Inside Mary-Kate and Ashley’s relationship with Elizabeth Olsen

As Mary-Kate Olsen’s emergency divorce — and its subsequent denial — continues to make headlines, the former child star has landed her family back in the immediate spotlight. Yet while Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s lives have been under the media’s microscope since infancy, their sister Elizabeth Olsen hasn’t had to endure a lifetime of public scrutiny. Perhaps that’s why, according to reports, Elizabeth apparently wants to distance herself from her sisters’ careers.

“Elizabeth wants to make her own name and she’s pushing hard to carve her own niche as an actress and now fashion designer, but it’s been hard to get independent deals because everyone just associates her with Mary-Kate and Ashley,” one source told Radar Online in February 2020.

“She’s a lot more open about her life than Mary-Kate and Ashley these days,” another source revealed in March 2019 (per Radar Online). “She’s willing to sit down and do interviews with complete strangers, if it will sell a film of hers. She’s seeing the twins less and less as her frustration grows, and it’s a big change from a couple of years ago when she would spend a lot of her downtime with them.”

However, despite rumors of their supposedly rocky relationship, the source noted one obvious truth — the Olsen twins “have always been supportive” of Elizabeth’s career. And judging by previous interviews, it’s hard to deny that Mary-Kate and Ashley have helped Elizabeth navigate Hollywood for the better.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen taught Elizabeth Olsen the value of privacy

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have established a reputation for being incredibly private when it comes to the media. While they choose not to divulge the details of their personal lives, they’re regarded with respect and admiration. In keeping with this successful process, sister Elizabeth Olsen has learned from and adopted her sisters’ style, as it’s helped her “navigate how I want to approach my career,” Elizabeth told Harper’s Bazaar in 2018.

“I didn’t know anything outside being famous, so it was never weird to me—that’s just what it was,” she added. “It was always very clear that acting was a job; I never had this twinkly fantasy of people taking photographs of me. It was a job and work and there are different ways of drawing attention to yourself that you don’t want.”

“There are ways you can be private—my sisters are intimately private and I respect that,” she explained, adding that it’s still possible to be “accessible to journalists. “It’s helpful and I learnt my value system from them. They’ve always had the greatest friends and so have I. People always ask, ‘was it hard for you to make friends once you started working?’ And I’m like, ‘what are you talking about? No.’ I already had those and the ones I made through work are great.”

That’s probably because they also taught her to be selective with what she reveals.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen also taught Elizabeth Olsen to filter herself during interviews

By the time actress Elizabeth Olsen established her own career, sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had already transitioned from child actors to fashion moguls. However, after their lifetime in the limelight, the Olsen twins have learned the ins-and-outs of how to manage media expectations. From this experience, Mary-Kate and Ashley bestowed some wisdom upon their younger sister to protect her future.

“I was not caring what I was saying [in interviews] because I’d assumed no one would read it,” Elizabeth told Modern Luxury in 2017 (per Vogue). “That’s when we’d have conversations. [Mary-Kate and Ashley] would say, ‘You know, even if you don’t think anyone’s going to read this article, someone might pull the quote later for [something else].’ It’s all part of how you hope someone interprets you, and how they frame who you are and the work you do.”

Elizabeth confessed that she deals “with so many anxieties of how I come across,” sharing, “‘Did I say something stupid to that person who I respect? Do they think I’m a freak?’ I don’t want to think like that anymore.” That’s why Elizabeth decided she’d never discuss her personal life or love life with the media ever again. “If it only involves me, then I’ll share it, but if it involves another party ever, then I won’t,” she explained. “I don’t want to tell anyone else’s story.”

Elizabeth Olsen 'never got a job because of [her] sisters'

Although Elizabeth Olsen made brief appearances in Full House and How the West Was Fun before the age of 10, the actress stepped away from the business. As Elizabeth told The Guardian, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s success made her more determined to study because, while she wanted to be an actor, she also didn’t want to start working when she was under 18.

“My parents made me write down a pros and cons list. And the cons just piled up. So I figured I’d keep acting as a hobby until I was older,” she said. “Because I felt that pressure, and that people would say, ‘Oh, that’s nepotism.’ I decided that as long as I felt confident and worked hard for it, instead of having it handed to me, no one could take that away from me. I don’t have any insecurity about it. I never got any job because of my sisters. I could have pulled a few strings through them, but I never needed to.”

Elizabeth’s critically acclaimed breakout role in 2011’s Martha Marcy May Marlene launched her straight to A-list status, and in the years since, she’s joined the incomparable Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Scarlet Witch. While Elizabeth thinks her sisters are “brilliant women,” she has managed to establish an impressive career on her own merits in less than a decade — and we can’t wait to see what’s next for this talented star!

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