Mary-Kate Olsen

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Mary-Kate Olsen
Mary-Kate Olsen at the Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Olsen at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009
Born (1986-06-13) June 13, 1986 (age 35)
  • Fashion designer
  • businesswoman
  • actress
  • producer
Years active1987–2012 (actress)
2004–present (fashion designer)
(m. 2015; div. 2021)
RelativesAshley Olsen (twin sister)
Elizabeth Olsen (sister)

Mary-Kate Olsen (born June 13, 1986)[1] is an American fashion designer, former actress and producer. She began her acting career nine months after her birth, sharing the role of Michelle Tanner with her twin sister Ashley Olsen in the television sitcom Full House (1987–1995). They also starred in numerous films together.

In 1993, the production company Dualstar Entertainment Group was founded, which produced a long string of television films and direct-to-video releases featuring the girls; they starred in Passport to Paris (1999), Our Lips Are Sealed (2000), Winning London (2001), Holiday in the Sun (2001) and in the television series, So Little Time (2001–2002), for which she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming.

They starred in Getting There (2002), When in Rome (2002), The Challenge (2003) and made cameos in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003). The last film she starred in with her twin sister was New York Minute (2004). She continued with her acting career independently, appearing with a few guest-star roles in films and television shows, and with her last film being Beastly (2011).

In March 2012, both Mary-Kate and Ashley officially indicated their interest to retire as actresses in order to focus on their careers in the fashion industry.

She and her twin sister co-founded luxury fashion brand The Row, lifestyle brand Elizabeth and James, and more affordable fashion lines Olsenboye and StyleMint.[2] They are members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Birth and family[edit]

Mary-Kate Olsen was born in Sherman Oaks, California, the daughter of Jarnette "Jarnie" (née Jones;[3] b. 1954), a personal manager, and David "Dave" Olsen, a real estate developer and mortgage banker.[4] Along with her twin, Ashley, she has an older brother, Trent, a younger sister, Elizabeth, and two half siblings, Taylor and Jake, from her father's second marriage.[5] Olsen's parents divorced in 1996.[6] She attended the Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles.[7] Mary-Kate and Ashley attended New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, beginning in 2004.[8]

Acting career[edit]

Career beginnings[edit]

Olsen began her acting career at the age of nine months old when she and her twin sister, Ashley Olsen, were hired to share the role of Michelle Tanner on the popular television sitcom Full House (1987–1995). She starred alongside her twin sister in the films, To Grandmother's House We Go (1992), Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993), How the West Was Fun (1994), It Takes Two (1995), Billboard Dad (1998) and in the television series, Two of a Kind (1998–1999). In 1997, the Olsen twins guest starred in an episode of Sister, Sister, which starred twin actresses Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry.


In 1993, following Mary-Kate and Ashley's success on Full House, a limited liability company, Dualstar Entertainment Group was created to produce Mary-Kate and Ashley-branded products. It produced a successful long string of TV movies and direct-to-video releases featuring the girls. They starred in Passport to Paris (1999), Switching Goals (1999), Our Lips Are Sealed (2000), Winning London (2001), Holiday in the Sun (2001) and in the television series, So Little Time (2001–2002).

They became household names and popular figures in the preteen market during the late 1990s and early 2000s, with Mary-Kate's likeness seen in clothes, books, fragrances, magazines, movies, and posters, among others. There were fashion dolls of her made by Mattel from 2000 to 2005. They also starred in the films Getting There (2002), When in Rome (2002), The Challenge (2003) and made cameos in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003). In 2004, the twins appeared in the theatrical light-hearted romantic comedy, New York Minute.

In 2004, both Mary-Kate and Ashley took control of Dualstar, becoming joint-CEOs and presidents of the company, which at the time had its merchandise being carried in over 3,000 stores in America and 5,300 stores worldwide. Olsen and her sister became co-presidents of Dualstar upon their eighteenth birthday.

These ventures, combined with an array of licensing deals for their names and likenesses, made Olsen wealthy at a young age. In 2004, Olsen's wealth was estimated at $137 million.[9]


Olsen's first solo acting appearance was in the movie Factory Girl (2006). Her one short scene was ultimately cut from theatrical release, but was included on the film's DVD.

