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.
What Does Brody Jenner Have to Do With It?
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.
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?
The Paparazzi Couldn't Get Enough
Paparazzi can get hundreds of thousands of dollars for one shot. But here’s the thing. Despite what they told Oprah, Mary-Kate was really suffering from mental health issues, likely brought about by an exploitative press. Given how much stress the twins had been under their whole lives, it's not surprising that the pressure got too much for them.
Having bikini photographs leaked not only crossed a boundary she set but being subjected to the fear of the paparazzi catching her image as less than perfectly fit brought on the anxiety that led to the problem. Unfortunately, this problem would persist for Mary-Kate for many years.
Staying Thin Backfired
The press hounded her with those very rumors Oprah asked about. Mary-Kate denied it all, and at one point, the twins even joked about it. The pair was uber-aware of media and perceptions. This allowed them to impart wisdom and advice to other young break-out stars, especially those close to home.
When their younger sister Elizabeth Olsen broke into the acting world in the Marvel universe, they advised her to be careful, “It’s all part of how you hope someone interprets you, and how they frame who you are and the work you do.” MK was able to hide her unhealthy obsession with weight loss from people who worked closely with her, but eventually, it blew up.