SHE was the chain-smoking wild child who loved to party and banked a £40million fortune before she was 20.
So when Mary-Kate Olsen settled down with Olivier Sarkozy – a dad-of-two 17 years her senior – not everyone thought it was a match made in heaven, with his ex calling the age gap "grotesque".
Last week the 33-year-old American was refused an emergency divorce from her French banker husband after five years of marriage – amid reports that he wanted a wife that was more “available”.
Insiders say the break-up is bitter, with the 50-year-old banker throwing his wife out of their New York apartment after she filed for divorce in April.
In return, she has filed papers to keep a house in the Hamptons and two apartments in New York and is said to have an iron-clad prenup to protect her £230m fortune.
Friends say the marriage fell apart because Olivier – half-brother of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy – wanted a stay-at-home wife while she was focussed on her booming fashion business.
"She's super career-focused and he's very French and wanted her to be more available," a source tells PEOPLE.
"You can't control a girl who has been on the billionaire track since her 20s."
It’s the latest drama in a life that’s packed more in 33 years than most do in 100.
Famous at one – as one half of Mary-Kate and Ashley – and addicted to coffee at 10, she suffered bouts of anorexia in her teens and dropped out of college.
She was a teen rebel by 18, chain-smoking in the toilets at the Met Gala, reportedly carried out of Oasis’s dressing room after one too many and almost throwing up on Penelope Cruz at a showbiz bash.
We look at Mary-Kate’s wild past and why marriage failed to tame her free spirit.
Devastated by parents' divorce
Mary-Kate and Ashley’s road to fame began at the age of nine months, when mum Jarnie discovered a friend’s casting agency was looking for baby twins for the sitcom Full House.
By the time they were ten, the Olsen twins had their own production company, Dualstar, a string of TV sitcoms and movies and an estimated fortune of £8million.
But their family life was torn apart when their mum and dad, Dave and Jarnie, split in 1996, leaving the twins “pretty shaken and very unhappy”, according to a family friend.
Mary-Kate and Ashley, along with older brother Trent and younger sister Elizabeth, lived with Jarnie in San Fernando Valley but Dave, a mortgage broker, took over the reins of their career.
'Threw up on Penelope Cruz'
At 17, the girls had the world at their feet and were actively pushing the image of normal healthy teenagers.
Asked if they ever drank or smoked, Mary-Kate told Rolling Stone: “We don't, but I'm not one to judge”.
But at 18, the pair were breaking the non-smoking rule at the legendary Met Gala and downing a fair few tipples.
A witness who was in the toilet at the start-studded Gala told the New York Daily News: "Mary-Kate and Ashley get up in the middle of dinner and walk in, and Mary-Kate is saying she wants a cigarette. She then proceeds to chain smoke in the bathroom of the Metropolitan Museum!"
In the same year, Mary-Kate went backstage at an Oasis gig in Madison Square Gardens and allegedly had to be dragged out of the band’s dressing room after a boozing session.
A witness told New York Post. “When she came out of Oasis’ dressing room, she almost crashed into me. Her big bodyguard had her by the arms … She was in rough shape.”
The star’s agent, however, called the report “ridiculous”.
There were also unconfirmed reports that she almost threw up on A-lister Penelope Cruz at Naomi Campbell’s 35th birthday bash.
A partygoer told the New York Times the 17-year-old had a “teensy bit to drink” and, while sitting next to Cruz on a bench, looked like “she was on the verge of throwing up.”
New 'sexy' image and a battle with anorexia
By the time their 18th birthday loomed, the twins seemed keen to ditch the wholesome image for good.
Their 2004 movie, New York Minute, contained raunchier love scenes that any of their previous work and they posed on the cover of Rolling Stone under the headline “America's favourite fantasy”.
During a guest spot on Saturday Night Live, Mary-Kate joked to the cheering audience: “Remember, we're legal in four weeks!”
But not everyone was ready to accept the grown-up Olsen twins as sex objects and the film tanked, with several critics calling the sex scenes creepy.
By now, the pressures of childhood fame had caught up with Mary-Kate and concerned fans began to comment on her thin, drawn look.
As the film hit cinemas, Ashley flew around the world to promote it while Mary-Kate checked into rehab suffering with anorexia.
The hardest part to get to is that point of asking for help or reaching out to other people and being honest with yourself.
While the family remained tight-lipped about the eating disorder, they admitted she was suffering from “health-related issues” and diners at a New York restaurant recalled a disturbing meal where she had ordered a salad and then chosen one tiny tomato.
“She sliced the tomato into six pieces and proceeded to eat each piece slowly. And that’s all she ate the entire night,” a source said.
Although she has never spoken about the eating disorder, she told Elle: “I think it’s important that what anybody goes through — and I’m not saying that it’s true or not true — you realise it’s part of growing up.
“I think the hardest part to get to is that point of asking for help or reaching out to other people and being honest with yourself.”
Heartbreak over first love and mystery over Heath Ledger's death
Mary-Kate was just 15 when she started dating her first serious boyfriend, David Katzenburg – son of Dreamworks mogul Jeffrey – but they split after a year when she went to college.
Her first real heartbreak came at 17 when shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos III, who she dated for five months, dumped her for her friend Paris Hilton.
Devastated, Mary-Kate dropped out of NYU and returned to her native LA.