In 2007, she had a recurring role on television show, Weeds, and the twins said that if they became involved in movies together again, it would be as producers.[10][11]

In 2008, Olsen made a guest appearance on the ABC comedy Samantha Who? as a self-destructive girl that Samantha tries to help.[12] She also appeared in the film The Wackness (2008). Olsen appeared in the motion picture adaption of the Alex Flinn novel Beastly (2011), which was her final acting project.[13][14]

In March 2012, both Mary-Kate and Ashley indicated their interest to retire as actresses in order to focus on their careers in fashion.[15] They felt that their futures were in fashion, not in acting and discussed wanting to open a store as one of their future fashion-based endeavors.[16]

In 2015, it was announced that John Stamos signed on with Netflix to produce and co-star in Fuller House, a spin-off of Full House that would reunite the original cast members for a 13-episode series. However, in May of that year, Mary-Kate and Ashley originally announced that they will not reprise their role as Michelle Tanner.[17] Nickelodeon acquired the rights to the Olsen twins' video library in April 2015.[18]

Net worth and influence[edit]

In 2007, Forbes ranked the twins jointly as the eleventh-richest women in entertainment, with an estimated combined net worth of $100 million.[19]

Fashion career[edit]

Career beginnings[edit]

Following a high volume of public interest in their fashion choices, the Olsen twins began work in collaboration on a string of fashion lines available to the public. Starting as young girls, they started a clothing line in Wal-Mart stores across America for girls ages 4 to 14 as well as a beauty line called "Mary-Kate and Ashley: Real fashion for real girls".[20]

In 2004, they made news by signing a pledge to allow all the workers that sew their line of clothing in Bangladesh full maternity leave. The National Labor Committee, which organized the pledge, later praised the twins for their commitment to worker rights.[21]

Business and philanthropy[edit]

As adults, the Olsen twins have devoted much of their attention to the world of fashion. They head a designer fashion label, "The Row," as well as "Elizabeth and James",[20] "Olsenboye", and "StyleMint"[22] retail collections. The idea for The Row started as a personal project in 2005 when her twin sister, Ashley Olsen, challenged herself to create a perfect T-shirt.[23] She tested the design on a variety of women of all body shapes and ages in an attempt to find a "commonality in fit and attitude."[24]

In 2006, in an attempt to gain credibility in the fashion industry after their association with Wal-Mart tarnished their reputations, they were tapped as the faces of the upscale fashion line Badgley Mischka.[25] In 2008, the Olsen twins co-authored, Influence, a book featuring interviews with fashion designers that have inspired the twins' fashion lines.[26]

In 2011, Mary-Kate and Ashley teamed up with TOMS Shoes to design footwear for kids without shoes in more than 20 countries worldwide.[27] Mary-Kate and Ashley designed an Olsenboye Change Purse in 2011 and donated the money to "Pennies From Heaven".[28]

In October 2012, Ashley and Mary-Kate won the WSJ magazine Innovator of The Year Award.

Mary-Kate and Ashley released an Elizabeth and James perfume in Spring 2013.[29]

Mary-Kate's controversial fashion choices have often found her on both the best[30][31] and worst dressed fashion lists, particularly for her decision to wear fur.[32]

She and Ashley are members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, CFDA[33] a not-for-profit trade association of over 450 prominent American fashion and accessory designers. The twins are now the creative directors for Superga.[34]

Equestrian career[edit]

Olsen began horseback riding in 1992 when she was six years old.[35] During her time at Campbell Hall, she was a member of the school's equestrian team.[36] After moving to New York to attend NYU, Olsen temporarily quit riding. She eventually started riding again.[37] In 2013, her horse Marvelous, ridden by James Anderson, won the 38th Hampton Classic Horse Show.[38] Today,[when?] Olsen is a competitive equestrian.[39] In 2016, Mary-Kate competed at The American Gold Cup in upstate New York.[40]


In 2008, Mary-Kate and Ashley released their book Influence.[41]

Personal life[edit]


Olsen has dated David Katzenberg (son of DreamWorks cofounder Jeffrey Katzenberg),[42] photographer Maxwell Snow,[43] and artist Nate Lowman.[1]

In May 2012, Olsen began a relationship with Olivier Sarkozy, half-brother of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.[44] In March 2014, photos were published showing Olsen wearing what appeared to be an engagement ring.[45] Olsen and Sarkozy were married on November 27, 2015, at a private residence in New York City.[46] On April 17, 2020, Olsen filed for divorce from Sarkozy.[47][48] On May 13, she filed an emergency order to proceed despite delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[49][50] On May 14, the emergency order was denied.[49][50] In January 2021, the divorce was finalized.[51]

Health issues[edit]

In mid-2004, Olsen announced she had entered treatment for anorexia nervosa.[52] A Got Milk? advertisement featuring the twins was pulled following the announcement.[53][54] On November 20, 2007, she was hospitalized for a reported kidney infection.[55]

Death of Heath Ledger[edit]

Olsen was a close friend of late actor Heath Ledger.[56][57] After discovering Ledger unconscious in his bed on January 22, 2008, his massage therapist called Olsen twice before contacting police. Olsen sent a private security guard to the scene.[58]

Responding to a claim by an anonymous law enforcement official that she would not speak to federal investigators without a promise of legal immunity, Olsen's attorney Michael C. Miller said, "We have provided the government with relevant information including facts in the chronology of events surrounding Mr. Ledger's death and the fact that Ms. Olsen does not know the source of the drugs Mr. Ledger consumed".[59]


