All We Know about World-Famous Conjoined Twins Abby and Brittany Hensel's Private Lives and Careers
The birth of conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel intrigued many across the globe. Here's a glance at the girls' stories, from their everyday lives to romantic relationships.
It is said that conjoined twins only occur in one of every 200,000 births, so naturally, Abby and Brittany Hensel's birth attracted news outlets to report about them.
While their rare birth is a story of inspiration, their survival is a miracle in its own right. Up to 60% of conjoined twins are delivered stillborn, and doctors didn't expect the sisters to survive the night.
Born on March 7, 1990, the twins have had three decades of experience in the type of teamwork only a select few people in the world ever have. Joined at the hip, they have to coordinate every physical movement made.
However, Abby and Brittany have a split in shared and non-shared internal organs. While they each have their own spine, lungs, heart, and stomach, the pair share a large intestine, liver, and reproductive system.
The girls grew up on a farm in Minnesota, away from the press and reporters who would follow their every move and take stolen shots. They stayed with their parents, sister, and brother, and lived a relatively normal life.
POSSIBILITY OF A SPLIT
After the birth of Brittany and Abby, doctors talked to their parents and exposed them to the possibility of separating the girls' bodies. It was a tough decision to make, considering the risks implied.
The operation was dangerous for both girls, with the probability that one or none survived the surgery, so Abby and Brittany's parents immediately rejected the doctors' proposal.
Still, the girls would regularly visit the hospital to ensure that they were fit to do sports and other daily activities. Their doctor for many years was always fascinated with how their body worked and hoped that the girls would live a long and normal life.
GETTING FAMOUS WITH OPRAH
Abby and Brittany astounded medical experts with their prevailing well-being, but they grew very different in character and even in key physical aspects, like any two people.
The conjoined twins were only six years old when they appeared on an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1996 and landed their own reality show.
Later, the girls' story was turned into a TLC documentary, "Abby & Brittany," where everyone watched as they prepared to graduate college and find a job.
Brittany and Abby graduated in 2012 from Bethel University and earned a degree in education before beginning their career as elementary teachers with an emphasis on mathematics.
The twins understood that they would only receive a single salary because they only did the work of one person. But as they acquired experience, they intended to negotiate a little more.
The sisters' career choice as teachers was well suited since Brittany has an affinity for writing and the creative arts. Meanwhile, her sister's light shines in mathematics.
Although they appear with one body, Abby and Brittany have distinct personalities, traits, likes, and dislikes, apart from their expertise as teachers.
Abby is not scared of heights, while it petrifies Brittany; and with different tastes in just about anything, an equal amount of agreement between them is required.
Brittany is also the shorter one of the two at 1.47m. Since their legs are of different lengths, Abby's height of 1.57m requires tiptoe balancing on her sister's part.
The sisters prefer keeping their dating status private, but Brittany assured during an interview that she and Abby are "totally different people," while Abby added:
“Yeah, we are going to be moms one day, but we don’t want to talk about how it’s going to work yet.”
The girls lived a private life, but in 2012, a rumor about Brittany's alleged engagement circulated. Upon hearing about the gossip, the girls shut down the rumor but did not speak about it further.
With the life they live, both Abby and Brittany have gained much wisdom. They are fully aware of people's curiosity and know well enough to be selective of what they share.
Having twins nowadays are quite common. Most recently, UK native Rebecca Roberts made headlines for miraculously delivering twins who were conceived three weeks apart.