Mary-Kate Olsen and her twin sister Ashley Fuller Olsen were born in 1986 and are best known for playing the role of Michelle Tanner on the sitcom Full House. Since then, they have continued their ‘celebrity’ through television, film, interviews and most lucrative of all, commercial endorsements.
The 22-year-old mega millionaires have been on Forbes list yearly since 2002, and in 2007 ranked as the eleventh richest women with a fortune estimated at $100 million. During the 1990’s they cleaned up in the preteen market with clothing, books, fragrances, magazines, movies and posters. Mattel jumped on the bandwagon from 2000-2005 with Mary-Kate and Ashley fashion dolls.
Both young women tried New York University but dropped out without earning degrees. The pair have a clothing line for young girls in Wal-Mart stores and have launched their own fashion lines: The Row and Elizabeth & James. The New York Times declared Mary-Kate a fashion icon for pioneering her signature ‘homeless’ look, aka Bohemian chic. Sister Ashley was called out by PETA on their 2006 Worst Dressed list for wearing fur.
The young women have an older brother Trent and a younger sister Elizabeth. They also have half siblings Taylor and Jake who were born to their father with his second wife. Their parents David Olsen and Jarnette Fuller Olsen divorced in 1995.
Mary-Kate checked into a Utah rehab facility for six weeks in 2004 for treatment of an eating disorder. Rumors of drug use were denied by the Olsens’ publicist who said: “Mary-Kate was not admitted for drugs. Period.”
In 2006, Ashley filed a $40 million lawsuit against National Enquirer for their headline “Ashley Olsen Caught In Drug Scandal”. The publication featured an unflattering photo where the actress had her eyes half closed which the actress claims added to the malicious intent. Her sister Mary-Kate Olsen was also caught up in media hype following the death of Heath Ledger. She repeatedly refused to cooperate with investigators who wanted to question her about the drugs found in his bedroom.
The bottom line is that multi-million dollar status is not a guarantee of a wonderful existence. The young women have been in the spotlight since they were babies. Now that they are in control of their own destiny, they find it challenging to remain on the ‘down low’ in the midst of a media that watches their every move.
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Check out the Next Young Billionaires here.