“We’ve stayed really normal and down to Earth I think, and haven’t let the success thing go to our head.” – Ashley Olsen
“We have been trying to teach the media that it’s ‘Mary-Kate’ and ‘Ashley’ Olsen since we were 12 years old. I guess… I guess you just learn to accept it.” – Mary-Kate Olsen
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are a staple when we think of things like Full House and, well, celebrity and style icons. They’ve been in the acting world almost since they came out of the womb and haven’t looked back since. How could they? The twins don’t know anything else. Their lives have played out in front of cameras and TV screens worldwide, both the good and the bad. But, at the end of the day, they’re just like us: human. They’ve created a multi-million dollar empire for themselves and have remained intensely private about their lives and loves. What makes these sisters tick? And who’s older anyway? Stick around to find out!
39. Show Us Your Teeth!
While they were playing Michelle Tanner on Full House, the Olsen twins sported dentures. No, really! Remember: they’re twins, not the same person. They were losing their baby teeth at different times, and in order for the show to keep its consistency, the decision was made to have the girls wear dentures. That way, no matter who had baby teeth and who had adult teeth, they both had the same pearly whites. When you think about it, it totally makes sense.
38. One Girl or Two?
If you check out the credits for the early seasons of Full House, you may think you’re seeing a typo when it comes to their names, since they appear as “Mary-Kate Ashley Olsen.” This wasn’t an accident, it was on purpose. The producers didn’t want anyone to know that they had twins playing the one role.
37. There’s No Crying in Hollywood, Unless It’s on Cue
So, just how did the twins land that big break on Full House anyhow? They didn’t cry. No, really, that’s how they landed the role that changed their lives. There were about 20 other babies who were vying for the role of Michelle Tanner, and the Olsens were the only ones who didn’t put up a fuss.
36. We See What They Did There
Maybe there was another reason why the girls snagged the Michelle Tanner role: labor laws. These strict laws prohibited children from working for longer than 20 minutes, at which point they required a break. If you have two babies, you can film longer since you could just switch them out. Sneaky!
35. All in the Family
The twins have a sister named Elizabeth who’s also in the acting business (and currently stars as The Scarlet Witch in the Marvel films), but they also have a brother named Trent who decided having famous twin sisters could be used to his advantage. How? Well, he sold photos signed by his sisters in elementary school.
34. Who’s Who, Anyway?
So, they’re not actually identical. They’re fraternal! Just look closely and you’ll notice a few different things. Ashley is a bit shorter and has a light freckle just above her mouth, while Mary-Kate’s lips are a bit thinner and she has wider eyes than Ashley. Mary-Kate is also a lefty while Ashley is right-handed, which meant Michelle Tanner had to be ambidextrous. Oh, and Ashley is likely to tell you that she’s the older of the two, by two minutes.
33. It’s All in the Subtleties
As they got older, Mary-Kate and Ashley started showing differences in their physical looks. The producers of Full House wanted to go exclusively with Mary-Kate for Michelle, but both sisters insisted they keep swapping out on screen.
32. The Secret Lives of the Olsen Twins
You won’t find them on any social media. Sorry folks–there won’t be any double taps from them. As we’ve mentioned, they prefer to live private lives, and social media is basically the opposite. “We’ve spent our whole lives trying to not let people have that accessibility, so it would go against everything we’ve done in our lives to not be in the public,” Mary-Kate said once in an interview.
31. Walk on Their Fame
Both Ashley and Mary-Kate would share an honor together: a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They received it on April 29, 2004. It’s a little nutty it took them that long to get it!
30. More Souvenirs Than One Could Ever Dream of
Up until the year 2000, you could have paid to be in “Mary-Kate & Ashley’s Fun Club” where you could get a whole heap of things any fan could ever want. In addition to things like hats, t-shirts, key rings, posters, school folders, lyric sheets for the girls’ songs and a photo with their reprinted autograph, you also would have a subscription to the fan-club exclusive magazine, Our Funzine.
29. One Is Enough
The Full House reboot, Fuller House, went ahead without Mary-Kate and Ashley. When executive producer Bob Boyett was gathering the cast together, the twins were straight up with him. Ashley said, “[I haven’t] been in front of a camera since I was 17, and I don’t feel comfortable acting,” and Mary-Kate added “it would have to be me because Ash doesn’t want to do it. But the timing is so bad for us.”