Year Title Role Notes
2004 New York Minute Roxy Ryan Last film with Ashley Olsen
2006 Factory Girl Molly Spence
2008 The Wackness Union
2011 Beastly Kendra Hilferty
2013 Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's Herself Documentary
Year Title Role Notes
2007 Weeds Tara Lindman Recurring role (Season 3)
2008 Samantha Who? Natalie Episode: "Help!"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1989 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor/Actress – Under Five Years of Age (with Ashley Olsen) Full House Won
1990 Outstanding Performance by an Actress Under Nine Years of Age (with Ashley Olsen) Won
1992 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Under Ten (with Ashley Olsen) Won
1994 Best Youth Actress in a TV Mini-Series, M.O.W. or Special (with Ashley Olsen) Double, Double, Toil and Trouble Won
1996 Best Performance by an Actress Under Ten – Feature Film It Takes Two Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress (with Ashley Olsen) Won
1999 Favorite TV Actress (with Ashley Olsen) Won
2002 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series So Little Time Nominated
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Blush (with Ashley Olsen) New York Minute Nominated
2012 Wall Street Journal Innovator of the Year: Fashion (with Ashley Olsen) The Row Won [60]
Council of Fashion Designers of America Womenswear Designer of the Year (with Ashley Olsen) Won [61]
2014 Accessories Designer of the Year (with Ashley Olsen) Won [62]
2015 Nominated [61]
Womenswear Designer of the Year (with Ashley Olsen) Won
2016 Nominated
Accessories Designer of the Year (with Ashley Olsen) Nominated
2017 Nominated [63]
Womenswear Designer of the Year (with Ashley Olsen) Nominated
2018 Nominated [64]
Accessories Designer of the Year (with Ashley Olsen) Won
2019 Won [65]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mary-Kate Olsen". People.
  2. ^ "Olsen twins: We're all about fashion". Yahoo! News. May 11, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  3. ^ "The Birth of Mary-Kate Olsen". n.d.
  4. ^ "Mary-Kate Olsen Biography (1986– )". n.d. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  5. ^ "Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Biography". Bio. A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on May 31, 2010. Retrieved May 29, 2010.
  6. ^ Tauber, Michelle (May 3, 2004). "Two Cool". People. Vol. 61 No. 17
  7. ^ Sessums, Kevin (June 2, 2008). "The Tao of Mary-Kate". Elle. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  8. ^ Baum, Geraldine (September 13, 2004). "At NYU, but in a class of their own". LA Times. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  9. ^ Hopkins, Jim (May 6, 2005). "Billion-dollar teens take business seriously". USA Today. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  10. ^ "Act 2 for the Olsen twins: A fashion career". USA Today. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  11. ^ "Mary-Kate Olsen steps out solo as "Weeds" regular". Reuters. May 24, 2007.
  12. ^ "Mary-Kate Olsen Guest Stars on Samantha Who?". People. June 24, 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  13. ^ Leora Arnowitz (May 26, 2015). "Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have not agreed to do 'Fuller House,' sources say". Fox News. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  14. ^ "A 'Beastly' Halloween Treat Features Mary-Kate Olsen". October 30, 2009. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  15. ^ "Olsen twins: We won't act again". The Sydney Morning Herald. March 7, 2012.
  16. ^ "Mary-Kate, Ashley Olsen 'want to launch shop'". Digital Spy. May 30, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  17. ^ "Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will not appear on "Full House" revival". May 25, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  18. ^ "Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's Video Library Coming to Nickelodeon". Us Weekly. April 23, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  19. ^ Goldman, Lea and Kiri Blakeley (December 18, 2007). "In Pictures: The Richest 20 Women In Entertainment". Forbes.
  20. ^ a b "Olsen twins launch new 'Elizabeth and James' collection". China Daily. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  21. ^ Grossberg, Josh (December 9, 2004). "Mary-Kate, Ashley: No Sweat". E! Online. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  22. ^ "Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen launch StyleMint". SheKnows. July 7, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  23. ^ "The Row: The Quiet Ones". Women's Wear Daily, April 29, 2015.
  24. ^ "Behind The Row: Meet Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen". Vogue, March 22, 2011.
  25. ^ Hall, Sarah.Olsen Twins Strike a Pose. E! Online. February 16, 2006.
