Hollywood owes Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen a very big apology.

Somewhere, buried deep inside the minds of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen is a hazy memory of a time when they weren’t famous - hazy because the fraternal twins were thrust into the limelight at just nine months old.

The now 37-year-olds landed the role of Michelle Tanner on the sitcom Full House, allowing the audience to watch the two grow up on screen, going from incoherent babies to whip-smart toddlers. 

Watch: Demi Lovato And Drew Get Honest About Difficulties Of Growing Up As Child Stars. Post continues below.

Video via The Drew Barrymore Show.

Despite their tender age, everyone knew they were special, and it was that potential that made them the biggest teen stars of the early 2000s. A few short years after Full House concluded, the pair starred in 47 direct-to-video films, recorded 16 albums, created a fashion line, became two of the youngest executive producers in Hollywood history, and even had an animated show called Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action!.

Their projects helped them amass a combined net worth of $500 million, making them the youngest self-made millionaires and two of the richest teenagers in the world.

They were the richest teenagers in the world. Image: Getty.


Not bad for a career that was created by accident. Well, sort of.

According to Rolling Stone, their mother, Jarnette, sent a friend who worked at a casting agency a photo of the twins just to see what would happen. Because infants can only legally work for 20 minutes at a time, the twins were seen as an asset in the industry, because together, they can work for 40 minutes.

They ended up getting hired, and the rest is history. But despite the enormous fame and fortune, the two hated life in the spotlight, with Mary-Kate telling Marie Claire in 2010 that they felt like “little monkey performers.”


“I look at old photos of me, and I don’t feel connected to them at all,” she told the publication. “I would never wish my upbringing on anyone.”

It’s a story everyone is all too familiar with: Child stars being used and abused by Hollywood.

And for Mary-Kate and Ashley, it was no different. Media outlets like E! News posted creepy headlines leading up to their 18th birthday, rejoicing that they’re “Jailbait No More”. There was even a website called Twin Tracker that “cross-referenced the age of the Olsen Twins with the age of legal consent” in all 50 states across the US. 

A year before their 18th birthday, Ashley sat down with Rolling Stone and spoke about the moment journalist Connie Chung asked the sisters about their virginity, admitting to feeling “really angry and defensive”.

“I was like, ‘That’s personal. Why would you be asking a 16-year-old that question in the first place?”

Despite their enormous fame and fortune, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen didn't enjoy life in the spotlight. Image: Getty.


By the time they reached the age of 18, the twins had become accustomed to being sexualised and constantly harassed. They were a target in the eyes of pedophiles, who would sometimes be brazen enough to approach the teens on the street.

“We’ve seen some pretty weird stuff, like the big creepy men that follow you everywhere and say, ‘Can I have your autograph?’ and they’re like 40 years old and they’re sweating and they have these pictures of us when we’re like 12,” Mary-Kate said in an interview, describing an encounter with a man who was more than twice her age. 

It became normalised for comedians to make sexual innuendoes about them, and the media treated them like public property. 

Then, the eating disorder rumours began to circulate.

Reports started rolling in about Mary-Kate, with tabloids claiming that she was battling anorexia. However, things took a turn when the two sat down with Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Winfrey Show, with the host asking them to address the whispers head-on.

“I know a new rumour (that’s) recently surfaced has really upset you, right?” asked Oprah. “You know, the one about eating.”


Looking visibly uncomfortable, Ashley jumped in, telling Oprah: “Yeah, you know people are gonna write what they’re gonna write. We try not to read the good or the bad because it just comes with the territory. Either you’re too fat, too skinny and people are just gonna write what they–”

But before she could finish that thought, Oprah interrupted, asking her, “What size are you by the way?”

Ashley, who looked dumbfounded, asks, “Size?” before explaining that they’re both “petite” because of their height and that their clothes are tailored to fit them so they aren’t sure of their exact size.

After their appearance on the talk show - and a distasteful joke made on SNL about her eating disorder - Mary-Kate was admitted to rehab.

Comments about her body and how thin she was became a regular topic of discussion, and Ashley was left behind to answer invasive questions about her sister.

Throughout their time in the spotlight, the twins were regularly hounded for doing everyday things. Their appearance was scrutinised and their love life was always under a microscope. So it makes sense as to why they retired from fame.

Fast forward to the present, the twins have left Hollywood behind to focus on other business ventures. Image: Getty.


Fast forward to the present, and Mary-Kate and Ashley remain firmly out of the spotlight, having quit acting to run the billion-dollar company Dualstar Entertainment Group, which is home to luxury fashion brands The Row and Elizabeth and James. 

The twins have always gravitated towards the fashion industry, but it’s not just their passion for clothes and accessories that led them down that path. It’s also because of how Hollywood treated them when they were in their prime. 

Now, the most we’ll get from them is an appearance at The Met Gala, and honestly? It’s probably for the best.

Feature image: Getty.

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