Two of the biggest child stars of the 1990s, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen began acting on Full House before they were even old enough to talk. Since then, both their personal and professional lives have been the subject of much media attention, and despite the twins deciding to retire from acting back in 2012, the public still can’t help but wonder what these two media-shy sisters have been up to.
Meanwhile, their younger sister’s acting career seems to just be taking off. Though she was only a few years younger than Mary-Kate and Ashley, Elizabeth Olsen decided to postpone her desire to be a professional actor until adulthood, which seems to have paid off in spades now as she’s currently playing Scarlet Witch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But a lot has happened with the Olsen family between the earliest days of Full House and Elizabeth’s career revitalization. Every family has its problems, and when you add massive fame and fortune into the mix things can quickly spiral out of control. You’ve no doubt seen countless tabloid headlines about the Olsen family, but now it’s time to separate the fact from the fiction.
Here are 20 Dark Secrets You Didn’t Know About The Olsen Twins.
20. Mary-Kate and Ashley aren’t identical twins
It might be hard to believe, but Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are actually fraternal twins — not identical — meaning that they developed from two separate eggs and do not share the same DNA. Even still, it’s remarkable how much the two siblings look alike, which is one of the primary reasons that they were both cast to play Michelle Tanner on Full House.
Though it has become easier to tell the two apart as they’ve gotten older, the twins maintain that even from a young age people overplayed their similarities. In fact, Ashley is actually left-handed, while her sister is right-handed, and Ashley also claims to be taller and to have had a freckle on her upper lip (which has mysteriously disappeared with age).
But can you really tell them apart?
19. Mary-Kate was seeing Heath Ledger before his death
Though they have both been the subject of tabloid news, Mary-Kate seems to finds herself the subject of sensational headlines far more often than Ashley. A prime example of this came during the tragedy and fallout revolving around Heath Ledger’s untimely death.
The two were reportedly seeing each other in the months leading up to Ledger’s accidental overdose, though unnamed sources claimed the couple had no intention of making their relationship exclusive. To add to the confusion, the masseuse who found Ledger’s body actually called Mary-Kate multiple times before she decided to dial 911.
Despite being in California at the time, Mary-Kate arranged for some security guards to arrive on the scene, and erroneous reports began to circulate that Ledger had actually died in one of Mary-Kate’s apartments as a result.
18. Ashley’s battle with Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease is no laughing matter, and it can actually be a life-threatening illness when left untreated. Therefore, early detection is key to preventing a majority of the symptoms, which is not something that Ashley Olsen was afforded when she found out that she was already in the later stages of the disease.
In 2015, stories began to circulate that Ashley had already been battling the disease for years after the former actress showed up to a number of red carpet events looking frail. For those that may not know, Lyme disease is usually contracted through tick bites and can lead to a lack of energy, joint pain, severe headaches, and even loss of memory.
Considering this, it’s no wonder that Ashley has decided to move away from acting and pursue a career where she can work at her own pace while she continuous to battle this unrelenting condition.
17. Elizabeth is only on Instagram to make money
Often considered the most stable of the three sisters, Elizabeth Olsen took an active step away from acting during her adolescent years to focus on her education before she returned to the fray and secured roles in some of the biggest blockbusters of the last few years.
On top of that, Elizabeth maintains a fairly transparent relationship with the public — which may be a reaction to the wild rumors that often swirl around her media-shy sisters.
As a result, Elizabeth came clean about her reason behind having an Instagram account. While previously opposed to social media, Elizabeth joined Instagram to prepare for a role, only to find that having a massive following can also earn you a lot of money from sponsors. And on top of the extra cash, Elizabeth claimed that more face-recognition will ultimately help more people see her movies. Win-win.
16. Mary-Kate’s unconventional wedding and marriage
We’ve all seen the photos of Mary-Kate and her seemingly mismatched husband, Olivier Sarkozy, the French banker and half-brother of the former President of France. The couple’s 17-year age difference is definitely apparent — though not unheard of by Hollywood standards. But the fact that Mary-Kate is actually closer in age to her step-daughter is definitely awkward.
After a few years of dating, Olsen and Sarkozy tied the knot in 2015 at a ceremony that was small and devoid of other celebrities. While we certainly don’t blame them for wanting their privacy, the wedding reception reportedly featured some unconventional table decor: bowls filled with cigarettes. It was also said that the wedding guest smoked all night despite the ceremony being held indoors.
15. The twins had to wear fake teeth on Full House
Anyone that’s ever had to wear braces or retainers knows just how uncomfortable mouth gear can be at first. Now just imagine having to wear a similar device at the age of five while also having to memorize lines and perform in front of a live studio audience. It sounds like a nightmare to most of us, but this is exactly what Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had to do while playing Michelle Tanner on Full House.
The reason being is that even though the two fraternal twins looked an awful lot alike, their baby teeth couldn’t help but fall out at different times. Therefore, to preserve continuity from one scene to the next, the twins were both given dentures to where while acting.
While it makes complete sense, the whole thing still can’t help but seem rather bizarre.
