Oprah Winfrey is facing a bitter backlash over a resurfaced 2004 interview she did with twin actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in which she asked the then-teenage stars, ‘What size are you?’
The twins were 17 when the interview was taped – and Mary-Kate was rumored to be struggling with an eating disorder at the time. She checked into rehab later that same year to undergo treatment for what was later revealed to be a battle with anorexia.
During the sit-down, Oprah – who was 50 at the time – addresses the eating disorder rumors point-blank, telling the girls: ‘I know a new rumor [that has] recently surfaced has really upset you, right?’
Resurfaced: Oprah Winfrey is under fire for asking twin actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, ‘What size are you?’ in a resurfaced 2004 interview when they were just 17 years old
The girls wait for the rest of the question before making a comment, after which Oprah adds: ‘You know, the one about eating.’
Ashley steps in immediately, replying: ‘Yeah, you know people are going to write what they’re going to write. We try not to read the good or the bad because it just comes with the territory.
‘Either you’re too fat, too skinny and people are just gonna write what they – ‘
At this point, Oprah interjects and asks: ‘What size are you, by the way?’
Ashley appears particularly taken aback by the question and simply replies: ‘Size?’
‘Uncomfortable’: Filmed in 2004, the girls were 17, with Mary-Kate rumoured to be suffering with an eating disorder at the time
The interview sees Oprah address the issue point-blank, saying: ‘I know a new rumour [that’s] recently surfaced has really upset you, right? The one about eating?’ [pictured in 2004, the year of the interview]
Back then: The twins are pictured in 2004, the year Mary-Kate checked into rehab for anorexia
Mary-Kate chimes in at this point, explaining they have always been ‘petite’ – at which Oprah – who has herself admitted weight struggles across her career – replies ‘Oh, that’s so interesting!’ sarcastically.
This sets the audience off laughing, with the twins smiling along.
Oprah adds: ‘That is so interesting, I’m obsessed with size and you’re like, “I really don’t know!”‘
‘If we were obsessed with our size it’d be, I don’t know, a different story,’ Mary-Kate replied, trying to move off topic.
In 2010, Mary-Kate told Marie Claire: ‘I think it’s really important to be able to talk when something’s wrong,’ she said. ‘I learned at a really young age that if you don’t talk about it, it can drive you insane’ [pictured 2004]
Later that year, Mary-Kate checked into rehab to seek treatment for what indeed transpired to be a battle with anorexia.
MailOnline has approached reps for the Olsens and Oprah for comment.
Those rewatching the interview have branded it ‘uncomfortable’. One social media user remarked: ‘I know we’re living in different times, but how did they think that was okay!?! [Because] they’re young?’
Another posted: ‘The Olsens keep such a cheery smiley warm and inviting presence and they maintain their positive vibes despite Oprah continuously and obviously disrespecting and trying to trigger them!’
A third penned: ‘Wow! Was Oprah ever called out for this? Inappropriate much?’
Success: The now-34-year-old twins were child stars, growing up in the spotlight, before becoming fashion designers. They are worth a combined $500 million [£350 million] [pictured in 2019]
Struggles: Oprah is pictured in 2020. She has detailed her own weight struggles over the years
The now-34-year-old twins – who found fame in sitcom Full House when they were six – were child stars, growing up in the spotlight, before becoming fashion designers. They are worth a combined $500 million [£350 million].
In 2010, Mary-Kate told Marie Claire: ‘I think it’s really important to be able to talk when something’s wrong,’ she said. ‘I learned at a really young age that if you don’t talk about it, it can drive you insane.’
If you have been affected by the issues in this story you can call B-eat (Beat Eating Disorders) on 0808 801 0677 or visit beateatingdisorders.org.uk.