
“At some point, the story’s going to have to be told, and I think the main thing is to raise awareness about violence against women, to underscore that important message for all women.”
While the Petito family did not give their approval for the movie, Taurel said he would want them to know the project was meant to honor Gabby.