The Olsen twins during their Full House days. (Bob D'Amico/ABC)
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The fraternal-but-still-very-similar twins have been household names practically since birth, millionaires a short time later, and tabloid staples for the last decade. In other words: They’re pretty famous. But their fame is nearly always linked to each other, beginning when the show that shot them to fame — "Full House" — actually billed the twins as one person, Mary Kate Ashley Olsen, for the first few seasons.
So how are they different? What’s Mary-Kate into that Ashley isn’t? Which one is still into showbiz? Who wishes they never spent time on “Full House"? In honor of their 27th birthday on June 13, we break it down below …
Though they both acted as kids, Mary-Kate is the one still interested in the craft, while Ashley hasn’t stepped on a set in nearly a decade.
After their iconic eight-year stint on “Full House,” which ended when they were just 9 years old, the girls starred in a couple of other short-lived sitcoms, but their real bread and butter stemmed from the production company they owned (and became co-presidents of when they turned 18) that released a gaggle of super-successful direct-to-DVD (or VHS back then) movies featuring the sisters. After they starred in the feature film flop, “New York Minute” together in 2004, Ashley stepped away from acting, but Mary Kate, it seems, still has the bug. She had a part in 2006’s “Factory Girl,” (though her scene was cut from the movie, it was put back in for the DVD version), landed a recurring role on the Showtime series “Weeds”’ third season in 2007, and starred in the indie films “The Wackness” and “Beastly,” in 2008 and 2011 respectively.
[Related: Mary Kate Olsen's Futuristic Funeral Look]
Ironically, Mary-Kate has bashed her life as a child star, while Ashley hasn’t.
In a 2010 interview with Marie Claire, Mary-Kate compared herself and her twin to "little monkey performers," when talking about growing up on the small screen in front of millions. "I look at old photos of me, and I don't feel connected to them at all… I would never wish my upbringing on anyone," said the actress, who sought treatment for anorexia in 2004 and has been plagued with rumors of drug use for years.
Mary-Kate's signature look on the red carpet. (Jennifer Graylock/FilmMagic)Ashley front row at a fashion show. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
They run multiple fashion lines — including The Row and Elizabeth and James — together, but have different personal styles.
Though they both got swept up by the Boho chic thing during their short time at NYU, Mary-Kate still seems to gravitate to the style — donning lots of layers, oversized sweaters, and flowy skirts and dresses – while Ashley often looks more polished and chic (though still reverts back to her old look on occasion). Perhaps they’ve gone different directions since they spent so many years looking virtually identical? “Until we were 13 or 14, if my sister and I did an appearance, we would be wearing the same outfit,” Mary-Kate told People in 2009. As for that Boho look Ashley’s given up, "I honestly don't know why we started dressing like that," she said in the July 2005 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, which dubbed her (and her alone) Fashion’s “It Girl.”
The twins have dated very different guys … and plenty of ‘em.
Who’s dated whom? It can be confusing. Here's a partial list of their former loves:
Ashley: actor Jared Leto, pro cyclist Lance Armstrong, Columbia University quarterback Matt Kaplan, and “Hangover” star Justin Bartha
Mary-Kate: Stavros Niarchos III, the heir to a Greek shipping fortune; sneaker designer Seth Campbell; and artist Nate Lowman. Mary-Kate also sparked rumors of a relationship with the late Heath Ledger after the masseuse who found the actor’s body at the scene of his death in 2008 called Mary-Kate prior to dialing 911.
Mary-Kate and boyfriend Olivier Sarkozy. (James Devaney/WireImage)Ashley and her mystery man. (Clint Brewer/Splash News)
The media is mostly interested in Mary-Kate and her man right now.
These days Mary-Kate’s latest romance has fascinated the public and landed her constant media coverage thanks to the fact she’s been dating Olivier Sarkozy, a 44-year-old father of two and brother of the former president of France, since last year. On the other hand, Ashley and her love life have been mostly left alone since she’s been quietly dating a not-famous mystery man.
Ashley is right-handed, while Mary-Kate’s a leftie.
If all else fails when trying to tell these twins apart, ask them for an autograph!
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