14. Elizabeth declared Ashley her favorite sister
Not a whole lot of good can come from declaring one of your relatives “your favorite.” While it may make the loved one feel extra special, it while likely result in backlash from the rest of your family for a long time. But that didn’t stop Elizabeth Olson from declaring who her favorite sibling was during an appearance on Watch What Happens back in 2014.
The moment came when a caller asked her to pick between Mary-Kate and Ashley, citing that she also had two sisters and that you have to like one more than the other.
Elizabeth was quick to crown Ashley, citing that Mary-Kate forgot Elizabeth’s birthday that year — so there’s a good chance that the decision was a spur of the moment ordeal. Then Elizabeth quickly caught herself and said she should have declared her brother her favorite sibling to keep herself out of any headlines.
13. Plastic surgery rumors and alleged complications
Though Mary-Kate and Ashley haven’t admitted to undergoing any cosmetic procedures themselves, all you have to do it look at a few before and after photos of the twins to see that a number of their facial features have changed well beyond the natural effects of aging.
Though Mary-Kate’s appearance has had a far more dramatic change than Ashley’s, a number of plastic surgeons have said that it looks like both have at least undergone rhinoplasty to narrow out their noses. Additionally, Mary-Kate’s cheeks and jaw now appear more pronounced, suggesting a facelift.
However, it was actually Ashley’s possible facelift that made headlines a few years ago, when sources reported that a liquid facelift resulted in necrosis — a condition that causes bone tissue to die after inadequate blood supply, which makes it seem as though the risk of the procedure is far greater than any reward.
12. They declined to appear in Fuller House multiple times
When celebrities constantly become the subject of tabloid headlines, sometimes what they desperately need is a role that allows the audience to see that their humility (think Tom Cruise’s turn as the grotesque Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder). Thus, Fuller House could have been just the thing to revitalize the Olsen twins’ reputation, and we can only imagine the fun, albeit extremely corny jokes, that could’ve come with constantly swapping out the sisters.
But while the twins were asked multiple times to join the show, or even just appear for a cameo, they have continuously declined. John Stamos, who also produces Fuller House, even said that Mary-Kate lied when she claimed that she had just heard about the spin-off, despite the fact that she should have been told days before. This led to Stamos approaching Elizabeth for the role, which also never ended up working out.
11. Their super expensive clothing line
Despite not appearing on Fuller House and essentially retiring from acting altogether, that doesn’t mean the Olsen twins haven’t stopped working. Back in 2006, Mary-Kate and Ashley actually founded their own fashion label, known as The Row. While the twins didn’t want to be associated with their clothing at first, after the company began to gain massive popularity, it seems to have become the thing that they are most passionate about.
In fact, because the luxury fashion line is marketed to the extremely rich, the estimated net worth of The Row is around a whopping $1 billion — meaning that the twins have little need to take any acting roles for money. So while you might balk at a $6,000 coat or a $3,000 purse, it’s clear that the Olsen twins know how to run a successful business of their own.
10. Mary-Kate’s battle with anorexia
It’s a sad fact of reality that Hollywood culture overwhelming glorifies the “perfect body” — which often means excessive thinness for women and overt muscularity for men. And if you just so happened to grow up in that culture — like the Olsen twins and countless other child stars — you seem to have a higher likelihood to develop body dysmorphia or eating disorders.
This is an issue that Mary-Kate Olsen had to face head-on during her late teens, when the actress was admitted to rehab for anorexia shortly after her 18th birthday. Though her loved ones maintain that there was no single incident that prompted them to hold an intervention, they could see that Mary-Kate was becoming increasingly frail.
9. They have a non-famous brother
While most people have heard of Mary-Kate, Ashley, and Elizabeth, you may not have even known that the three sisters actually have an older brother. James Olsen, who often goes by his middle name Trent, was born on May 6th, 1984 — a couple years before the twins — making him the oldest sibling in the Olsen family.
While Trent had a number of cameos playing himself back in some of his sisters’ at-home releases throughout the mid-90s, it doesn’t look like he’s been too interested in pursuing an acting career of his own. Instead, Trent went on to attend the University of Southern California and eventually ended up working as a writer at Storm King Productions — a comic publisher that specialized in sci-fi and horror.
On top of that, Trent even lent his first name to Mary-Kate and Ashley’s newest clothing line, titled “Elizabeth and James.”
8. PETA hates them
While Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion line may be a hot commodity for the upper class, PETA has been continuously none too pleased with The Row’s ongoing use of fur and leather in their products.
In fact, PETA seems to have no qualms about blatantly slandering the twins — launching an entire site under the name “Meet the Trollsen Twins,” where they are repeatedly referred to as “Hairy-Kate and Trashley.” They even created a short video, titled “The Full House of Horror,” which features clips from Full House spliced together with animal cruelty footage.
Despite their disturbing methods, the organization does have a point: using rabbit fur and crocodile skin in luxury items will only incentivize more people to kill them in order to make money.
