Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen truly grew up before our eyes. The American public met the iconic twins when they were just nine-months-old when they debuted on Full House. Fast-forward 32 years later, and the twins are almost completely unrecognizable.
These twins made it big on Full House, but it was all downhill from there. There’s the breakdown of their family, entering the controversial party scene, and even a mysterious death. Continue on to watch the Olsen twins grow up, see what they look like today, and find out why Hollywood doesn’t seem that interested in them anymore.
Born To Be Stars
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were born on June 13, 1986, in Sherman Oaks, California. Ashley is older, but only by two minutes. Like most twins though, we’re sure she always makes sure to remind her younger sister who’s the boss.
The twins were always smiley and giggly, which made their parents wonder from the start if they had a future in show business.
Not So Identical
Even though the two are nearly identical, they’re actually fraternal twins. Fraternal twins are the pair you see that look very different, or one is male and one is female.
Even though they’re fraternal, Mary-Kate and Ashley look incredibly similar. That’s why their father Dave thought he could have the twins work in Hollywood.
The First Twins Of Their Kind
At only nine months old, Mary-Kate and Ashley landed their first starring role as Michelle Tanner on the ABC sitcom, Full House. The Olsen twins were the first of their kind.
They were only chosen was because of new labor laws that restricted children to working a maximum of 20 minutes before having a break. With two kids, the producers could get double the acting.
Charming Hollywood One Episode At A Time
Since the girls were the first of their kind, the producers actually wanted to hide the fact the role was played by twins. The producers initially credited them as "Mary-Kate Ashley Olsen."
fter Full House hit it big, press tours and interviews revealed Michelle Tanner was played by the most charming twins in Hollywood.
Now They Start To Take Over The World
By 1989, Michelle Tanner began to gain some speaking roles. Delivering one-liners like "You got it, dude!" cemented the twins in the hearts of viewers across America.
The show even began to write storylines around Michelle Tanner because she was so popular with viewers. The Olsen twins were just starting to take the world by storm.
Michelle Tanner’s Fashion Would Change Their Life One Day
Michelle Tanner’s looks were incredibly influential for the girls at the time. The character was often dressed in children’s items from big-name designers like Chanel and Marc Jacobs.
It wasn’t exactly an All-American look, but the producers’ emphasis on fashion would make a big difference later in life.
Trying New Things
By 1992, the twins were ready to branch out and try new things. They landed their first gig outside of Full House that year when they released their first album “Brother For Sale.”
Although the two weren’t naturally singers, the album was a hit with young kids and introduced the twins to a new market.
After the success of their album, the Olsen twins’ dad-turned-manager started working them double time.
While the girls filmed Full House, they also completed multiple movies like To Grandmother’s House We Go (1992), Double Double Toil and Trouble (1993), and How The West Was Fun (1994). That’s a lot of work!
Breaking Records And Taking Names
The success of their films prompted the girls to create their own production company, Dualstar. The girls are still the CEOs of the company, and it allowed them to become the youngest producers in history.
They were only six-years-old when they were credited as producers on To Grandmother’s House We Go.
Finding Their Way Into Our Home Video Collections
On top of filming Full House and releasing multiple movies, the Olsen twins began making video series’.
Any young girl growing up in the ’90s remembers the episodes from their detective series The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley, and their slumber party series You’re Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley’s.
Life After Full House
Full House ended after eight seasons in 1995, and the Olsen twins were finally free to devote their time and attention to Dualstar. The girls released a steady string of straight-to-VHS movies during the ’90s like Billboard Dad (1998), and Passport to Paris (1999).
They also released their first feature film, It Takes Two (1995).
A Family Breakdown Didn’t Help
Alongside the end of Full House came the end of their big, happy family. Mary-Kate and Ashley’s parents divorced in 1995. The divorce was allegedly due to a strain on the relationship that came from the twins’ success.
After the divorce, Mary-Kate and Ashley became even more private when it came to their personal lives.
Time To Try A New Passion Project
A new millennium called for a new passion project. The Olsen twins were known for their love of fashion on set, so they decided to branch out and create a fashion line.
The line was sold in Walmart and JCPenney, and basically made Mary-Kate and Ashley the icons for tween girls across America.
If You Could Buy It, Their Face Was On It
The success of their clothing line turned Mary-Kate and Ashley into the two most influential teens in America. Their likeness was used to sell everything from shoes, purses, CDs, makeup, board games, dolls, and everything else you can think of.
