The Life of Abby & Brittany Hensel — Conjoined Twins


From Google Images

Marcela Marcial, Beat Investigator - Featured Athlete

Abby and Brittany Hensel were born as conjoined twins in 1990. One body, two heads, one controlling one half of the body and another controls the other half. Abby and Brittany shared their life about being conjoined twins on social media, which led them to starring their own reality show named Abby & Brittany.

From Social Gazette

The famous conjoined twins were born on March 7, 1990. According to Social Gazette, their parents, Patty and Mike were not “expecting twins, let alone conjoined twins.” When Patty and Mike were talking to the doctors about separating the twins, they said that it’s best that they stay together because the risks were too high to perform one successfully.

Being born as conjoined twins is already rare enough, but being born as dicephalus twins (the type of twins Abby and Brittany were born as) is EVEN MORE rare. Dicephalus twins means “a rare form of conjoined twin where they seem to share one body, but have two heads. The body is symmetrical…two bodies are joined together, and each twin controls one side.” After the twins were born, doctors didn’t expect them to live long since most conjoined twins don’t survive, but they proved them wrong.

From Social Gazette

Growing up as conjoined twins was a big challenge for them, especially learning how to crawl or walk. They soon learned to get the hang of it and started to ride bikes, play sports like swimming and bowling and learned how to play the piano when they grew older. The crazy part is they can not feel the other twin’s side. Abby controls her right side and Brittany can control her left side.

Even though they share the same body, they both have different personalities from each other since each twin has their own head. Abby is four inches taller than Brittany, which means she has to walk on her tiptoes. When Brittany stopped growing at the age of 12, Abby had to have surgery to prevent her from growing more. Abby is more girly and likes bright colors while Brittany is more of a tomboy.

The twins grew up in “a typical American family.” They have a brother, a sister, a dad who is a carpenter and mom who is a nurse. Their lives seem pretty “normal” for being conjoined twins.

From Social Gazette

At the age of six they gained a lot of attention from social media and even Oprah. Abby and Brittany wanted to live their life as normal as possible, so when they turned 16, they learned how to drive. They each took their own driving exam to make sure that they both know the rules of the road. They both control the wheel while Abby takes control of the gas.

From Social Gazette

Sixteen was a great year for them. Reality network TLC had the idea to have the twins star in their own reality series. After six years of being followed around with a camera, their show was finally aired at the age of 22.

High school wasn’t too bad for them. Most of their high school years they were followed around with a camera for their series. Abby liked math and Brittany liked writing. They were able to graduate high school in 2008, being the first conjoined twins to graduate high school in the US.  While spending time working hard, partying, and making friends, they were able to graduate college in 2012 with a “coveted degree in education.”

From Social Gazette

Life is going great from them. They started working at an elementary school in 2017 teaching 5th graders. Now they are keeping on the low and living their lives as normal as possible.