Why You Never Hear About Conjoined Twins Abby & Brittany Hensel Anymore


American conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel have been in the public eye for most of their lives. Their first appearance on Oprah took place in 1996, when they were just six years old. By the time they graduated college in 2012, they were headlining their own reality TV show on TLC, Abby & Brittany.

But then, before you know it, the two dropped off the public radar.

So, what happened to Abby and Brittany? We’ve got the full scoop on why you never hear about these conjoined twins anymore!

Who are Abby and Brittany Hensel?

Mostly, we’re going to focus on how these conjoined twins rose to fame, why they seemingly disappeared, and what they’ve been doing lately. First, though, we need to start by answering a more basic question: who are Abby and Brittany?

Abby and Brittany were born on March 7, 1990 as a rare pair of conjoined twins. Conjoined twins only happen in every 50,000 to 60,000 births. The chances of survival at birth is low for conjoined twins, so Abby and Brittany were already a living miracle.

Then came a difficult decision for their parents Patty and Mike Hensel, a registered nurse and a carpenter/landscaper: should they try to separate the twins?

While some conjoined twins can be successfully separated by surgeons and survive the operation, Abby and Brittany’s chances were low. This is because they are dicephalic parapagus twins, meaning they have two heads on one shared torso. Only 11% of conjoined twins are dicephalic parapagus twins, and their chances of surviving a separation is extremely low.

Because of that, their parents decided against attempting such a separation. As such, Abby and Brittany have grown up together, essentially functioning as two different minds inhabiting a single body.


It can be difficult to imagine how these two are able to live and work as conjoined twins. To better understand their daily life, it’s important to understand how their anatomy works.

Basically, Abby and Brittany share a number of vital organs. This includes the intestines, liver, bladder, and reproductive organs. But they each have their own individual heart, stomach, pair of lungs, spine and spinal cord.

Furthermore, each twin has control of one arm and one leg. So while the twins are perfectly capable of doing things like driving a car, the act takes serious concentration and coordination. In fact, even the act of walking or running requires plenty of coordination.

Early fame

Abby and Brittany experienced fame at a very young age. When they were just six years old, they made two appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996.

This brought the two a certain measure of fame, and they made appearances in other places (including multiple appearances in the once-popular Life magazine and multiple documentaries created by Advanced Medical). However, the two wouldn’t truly catapult into stardom until they landed their own reality television show.

Getting a reality television show

If you’re familiar with Abby and Brittany Hansel, it probably wasn’t from their 1996 appearances on Oprah. Instead, you probably remember them from their popular TLC reality show called (fittingly enough) Abby & Brittany.

The twins starred in this TV show in 2012 when they were 22. The reality program showed important events such as their graduation from Bethel University and their quest to find a post-college job. Along the way, the show gave us a glimpse into their lives with friends and interesting trips to places in Europe.

At only eight episodes, though, the show was relatively short-lived. And the last episode premiered nearly a decade ago. What have the twins been up to since then? Did they stop being famous because their 15 minutes were up, or was this an intentional decision on their part?

Avoiding the public eye

While the twins never made an official statement, it looks like stepping out of the public eye was a deliberate decision on their part. Despite making numerous media appearances throughout their lives, the two stopped making public appearances of almost any kind after the conclusion of their reality show. Considering that the show ended with the two preparing for their first real job after graduating college, it seems likely they wanted to focus on living normal lives and enjoying a relative amount of privacy.

Speaking of privacy, the twins once had a joint Instagram account where they would post pictures and updates about their daily lives. However, they haven’t updated that account in about seven years. But that doesn’t matter because we now know what the two have been up to recently, and their career is very interesting!

A career in teaching

These days, Abby and Brittany teach elementary school in New Brighton, Minnesota. They have a concentration in math and teach both fourth and fifth grade.

How does all of this work? The two dished about it in an interview with the BBC. And in the interview, they answered a burning question: do they get two salaries or only one?

“Obviously, right away, we understand that we are going to get one salary because we’re doing the job of one person,” Abby said.