If an item could be marketed to tweens, you can guarantee Mary-Kate and Ashley were front and center.
How About Two New TV Shows?
Their influence on the tween market allowed them to star in not one, but two, new television series. So Little Time was a live-action sitcom, while Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action! was an animated serious.
Both were critical flops, but it didn’t matter because the tweens couldn’t get enough.
Their Final Act
In 2004, the Olsen twins starred in what would be their last film ever. New York Minute was a feature film flop, and after so many unsuccessful television series and films, the girls retired from acting.
After so many years in show business, no one knew what the girls would do next.
Time To Step Into A New Career
The girls decided to devote their life to their true passion, fashion. The girls became fashion icons by 2006, appearing beside the most elite runways in the world.
Mary-Kate was even named by The New York Times as the pioneer of the "homeless" bohemian look. Oversized sunglasses, boots, loose sweaters, and floral skirts are all thanks to Mary-Kate.
Finally Beginning To Grow Separately
After their departure from film and into fashion, the two could begin to differentiate from each other. Ashley kept the twins’ signature dirty blonde hair, but Mary-Kate began to change things up by dying her hair different colors like brown and red.
Finally, we were able to start telling them apart!
Health Issues For Mary-Kate
Their increasing appearances in fashion and on runways opened them up to some intense criticism. Mary-Kate, in particular, was berated by the tabloids for being too thin. It was later announced that she had entered treatment for anorexia nervosa.
The disease even landed Mary-Kate in the hospital with a kidney infection.
The Party Scene Took Them By Storm
Mary-Kate and Ashley both went through some partying phases, and it has come back to be controversial. Reality star Spencer Pratt sold a not-so-flattering photo of Mary-Kate to tabloids for $50,000, which made America think the twins were spiraling downhill.
These actions by “friends” made Mary-Kate and Ashley shy away from the media even more than before.
Continuing To Appear On The Forbes List Of Millionaires
Their choice to move into fashion was a good one. Although their numerous films and money left over from Full House made them millionaires by the age of 10, they made most of their money in fashion.
The two have launched multiple clothing and beauty lines like The Row, Olsenboye, and Elizabeth James.
A Dramatic Death Shook Mary-Kate
Things got dramatic for Mary-Kate in 2008 with the death of Heath Ledger. The high-profile suicide shocked the world, and it was even more shocking to find out Mary-Kate and Heath had been secretly dating.
The massage therapist that found Heath actually called Mary-Kate before calling the police.
Creating A Unique And Defining Style
Their "homeless" boho-chic style makes a lot more sense when you realize just how spiritual the twins are. Both Mary-Kate and Ashley have discussed in rare interviews their use of crystals, sage burning, and belief in bad auras.
The two seem to have found their own path for being at peace.
Then Creating A One-Of-A-Kind Shopping Experience
Their couture fashion line The Row is an entirely new shopping experience. They began it as a desire to create the perfect t-shirt, and has expanded from there.
The fitting rooms have robes and caviar in them, and the entire experience is supposed to detract from online shopping.
One Twin Broke An Important Promise
Even though the two vowed not to return to acting, Mary-Kate has made a few solo appearances in film and television. She had a small role in the 2011 film Beastly and had a recurring role in the third season of Weeds.
Still, the two have not appeared on film or as producers since their vow in 2004.
Don’t Forget About Their Little Sister
Now, most of the red carpet appearance either happen at fashion week or with their younger sister. Elizabeth Olsen had been acting since she was young as well, but when the girls quit in 2004, it was Elizabeth’s time to shine.
You might recognize her best in the role of the Scarlett Witch in the Marvel film franchise.
They’ve Inspired Many Celebrities In The Fashion World
In another rare interview, the Olsen twins admitted their style-crushes and you may be surprised. Mary-Kate said Gigi Hadid is giving her serious inspiration right now, and Ashley cited Amber Heard as her latest style icon.
In reality, those two celebs probably were inspired by the Olsen twins!
Now, Ashley’s Focusing On Fashion
Nowadays, Ashley Olsen is focusing on her fashion line. She’s been keeping busy focusing on the fashion line while her sister takes on family life.
Ashley’s dating history has caused some controversy though, as her last three boyfriends were old enough to be her father. The latest, Richard Sachs, was an art dealer who was 28 years her senior.
