UnNews:Conjoined Olsen twins separated
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23 December 2006
NEW YORK, NY - Siamese twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who co-starred as Michelle Tanner, the precocious girl with a split personality on television's sitcom Full House, were separated in a grueling, but successful, 14-hour operation last Friday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and, according to chief surgeon Dexter Trollop, are recuperating nicely in their Beverly Hills mansion.
"No offense," Mary-Kate told Ashley, "but I'm glad we're not joined at the hip any longer. I mean, I believe in togetherness and close families and all that, but we were a little too close."
"Well, you're, like, the size of a whale," Mary-Kate retorted. "I don't know how you can eat so much. For breakfast, you had a whole cracker, for lunch an entire celery stalk, and, for dinner tonight, you say you're going to have soup and a salad. It's enough to make me want to barf!
In the earlier years of Full House, the producers credited the twins as Mary Kate Ashley Olsen, because they didn't want fans to know that two girls played one child. When Mary-Kate was playing Michelle, Ashley was concealed by a blanket, a piece of furniture, or another actor or was edited out by technicians using a computer graphics program. The same is true with respect to Ashley's playing the role. The same practice was adopted for the many other TV series and motion pictures in which the twins starred, so the public didn't realize that Mary-Kate and Ashley were conjoined twins until years later, when Mary-Kate developed anorexia, a disorder that stressed the sisters' relationship and tested the strength of their love.
"It wasn't easy being stuck with Mary-Kate when she was bent on skeletalization," Ashley declared in an interview with Entertainment Weekly's Marsha Preston.
"Actually, the twins' animosity toward one another started much earlier," People magazine's senior editor Jess Cagle contends, "when Mary-Kate came in as number 7 and Ashley came in as number 6 in E!'s 50 cutest child stars all grown up." Mary-Kate, Cagle says, "thought she came in second to Ashley because she weighed more; ever since, she's eaten less and less."
"She's even trying to blame me for her eating disorder," Ashley complained, "like it's my fault that I'm cuter than she is."
Actually, they were supposed to each be rated as number 6, Cagle clarifies, but Mary-Kate insisted that they be judged independently, saying that just because they were joined at the hip shouldn't mean that they had to be considered only one person. The result? Mary-Kate was rated a 7 to Ashley's 6. "The poor kid couldn't handle being second to Ashley, and she embarked on a life-threatening decision to stop eating," Cagle says.
The strain in their relationship threatened their business empire. In addition to TV shows, movies, and books, the Olsen girls have their own Wal-mart fashion line, music videos, and a host of other commercial products and enterprises. They've made enough money since Full House for each of them to become a billionaire. However, their growing animosity threatened to bring about their personal and financial ruin and, when Mary-Kate's anorexia became life-threatening, for both her and her conjoined sister, Ashley issued an ultimatum: get treatment or be surgically separated from her forever. Mary-Kate chose rehabilitation. "So I, who had no such disorder, had to suffer along with her," Ashley said. "Mary-Kate has always been inconsiderate."
The rehab went well, and the sisters were able to work together with only the usual problems associated with working closely with someone else for hours, weeks, months, and years on end. However, when Mary-Kate started dating Hell's Angels, drug addicts, and jobless hangers-on, Ashley petitioned the court for permission to "surgically divorce" her sister, and the judge agreed to allow her to undergo the operation, even without Mary-Kate's consent.
"Now that I don't have Mary-Kate to drag around, I feel that I can live life fully and completely," Ashley said.
"And I feel like I can date whomever the hell I want to date," Mary-Kate said, "and not eat whatever I don't want to eat, which is everything."
The no-longer-conjoined twins have separate houses, separate cars, and separate lives now, and both say that they have no plans in the immediate future to co-star in further TV shows or movies or to appear together anywhere in public.
"They want some time to themselves, now that they have separate selves to have time with," Cagle explains.