Still, Abby is hopeful that they will one day get additional compensation due to both their experience and the fact that each twin has her own degree and her own teaching license.

“As maybe experience comes in, we’d like to negotiate a little bit, considering we have two degrees and because we are able to give two different perspectives or teach in two different ways.”

The most heartwarming part of this story? Abby and Brittany’s students absolutely love this adorable teaching duo! Watch in the video above!

32 thoughts on “Why You Never Hear About Conjoined Twins Abby & Brittany Hensel Anymore

  1. We all know that falling in love natural
    Because it is in born
    Do they have man they are in love with

    1. I would figure they have to both love the same man? They share the same reproductive system, so I think what one feels the other one feels too…it’s a very difficult situation for them and their love life

    2. I’m sorry but duh really honey they’re sisters which means they’re going to fight like all siblings do don’t be so ignorant that you don’t think these two would or wouldn’t fight they’re siblings they’re always going to argue sometimes you people are just absolutely ridiculous..

    3. More than likely they do after all there was another set of twins who were connected like they were and had their own separate and personal love life I don’t think it would change anything inside they’re just like the rest of girls and women I do think that sometimes y’alls questions are a little ridiculous they want to be seen as normal so I wouldn’t say it the way you did of course they can love they’re just like the rest of us the only difference is they’re sharing a body..

  2. They are exceptional human beings to succeed given the difficulties they must have to overcome. Amazing women.

      1. I’m sorry but duh really honey they’re sisters which means they’re going to fight like all siblings do don’t be so ignorant that you don’t think these two would or wouldn’t fight they’re siblings they’re always going to argue sometimes you people are just absolutely ridiculous..

    1. Agree. Life is especially hard today even for “normies,” let alone people with unique life challenges. God bless them and their families.

  3. Loved watching how they interacted with one another. Not only are they sisters, it seems like they’re very good friends as well. And I credit that to their parents. Speaking as a mother of twins myself, I can hope their lives are moving along and they’re living as close to normal as they can. I miss seeing them but can certainly understand why they would like some privacy now. Good luck to them.

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  5. The twins’ situation poses so many questions. Most important of which is how they have managed to cope with their unique situation. As far as I can tell, their only unique physical feature is that two separate brains share one body, which raises many more questions. Two independent brains, I assume have their own independent sets of thoughts and opinions. God forbid that one voted for Trump and one for Biden, or that one watched Fox and the other MSNBC! And what about time alone? Is one a night-owl and the other subscribe to early to bed, early to rise? Can one meet a guy or gal and the other not? If they share a common anatomy, can one make love while the other covers her eyes? So many question about these two!

    1. Yes but twice as intense.
      They could scratch the wallpaper off the walls.
      Moan and scream like a banshee.
      Twist and writhe like a snake
      Squeeze and clamp like a soft hand
      Hang on and hold you and French both ears at the same time
      Wrap both legs and arms around you and keep you in estacy for a full minute.
      And then you are nothing but a soggy slug with no brain and had a little death
      So there.

  6. I am sure they have their bad days but they both seem happy and are always cheerful around the kids. They are very professional, fun, good dressers and intelligent. Met them a couple times very nice good people. Though unusual to get used to at first it becomes easy to talk with them as you realize they are just normal girls in a different situation.

  7. I saw the twins in Ocean City, Maryland a couple of years ago. I was sitting in my boat, and they were also sitting in a boat. I did a double take but then just looked away. I didn’t want them to feel like I was staring at them. I also didn’t point them out to the others on my boat. I figured they had enough of that. We were at the Lazy Lizard restaurant where boats can dock if they are planning to go into the restaurant or getting food to eat on the boat. According to your message they seem like happy, well-adjusted ladies.

  8. This is actually what happened to Landah nad Lahley the Hong-kong cojoined twins.

    Separating them might lead to their deaths,
    They are sharing the same airway track which made so difficult to separate ,, not only that the vein on their base of scull (medulla oblungata) leading to the spine will be difficult to separate during operation .

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