7. Mary-Kate’s “friend” sold a photo of her for $50,000
Reality TV star Spencer Pratt prides himself in being a troll, which can be seen in his appearances in everything from The Hills to Celebrity Big Brother. But before infamy, Pratt and Mary-Kate new each other through high school, though the Olsen twin maintains that the two weren’t exactly close friends.
Since then, the pair has been involved in an on-again-off-again public feud, which has involved Mary-Kate saying that Pratt “does not have a good temper” and Pratt saying that Mary-Kate is “the less cute twin.”
But it looks like all of this may have begun after this photo of a seemingly-drunk Mary-Kate surfaced when the actress was still underage. Spencer Pratt openly bragged to a reporter that he was the one who leaked the photo for $50,000 — but with the reality star looking anywhere for attention, you can never know if he was actually telling the truth.
6. They started acting before they were even a year old
Unlike a lot of parents of child stars, the Olsen twins mother, Jarnette, didn’t seem like she was overly interested in pushing her daughters into acting. However, she did have a friend who was a casting agent and ended up sending in a photo of Mary-Kate and Ashley after hearing that a show was looking for twins.
As the story goes, the twins secured the role of Michelle Tanner before they had even turned a year old simply because they did not cry during the audition. Of course, no one knew how big of a hit Full House would go on to become, and for fear that her daughters would become overwhelmed by fame, Jarnette almost decided to pull them from the series after season one. A pay raise prevented that from actually happening.
5. The twins are into crystals, sage, and spiritual cleansing
Unless you’re thoroughly interested in alternative medicine, there’s a good chance that you don’t know a ton about healing crystals or smudging — which is an act that usually involves burning sage for spiritual cleansing. However, in an online interview with Vogue, the twins revealed that they’re fully onboard with these alternative methods, with Mary-Kate saying that “I sage everything, all the time” and Ashley adding that “we do love crystals.”
While many people stand behind these healing properties, science has repeatedly claimed that the power of crystal therapy and sage burning are really in the eye of the beholder. Basically, if you think they will make you feel better than they will. So long as Mary-Kate and Ashley aren’t trying to forcing anyone else to use their methods, there’s no reason to stand in the way of what works for them.
4. Elizabeth almost quit acting due to her sisters’ controversies
After seeing the tumultuous upbringing that her twin sister experienced as a result of their fame, it makes sense that Elizabeth Olsen would question whether she wanted to follow in the same footsteps. This is no doubt why Elizabeth took a step back from show business in the mid-90s to focus on her education instead.
But after watching how the media and tabloids handled Mary-Kate’s struggle with anorexia, and how the paparazzi would endlessly stalk the twins, Elizabeth wasn’t sure that she ever wanted to return.
Luckily, after her sister’s public lives began to cool down, Elizabeth returned to the big screen with a breakout role in Martha Marcy May Marlene, which earned the youngest Olsen sister critical acclaim and proved that she was willing to forge her own path through Hollywood.
3. The twins created a $55,000 backpack covered in prescription pills
Outside of raising eyebrows over their expensive clothes and their continued use of animal pelts, the Olsen twins also received a fair share of backlash for this 2012 leather backpack.
On top of already being made out of Nile crocodile skin, the Olsen twins collaborated with famed artist Damien Hirst to create this prescription pill-themed extravaganza, which retailed at a staggering $55,000.
With the animal pelt, drug-glamorization, and ridiculously over-the-top price tag, the Olsen twins certainly succeeded in making their most offensive product to date — though who knows if that was even their intention. But maybe the most repulsive part of this whole story is that with only 12 backpacks available upon debut, there’s slim to no chance that the backpacks didn’t sell out immediately.
2. Their paparazzi photos inspired a bizarre art museum
After spending their entire adolescents in the limelight, we can’t blame the Olsen twins for wanting the paparazzi to leave them alone. Therefore, whenever a pic is snapped of the two twins outside of a red carpet event they’re often trying to shield their faces or turn their backs to the camera.
This inspired artist Laura Collins to turn these pictures into a collection of painting, which resulted in two NYC comedians making those paintings the backbone of a bizarre pop-up museum that debuted in an abandoned doctor’s office in Brooklyn.
By all accounts, “The Olsen Twins Hiding From The Paparazzi” exhibit was equal parts fascinating and unnerving, which featured Collins’s painting, interactive displays, a recreation of the “cigarette bowls” from Mary-Kate’s wedding, as well as nods to other socialites — all set within the remains of a defunct doctor’s office.
1. They’re tired of being famous
As if it wasn’t already apparent, the Olsen twins don’t seem overly pleased with the way their childhoods carried out. And can you blame them? They were basically thrust in front of cameras before they were even able to talk and were subsequently never able to live out a normal childhood. Mary-Kate has even gone so far to say that she wouldn’t wish her upbringing on anyone.
As a result, the Olsen twins have continued to move further and further away from the limelight. They hide from paparazzi, appear in very few interviews, and they don’t have any personal social media accounts.
Despite all of this, the twins and the remainder of the Olsen family continue to be a mainstay of the public’s fascination — for better or worse.
Did any of these dark secrets about the Olsen family surprise you? Let us know in the comments!
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