“[Paris and I] always only had nice things to say about each other,” she told W.“Now I guess you can tell we’re not talking.”
She added: “I miss [Stavros] and I love him and I don’t speak with him anymore. It’s a hurtful and painful subject. I’ve pretty much been with someone my whole life, so this is a hard time for me.”
After a brief romance with oil heir Max Snow, she was linked to Heath Ledger and was reportedly dating him when he died of a drug overdose, in 2008, at the age of 27.
The actor’s masseuse Diana Wolozin allegedly called Mary-Kate twice, after discovering his body in his New York apartment, before calling the emergency services.
The police said Wolozin spent nine minutes making three calls to Olsen, with a fourth call being made after the paramedics arrived.
Although she had refused to confirm a romance with the Joker star, it has been claimed the pair were dating for three months before he died.
Mary-Kate refused to be interviewed by police and her agent issued a statement saying she had “nothing whatsoever to do with the drugs found in Ledger’s home or his body” and did not know where he had obtained them from.
She went on to a brief fling with billionaire Fiat heir Lapo Elkmann before dating artist Nate Lowman for two years, from October 2008.
Ditching acting for fashion career
The twins’ experience of growing up in the spotlight left them eager to escape the glare of publicity in their late teens.
After New York Minute flopped, the pair turned their back on acting and decided to concentrate on building their fashion empire.
Their high-end designer chain The Row was founded in 2006 and was turning over £42million a year by 2015, as well as landing four Designer gongs at the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers Awards (CFDAs).
The pair followed up with a more affordable brand, Elizabeth and James, now produced in partnership with Kohls.
In 2019, it was estimated the pair were worth £460m between them.
But as their fortune grew, the pair became increasingly reclusive, hiding away from the public glare and only occasionally being spotted together near their New York offices.
£75k engagement ring from Sotheby's
While a wealthy man in his own right, with a £55million fortune, French banker Olivier Sarkozy was nowhere near as rich as most of her exes – and his worth paled into insignificance beside her own £230million.
But when they met at a party in 2012, they fell “head over heels”, according to sources.
The French president’s brother was 42 and Mary-Kate was 27 but friends said the age gap suited her.
"MK is constantly complaining about boys not being mature enough for her," a source told the New York Post. "She got the kids out of her system."
Not everyone agreed the match was made in heaven and Sarkozy’s ex Charlotte – the mother of his two children – commented: "That's not right. It's grotesque."
The reclusive couple played out the romance behind closed doors, making just a handful of public appearances at a horse show in the Hamptons and a basketball game in the early days.
Apparently keen to pin down his young girlfriend, Sarkozy proposed after less than a year but Mary-Kate made him wait three years before finally accepting.
"Mary-Kate wants to give it more time. She's not in any rush," said an insider.
In February 2014, she accepted a second proposal, sealing the deal with a Cartier engagement ring bought from a Sotheby's jewellery auction for £75,000.
From businesswoman to perfect wife
Once again, Mary-Kate shunned the limelight, tying the knot in November 2015 in a private ceremony with 50 guests behind closed doors in their New York home.
Cocktails were served in the garden at the back of the house, phones confiscated at the door and the most memorable detail reported by a guest was that the usual floral table decorations were replaced with "bowls and bowls filled with cigarettes".
The couple split their time between New York and Paris, where they owned several properties between them including a £11million apartment in Manhattan, as well as their country estate in the Hamptons, where the designer could spend time on her beloved horses.
Mary-Kate tried to embrace domesticity in an attempt to please her husband.
In a rare glimpse into the marriage, Mary-Kate told The Edit: “I have a husband, two stepkids and a life; I have to go home and cook dinner.
"I ride horses on the weekends. You find the thing that helps you relax, and if you don't have it, you have to look for it. Or you get burned out, and then you're not productive."
Bitter divorce and 'iron-clad prenup'
The marriage didn’t take long to show the cracks, with the Olsens' fashion empire demanded a huge chunk of Mary-Kate's time.
Her unbreakable relationship with Ashley – which she once described as “a marriage and a partnership” – may also have strained the relationship.
Less than five years into the marriage, she filed for divorce on April 17 but was refused, due to the court lockdown during coronavirus.
Sarkozy responded by terminating the lease on the couple’s NYC apartment, and sending a lawyer’s letter demanding that she leaves by May 18 – prompting Mary-Kate to file the emergency appeal to protect properties in the Big Apple as well as their house in the Hamptons.
She also asked that her “iron-clad prenup” be implemented, according to insiders.
“Her business interests and fortune are protected,” a source told US weekly.
At the moment, with the emergency motion rejected, the marriage remains in a coronavirus limbo, with Mary-Kate waiting to hear if she can stay in their home until May 30 to sort her affairs.
"[She wants to] move the case forward as quickly as possible amid the pandemic,” the source told InTouch.
“While he’s not living in her apartment, all of her expensive belongings are there, and she’s terrified she won’t get them back.”
The insider also alleged that the fashion designer had been left "incredibly upset" by the ruling but was leaning on her sister Ashley, who had been a "tower of strength" and had whisked her out of the city.
"She’s doing everything in her power to support and advise her sister," the source shared.
While the notoriously private fashion mogul is unlikely to spill too much bitterness in pubic, early signs suggest things are about to get ugly.
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