The Real Reason the Olsen Twins Retired From Acting

Children of the ’90s were surrounded by a lot of cultural touchstones – and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen definitely played their part in the definition of an era. The twin sisters first found their way to television on the iconic series Full House and continued to parlay their popularity in a wide variety of feature films designed for tweens.

However, at the peak of their popularity, the twins decided to step away from acting – and their fans still wonder why.

How did the twins become famous?

The Olsen twins
Fashion designers Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen | Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

Born on July 13th, 1986, in California, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were undoubtedly adorable children. They started acting at only six months old when they were both cast to play Michelle Tanner in Full House. They would go on to act on the show throughout the entire run, until the series finale in 1995. In the early 90s, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen decided to experiment playing other characters and started making their own movies, mainly through their production company, Dualstar. 

A few of their popular films include Sister, Sister, All My Children, Switching Goals, Winning London, It Takes Two, and When in Rome. All in all, the twins made close to twenty-five films over the next twelve years, sometimes playing characters and sometimes just playing versions of themselves.

The girls were hugely popular with their fans, especially with preteen girls, and their names and likenesses graced merchandise in every mall in America. They even had their own fan club, which featured exclusive merch and a fan magazine, where fans could get even more information on their favorite twins. All in all, the Olsen twins, for many, epitomized all that was great about growing up in the 90s. 

Why did they retire?

In 2004, the Olsen twins released what would prove to be their last movie, New York Minute. Over the next decade, without much information as to why, the twins would stay well away from film sets, although they were frequent guests at fashion shows and media events. They did not give an official statement as to their status as actresses until 2014 when they revealed that they were retiring from acting indefinitely. 

The Olsen girls stated that since they had been involved in business at a very young age, building their company Dualstar, they had always viewed themselves more as businesswomen than actresses, and had more interest in that field anyway. They said that they intended to keep working hard building their brands, which included a fashion house and has now expanded to include fragrance, and that their fans will still be able to see them in the news, just not as actresses.

Of course, by 2014, many of the fans that had followed them as actresses were now adults themselves, and hard at work building their own careers.

Will they ever act again?

At this point, it seems highly unlikely that either of the Olsen twins will ever act again. Both of them have grown up to be powerhouses in the world of fashion, and Mary-Kate Olsen is often credited with popularizing the “boho chic” look that many women emulate. They are both married now, to much-older men, and try to stay well away from the limelight. They don’t even use social media, a rarity in today’s celebrity culture.

Although Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen probably won’t ever act again, their fans have lots of movies, and of course, the Full House series to look back on. The diminutive actresses were true originals that provided many other actors with opportunities early in their careers, and in their current capacity as fashion designers, are still hard at work designing the looks that will captivate the next generation.