  26. ^ Caplan, David. (July 31, 2008) SNEAK PEEK: Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen's New Book. People Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  27. ^ Olsen Twins Join Forces with TOMS Shoes. (July 22, 2011). Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  28. ^ Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Create a Change Purse for Charity Archived September 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (August 8, 2011). Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  29. ^ "Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen Launch Perfume For Elizabeth and James Brand". The Huffington Post. September 13, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  30. ^ Balser, Erin (June 25, 2009). "Mary-Kate and Ashley are on Glamour UK's Best Dressed List". Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  31. ^ Lomrantz, Tracey (February 24, 2010). "Best Dressed In The Front Row Of Burberry: Vote Now! : Slaves to Fashion: Fashion". Glamour. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  32. ^ "peta2's 'Worst-Dressed' Celebrities 2009 |". PETA. January 7, 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ Mary Kate & Ashley team with Italian sneaker brand Superga. (September 13, 2011). Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  35. ^ Lakshmin, Deepa (March 9, 2017). "Mary-Kate Olsen Still Rides Horses, In Case You Were Wondering". MTV. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  36. ^ Wylie, Leslie (August 29, 2013). "Celebrity: Mary-Kate Olsen's horse won a class at the Hampton Classic last weekend". Horse Nation. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  37. ^ Russian, Ale (September 4, 2017). "Family Support! Mary-Kate Olsen Competes in Horse Show as Husband Olivier Sarkozy Cheers Her On". People. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  38. ^ Grossberg, Josh (August 29, 2013). "Mary-Kate Olsen's Horse Marvelous is a Winner!". E! Online. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  39. ^ Whittaker, Alexander (August 30, 2017). "A Reminder That Mary-Kate Olsen Is a Horseback-Riding Champ". Yahoo!. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  40. ^ "Mary-Kate Olsen Riding a Horse at American Gold Cup 2016". PopSugar. September 21, 2016.
  41. ^ Wenger, Stephanie (February 8, 2020). "From Child Stars to Style Icons: See Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen's Fashion Week Appearances Over the Years". E! Online. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  42. ^ McNeil, Liz; Kappes, Serena (September 7, 2004). "Mary-Kate Olsen and Boyfriend Call It Quits". People. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  43. ^ Bernstein, Jacob (March 28, 2012). "Life on the Other Side of the Lens". The New York Times. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  44. ^ Maresca, Rachel (August 16, 2013). "Mary-Kate Olsen bonds with boyfriend Olivier Sarkozy's young daughter during shopping trip". Daily News. New York City. Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  45. ^ "Mary-Kate Olsen Engaged to Olivier Sarkozy". People. March 2, 2014. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  46. ^ "Mary-Kate Olsen had 'bowls of cigarettes' for guests at wedding". People. November 29, 2015. Archived from the original on November 29, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  47. ^ Jackson, Dory (May 13, 2020). "Mary-Kate Olsen Seeks Emergency Divorce From Olivier Sarkozy: 5 Things to Know About the French Banker". Us Weekly. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  48. ^ Vanderhoof, Erin (May 13, 2020). "Mary-Kate Olsen's Divorce Filing Reportedly Involves an Emergency Court Order". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  49. ^ a b Vanderhoof, Erin (May 15, 2020). "Mary-Kate Olsen's Divorce Isn't an Actual Emergency, Says Judge". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  50. ^ a b McNiece, Mia (May 16, 2020). "Why Mary-Kate Olsen's Unusual Divorce Filing Was Denied — and What She Could Do Next". People. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  51. ^ Mackie, Johnni (January 25, 2021). "Mary-Kate Olsen and Olivier Sarkozy Finalize Their Divorce 9 Months After Separating". Us Weekly. A360 Media LLC.
  52. ^ Soriano, César G. (June 22, 2004). "Mary-Kate Olsen seeks treatment for eating disorder". USA Today.
  53. ^ "Olsen Twins' 'Got Milk?' Ad Pulled" All Business. June 8, 2004. Accessed February 19, 2011.
  54. ^ "Olsen twins no longer 'Got milk'" MSNBC. July 7, 2004. Accessed February 19, 2011.
  55. ^ "Mary-Kate Olsen hospitalized for kidney infection". USA Today, November 20, 2007.
  56. ^ "Olsen twin denies Ledger drugs link". AFP. August 6, 2008.
  57. ^ "Mary-Kate Olsen keeps mum about Ledger's death: police". CBC News. August 4, 2008.
  58. ^ "Mary-Kate Olsen's Connection To Heath Ledger Death Revealed". Access Hollywood. January 24, 2008. Archived from the original on April 18, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  59. ^ Tom Hays (August 4, 2008). "Official: Olsen seeks immunity in Ledger probe", Associated Press
  60. ^ "Sisters of the Divine". Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2012.
  61. ^ a b "The Row Wins CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Once Again"., June 1, 2015.
  62. ^ "And the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards Winners are…"., June 3, 2014.
  63. ^ "2017 CFDA Fashion Awards Nominees Named"., March 23, 2017.
  64. ^ "2018 CFDA Fashion Awards Nominees Named"., March 25, 2018.
  65. ^ "And the 2019 Winners Are ..."., June 3, 2019.

External links[edit]