28. Seeing Double
The girls actually appeared on camera together four times on Full House. On one such occasion, in an episode called “Greek Week,” Mary-Kate got to play a cousin, Melina. She even got to change up her look by wearing a black wig.
27. Kindergarten Producers
The pair have built an empire for themselves, there’s no doubt about that. But did you know that they were the youngest producers in Hollywood? True story! They marked that incredible feat in 1992 when they were just six years old. And their company, Dualstar, does pretty well for itself. Apparently it’s worth about a billion dollars, which makes perfect sense when you realize it produces movies, TV shows, magazine, and movies, just to name a few.
26. Sharing Is Caring
When they were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, naturally they had to share it. In having just the one star, they became the first set of twins to do so.
25. One Name or Two?
Have you ever wondered if they have middle names? Well, one does and the other technically doesn’t. Mary-Kate has that hyphenation, so we suppose that’s two names rolled into one. That leaves Ashley. Oddly enough, her middle name is Fuller, like the recent spin-off Fuller House that the girls aren’t actually a part of.
24. Who Did It Actually Belong To?
We rarely see one girl without the other. Even the girls acknowledge just how much time they’ve spent in each other’s company throughout their lives. Surprisingly, it’s taken a hit on their memories. In an interview with Vogue, they said, “we don’t know what actually happened to whom. One of us was stung by a bee, but we can’t remember who, because we both felt it.”
23. Surprisingly, They Can’t Do It All
They’re great actors, and quite obviously great businesswomen, but there is something that they admit they’re not great at: singing. Ashley admitted the fault while the two appeared on Ellen in 2014.
22. Just Horsing Around
Something Mary-Kate is good at? Horseback riding. Her horse, Marvelous, competed in the 38th Hampton Classic Horse Show, and won! The following year, MK competed herself. She also has two other horses, Star and CD, that have won prizes. Ashley, on the other hand, isn’t a fan of horseback riding; she isn’t a fan of getting dirty. She does like playing golf and tennis, though. Mary-Kate got into horseback riding while filming the movie To Grandmother’s House We Go.
21. SNL or Prom?
If you have to miss prom, what do you think the next best thing is? Well, for the Olsens, they had a really good reason to miss theirs: they were co-hosting Saturday Night Live. And they got to have a prom of sorts during one of the skits. Jimmy Fallon and Will Forte played their dates! You win some, you lose some, right?
20. Pretty Little Neighbor
They had a familiar face grow up across the street from them: Troian Bellisario of Pretty Little Liars fame. Eventually, though, the Olsens moved away and they lost touch with their friend. Have no fear! Bellisario had a small part with the girls in Billboard Dad, which went straight to video.
19. No Love Lost
The girls also knew another celebrity, of sorts: Spencer Pratt. Best known for being on The Hills, it seems like he wasn’t the greatest of people in high school. The three often attended the same parties and didn’t make the best of decisions. Pratt managed to get a photo of Mary-Kate not looking her best and wound up selling it for $50,000 to the tabloids. For her part, she told David Letterman that Pratt often had tantrums during soccer games.
18. Out in the Open, Just This Once
Since she was young, Mary-Kate has struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. It’s one of the few things that either of the girls are open about, as they’re known for being very private. She once mentioned it while studying at New York University, saying “I get extra time to take the test because of my ADD. Everybody’s brains work differently and I just need longer for things to register.”
17. Nude Runnings
Mary-Kate loves to run, but not outside. No, she prefers to run indoors, as that way she doesn’t have to worry about weather or paparazzi following her around. Oh, we should also mention what she likes to wear when she’s running: nothing. Literally–she doesn’t wear anything! “I run around my house naked with heels all the time,” she said in a 2007 interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s so funny. All my friends will tell you I love running around in kimonos and jewelry or naked with jewelry.”
16. Let Me Just Get My Sunglasses First
Maybe when she’s running, Mary-Kate likes to wear her engagement ring. When boyfriend Olivier Sarkozy proposed, he did so with an $81,000 vintage Cartier ring. Can you see it from space? I want to say yes. The pair married in 2015 after three years together, and Mary-Kate became insta-stepmom to Sarkozy’s children. Oh, and he just happens to be 17 years older.
15. Keeping It on the Down Low
When Mary-Kate and Sarkozy did marry, it was under odd circumstances. Only about 50 close friends and family were there–which did not include anyone from Full House, may I add. There are no photos of the nuptials as everyone had to leave their phone at the door and none were ever released publicly. What’s even more weird? There were bowls of cigarettes at everyone’s table.
