In a 2007 article about Brody Jenner, his then-BFF Spencer Pratt let some information slip. He talked about how Brody had taken a picture of MK and sold it to a tabloid for $50,000. You can defend that Jenner was young and stupid, but there’s no doubt that this was just a step too far.
The image from a high school party catches the then-underage Olsen sister drinking. They were all attending a private high school in Santa Monica at the time. Years later, MK called him out on Letterman, and the host excoriated Jenner, calling him wormy and oily.
Unfortunately, at NYU, students not only sold them out to tabloids but some earned class credit for those photos and anecdotes. Ashley said she had classes she could not even attend because of all the people trying to take photos. She did not feel safe. It's pretty wild how celebrities are treated like zoo animals out in public.
Ashley told the NYT, “I am reacting as a woman who is 5-foot-1 whose space is being invaded by a bunch of men whose aggression I can literally feel.” Seeing cameras freaked her out, and there was nowhere on campus where she felt safe. It began making more sense to drop out and focus on their careers.
The Tabloid Media was Relentless
By 2012, the girls retired from acting altogether. As young teenagers, both were not comfortable being photographed in a miniskirt, yet the paparazzi took a bikini shot stolen from a Hawaiian vacation spot. If ever there was any more reason to hate the paparazzi and everything they stand for, this would be it.
Caught frolicking on the beach, photos of Ashley plastered magazine pages. Ashley said it was her worst nightmare, “I was crying hysterically.” They lived in fear of the paparazzi. As an adult, MK shared with Marie Claire, “I would never wish my upbringing on anyone … but I wouldn’t take it back for the world.”
If Only It Was Just the Tabloid Press…
Mainstream network news reporter Connie Chung interviewed the twins after The Hollywood Reporter named them one of the 100 most powerful women in Hollywood. They were 15 at the time. By the time they sat down for the interview with Chung, they were a year older. Still, 16 isn't exactly an age of wisdom and maturity, so you'd think Chung would be relatively respectful in her interview.
Instead, Chung pressed them for details about their love lives and intimate relationships. Ashley said, “I was like, ‘That’s personal. Why would you be asking a sixteen-year-old that question in the first place?’” Apparently, Howard Stern had also been guilty of treating them similarly two years prior. What is it about celebrities that people feel it's okay to ask them literally any private detail?
Even Oprah Was Insensitive
This is so counterintuitive it’s hard to believe until you see it. The twins joined Oprah Winfrey on her show in 2004. She asked them about mental health rumors with the dismissive prompt, “It has really upset you, right?” Just wait, it gets way, way worse.
They responded by saying they try to avoid watching and reading what the press writes about them. Then, shockingly, Oprah asked what size they wear. The number they came up with was far less significant than the famous talk show host’s response, laughing away what they faced. Definitely not the right way to treat your guests.