Mary-Kate Olsen

Mary-Kate Olsen Biography

(1986–)
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Mary-Kate Olsen was one of the Olsen twins who became child stars on the sitcom 'Full House.' The twins are known for building a media and fashion empire worth billions.

Who Is Mary-Kate Olsen?

Mary-Kate Olsen and her twin sister, Ashley, made their acting debut at nine months old on the ABC sitcom Full House. By age 12, Olsen twins products were estimated to generate $1 billion in retail sales per year. Mary-Kate checked herself into rehabilitation for anorexia in 2004. The production company owned by the twins is called Dualstar.

Early Life

Olsen was born on June 13, 1986, in Sherman Oaks, California. The daughter of mortgage banker David Olsen and manager Jarnie Olsen, Olsen and her twin sister, Ashley, became two of the most popular — and bankable — female personalities in America. They made their acting debut in 1987 at nine months old, sharing the role of the youngest daughter, Michelle Tanner, on the ABC family sitcom Full House. The series ran for eight years, during which the Olsen twins' careers took off.

TV, Movie and Music Success

By the age of 12, the girls had starred in home videos, feature films, multi-media entertainment and another ABC TV series, Two of a Kind. Under the name Dualstar Entertainment, they produced several straight-to-video movies, a line of musical detective videos entitled The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley, and the hugely successful You're Invited to Mary-Kate and Ashley's party tapes. 

They also introduced a series of companion books to accompany the videos. In 1993, Our First Video went to the top of the Billboard video music chart, and was followed shortly by I Am The Cute One and Brother for Sale. The twins made their big screen debut in 1995 in It Takes Two.

In addition to acting, the Olsens have become a huge force in girl marketing. Products bearing their names, including computer games, dolls, and an enormously popular clothing line for Wal-Mart, are estimated to generate about $1 billion in retail sales alone per year.

NYU and Entering Rehab

The Olsen twins announced their plans to attend New York University in the fall of 2004. Shortly after the news, Olsen checked herself into a rehabilitation facility for the eating disorder, anorexia. In the wake of rumors about Olsen's health, the twins released their next feature film, New York Minute.

In 2005, Olsen and her sister purchased the minority shares of Dualstar, taking full control of the company. During this time, Olsen also ended her relationship with Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos III. The break-up, combined with the changes at Dualstar, led Olsen to quit school and return to California to focus on business ventures with her company.

Foray into Fashion

The next year, the sisters began appearing together in the Badgley Mischka ad campaign. They also made their foray into the world of high-end fashion by launching a line of their own called The Row in 2006. In 2007, they announced another line of contemporary clothing, Elizabeth and James, which is named after their sister and brother. They are also known for their more affordable lines StyleMint and Olsenboye.

In 2012 the Olsen Twins won the top prize at the CFDA (Council Of Fashion Designers of America) Fashion Awards, and three years later they shared the Womenswear Designer of the Year for The Row.

Other Projects

In October of that same year, the twins released the book Influence, a work introducing readers to the artists and designers who have influenced the Olsens over the last decade. Released through a division of the Penguin Young Readers Group, the work features figures such as Christian Louboutin, Lauren Hutton and Bob Colacello. It became an instant best seller, and the twins launched a promotional tour for the book.

Olsen returned to acting, landing regular appearances on the HBO television drama Weeds throughout 2007, a cameo on the show Samantha Who? and a co-starring role in the film The Wackness (2008). On the big screen, Olsen had one of the leads of the 2011 fantasy drama Beastly

Personal Life

In January of 2008, Olsen made headlines when her close friend, actor Heath Ledger, died of a prescription drug overdose. Olsen was silent on the matter, but sources say Ledger's staff contacted Mary-Kate through a speed-dial function on Ledger's cell phone. Olsen then called her security staff in New York to investigate the matter. Ledger was pronounced dead later that day.

Olsen started dating French banker Olivier Sarkozy, the half brother of former French president Nicholas Sarkozy, in 2012. The couple became engaged in 2014 and tied the knot the following November. The ceremony was held in New York City. Sarkozy has two children from a previous marriage. Olsen filed for divorce from Sarkozy in May 2020.

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