14. Tick Tock Went the Clock
Most people like to count down to the new year. Then there’s this: there were numerous clocks online counting down the time until the Olsen twins turned 18–and became legal. Super creepy, right?
13. Two Twins Plus Four Ears Equals Infection Overload
Generally speaking, girls have their ears pierced when they’re babies, but the sisters both had theirs done when they were 10. The only problem? Both sets of ears became infected. What are the odds of that happening? They’d go another six years before getting them pierced again.
12. When Nips and Tucks Go Seriously Wrong
Incredibly, both girls have had cosmetic procedures done. One facelift in particular didn’t go so well for Ashley, who had a bad reaction. Her face swelled and was all bruised with something called necrosis, where not enough blood gets to the skin, which then starts to die. She had to undergo oxygen therapy to treat it and was back to normal about a week later.
11. Shows Like New
Do you ever have the dream of owning a penthouse in New York that you never actually live in? No? Just me? Well, the Olsen twins had more than just a dream–that was real life. They sold their Manhattan penthouse in 2005 for a cool $7.3 million without ever having even lived there.
10. They’ll Take a Mall Any Day
Both girls admit they don’t buy anything online. “I prefer to see, touch, feel, and experience,” Ashley said of shopping in-person. So, there you go, maybe one day you’ll run into the twins between the racks of a clothing store.
9. No Furry Friends
The girls have their own fashion line called The Row, which includes some controversial pieces, namely the ones that have fur. PETA took offense to that, stating that the girls are “no talent fur hags” and “nauseating, pesky, and terrible” on their website.
8. Can’t Find It? Make It Yourself
The Row actually started because Ashley wanted the perfect t-shirt. Seems simple doesn’t it? She wanted the t-shirt to be available for women of all sizes and ages, not just one specific group. The Row has gone on to create cotton sateen leggings, a cashmere wool tank dress, and even accessories like handbags, shoes, and sunglasses. They also have three other fashion lines: Elizabeth and James, Olsenboye and StyleMint.
7. Burn It all Away
With everything that happens around them, the twins have sought natural ways of dealing with stress. They use crystals for healing and sage to remove any negative energy or auras.
6. Too Much, Too Soon
Unfortunately, all of that fame the girls had so early in life took its toll on their parents’ marriage. Their mom initially got them into the entertainment world, but she likely had no idea just how big her daughters would become–and really, how could she? She and the girls’ dad divorced in 1995 as a result of the stress. The whole thing, whether true or exaggerated, played out in The Unauthorized Full House Story.
5. Suffering in Silence
The fame game not only split the family apart with the divorce of the Olsens’ parents, it also went after Mary-Kate’s self image. It was really first noticed when she was 16 that there was an eating disorder at work, but it would be another two years before she was checked in to rehab for the disease. As far as we can tell, she’s happy and healthy these days.
4. That’s a Secret We’ll Never Know
Mary-Kate had a high-profile yet almost off-the-radar friendship with Heath Ledger just before his death. While the police were investigating the circumstances surrounding his death, they discovered the pair were dating and brought her in for questioning. Since Ledger had died of a drug overdose, the police wanted to know where the drugs came from. Mary-Kate’s lawyer told them she would talk, but only if she was given immunity.
3. The Unknown Disease
Mary-Kate isn’t the only one of the two who’s had to deal with some bad things in life. Ashley actually suffers from Lyme disease, and wasn’t aware of it until years after contracting it. As a result, Ashley suffers from a lack of energy combined with horrible headaches, joint pain and rashes. One rumor goes that she didn’t want to sign on for Fuller House because of the disease.
2. Blowing a Gasket
There was someone on set who had some issues with the girls, and it may surprise you to find out who. John Stamos once freaked out when both girls, still very young, started crying. They wouldn’t stop, and he yelled for the producers to effectively fire them and get them off the set. Two other babies came in to take their place. Stamos referred to the replacements as “unattractive redheaded kids” and eventually Mary-Kate and Ashley were brought back. Maybe everyone was just having a bad day?
1. Honors for One
Only Mary-Kate has been nominated for an Emmy. Despite both sisters starring in the show So Little Time, the Emmys only acknowledged Mary-Kate for her acting. If Ashley was upset, she never let it show in public; she only had praise for her sister’s skills.