Mary-Kate Is Living The Newlywed Life
Mary-Kate has also come under fire for her relationships. She married Olivier Sarkozy, the half-brother of the former French president, in November 2015 at a very unique wedding.
All guests were required to check in their mobile phones, and each table had a bucket of free…erm, cigarettes.
They’re Practically Unrecognizable Now
Today, the twins have continued to shy away from acting and focus on their fashion line. The two are rarely seen on Hollywood red carpets, but you can find them at any time on the fashion runways.
They’ve kept up their boho beach look but modernized and grown into it with their age.
Audiences Are Over The Whole “Twins” Thing
It sounds like even if Mary-Kate or Ashley wanted to return to the glamorous Hollywood life, they might not be able to. Being adorable and talented twins worked in the ’90s but it isn’t what audiences want from adult actors.
Both twins found the most success when acting as a pair, so it’s no surprise if a Hollywood agent is scared to cast them separately.
They’ve Ruined Their Wholesome Brand
It seems like years of partying and growing up has taken away from the wholesome image that they sold for so long. We have to admit it would be weird to see Michelle Tanner all grown up into a, dare we say it, sexy adult.
Being wholesome was their brand and that really restricts casting agents.
Now It’s All Fashion, All The Time
Although the twins steer clear of Hollywood, they’re often spotted at fashion events. Here they are at a 2016 LACMA Art + Film Gala in Los Angeles. The event was in honor of artist Robert Irwin and filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow.
The event was sponsored by Gucci and was attended by scads of people from the fashion world.
Their Schedules Are Too Jam-Packed
The twins keep themselves busy with fashion events and fundraisers. Here they are at the 40th Anniversary of Studio In A School at The Seagram Building Plaza.
This is a non-profit organization that encourages young people to get involved in the visual arts. The twins have said that education is important to them, so it makes sense for them to support an effort like Studio In A School.
Perfecting Their Craft Is Priority #1
You can’t argue with results like this! In 2018, Ashley and Mary-Kate were named the 2018 CFDA Accessories Designer of The Year and were presented with the coveted award.
It’s interesting that their own choice of accessories for the event was decidedly low-key and toned down. We guess they didn’t want to overshadow the importance of their award.
Their Sister Elizabeth Stole Their Spotlight
Here are the twins with sister Elizabeth in 2016. They all resemble each other to some extent but look completely different at the same time!
Unlike her sisters, Elizabeth continues to embrace her Hollywood career. In 2019 she’ll appear in Avengers 4. She’s won several awards for her acting.
That Look Of… Love
We rarely get to see candid moments in the Olsens’ lives. Here’s a cute snapshot of Mary-Kate and her then-boyfriend Olivier Sarkozy as they catch a basketball game — the Mavericks versus the Knicks.
Mary-Kate looks a little, uh, overwhelmed by her BF’s affection here. But she’s beaming!
Who Has Ashley Dated?
And who knew the twins are such big sports fans? Ashley and her boyfriend Richard Sachs were also at that Mavericks-Knicks game in 2016. Ashley and Richard really appeared to be enjoying each others’ company.
It’s rumored that the couple split up shortly after this event so that Ashley could focus on her fashion career, but they sure looked happy while the relationship lasted.
A Family Affair
The Olsens’ fashion line, Elizabeth & James, was inspired by their very own siblings! We’ve already met Elizabeth. Here’s their older brother James “Trent” Olsen, who provided the other element of the fashion brand’s name.
Trent is older than the twins, and appeared as himself in a few of their early films. They also have a half-brother named Jake.
They Inspire So Many Fans
Fashion fans around the world are obsessed with Mary-Kate and Ashley. There are dozens of tribute accounts on sites like Instagram and Pinterest that follow the young women’s lives.
A fan posted this #tbt image to Instagram with the caption, “Mary-Kate and Ashley at a friend’s wedding, 2017.” It looks like the twins are having a ton of fun here!
At Another Gala
They never seem to slow down. Here, Mary-Kate and Ashley are seen at the “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between” Costume Institute Gala.
This was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017. It’s interesting that their clothing choices are so different but still complement one another.
Wet Hair, Don’t Care
This is not a look we get to see very frequently! You probably wouldn’t even recognize her, but this is Mary-Kate darting around New York City with wet hair! She surely didn’t think anyone would be taking her picture this day.
The Olsens’ style has sometimes been called “bag lady chic” and in candid shots like this it’s easy to see why.