30 Interesting Things About Famous Conjoined Twins Abby And Brittany Hensel
30. The Twins that Changed the World
When it comes to shows on TLC, one of the best was Abby & Brittany, which followed the lives of conjoined twin sisters, Abby and Brittany Hensel. Not only was it a thoughtful portrayal of growing up being different from everyone else, but the show was a whole lot of fun!
29. Strong at Heart
Abby and Brittany never let their life challenges get them down. They are definitely an inspiration not only for young women, but for the world in general when it comes to a hopeful outlook on life. We did a little research and found some facts we think you might find interesting about these awesome twins.
28. A Shared Body
Since Abby and Brittany are conjoined, they share a body but have their own separate vital organs. The twins have their own heart, stomach, spine, lungs and spinal cord. However, they do share a reproductive system, making separation surgery a difficult and overall dangerous situation.
27. A Rare Occurrence
Conjoined twins are extremely rare, occurring only once out of every 189,000 births. However, Abby and Brittany are dicephalic parapagus twins, which make up only 11 percent of those conjoined twins statistics.
26. Who’s in Control?
One cool fact about these two girls is they each control the respective half of their body. The girls must work together in order to walk and perform normal tasks with each twin controlling one arm and leg.
25. High Learning Curves
According to the twin’s parents, the girls struggled when it came to learning how to crawl and walk since they had to coordinate their movements. While it took longer than most toddlers, the girls eventually were able to successfully sync their movements.
24. Different Steps
When it comes to walking, the twins tend to have their own style. Brittany tends to walk on her tip-toes, while Abby has more of a flat gait. The difference can cause what appears to be a limp when the girls walk, but it’s nothing to worry about.
23. Separation was Not an Option
After the girls were born, their doctors proposed separating the twins; however, Abby and Brittany’s parents rejected the option. According to them, the risks were too great with most experts concluding neither twin would survive the operation. It’s a good thing they chose that route, because the girls couldn’t be happier living conjoined!
22. The Beginning of Stardom
Shortly after the twins’ sixteenth birthdays, TLC approached them about filming a documentary about their lives. Abby and Brittany agreed. After the success of the documentary, TLC offered the girls their own show. Unfortunately, it only lasted one season of eight episodes.
21. Anything You Can Do, They Can Too!
Abby and Brittany are able to do everything a normal person can do. They can ride a bike, swim, run and even drive a car. They just have to make sure to coordinate their efforts in order to pull it off. Thankfully, these two girls are pros after living conjoined for so many years.
20. Learning to Drive
According to Brittany Hensel, the girls had to take the written driving test twice, as well as pass the supervised test two times in a row. In order to drive successfully, Abby controls everything to the right of the driver’s seat, while Brittany mans the left.
19. One Body, Two Very Different Minds
One neat fact about Abby and Brittany is they each have their own strengths that compliment the other. For example, Abby is better in mathematics, while Brittany excels in writing.
18. Writing as One
Speaking of writing, when the twins write emails they respond as one person rather than as individuals. According to Abby, the twins are able to anticipate one another’s feelings with little to no verbal communication, allowing them to write without any interruption.
17. Fact vs. Fiction
A common misconception about conjoined twins is they have the same likes and dislikes due to sharing a body. This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially when it comes to Brittany and Abby. One way they express their distinctive personalities is through their clothing. They’ve even hired a seamstress to create custom necklines so their own style can shine through.
16. Education is a High Priority
When it comes to priorities, education is at the top of the list for these twins. Both girls graduated from Bethel University with a degree in education. Originally, both twins wanted to focus on different concentrations within their major, but the extra coursework proved to be too challenging.
15. New Adventures
After graduation, the girls moved into their first home together, which was a major milestone in their independence. Their TLC show focused on this big move, which documented the girls decorating the home, as well as preparing to start their first part-time teaching job.
14. Dreams of the Future
So what about love? Despite sharing a body, both Abby and Brittany desire to fall in love one day and eventually get married and have kids. While they know being conjoined provides an extra challenge, they believe there are two men out there destined to be with them. You go girls!
13. Don’t Stare Please
Despite the challenges that the twins face on a day-to-day basis, they have said they have no issues being conjoined. However, one of their biggest pet peeves is when people stop and stare, as well as take pictures. Abby and Brittany have no issues with posing for a photo op, except when it’s without their permission. It comes down to simple etiquette.
12. The Twins Meet Oprah
Oprah Winfrey took a liking to the twins’ story when they were six-years old, featuring them on her show. The girls don’t remember much of the event, but it was the first introduction to the world Abby and Brittany experienced. Thankfully, they were received with love and adoration.
11. They Love the Outdoors
We’ve got to hand to these girls; they are way more athletic than we’ll ever be. Both Brittany and Abby adore sports, and love bowling and playing volleyball. The twins find that sports are a great outlet for improving their coordination skills.
10. A Shared Passion for Music
Abby and Brittany are also musically inclined and are obsessed with playing musical instruments. The goal is to continue to master new ones over their lifetime. Quite admirable, we have to say.
9. Different Tastes
When out to eat, Abby and Brittany usually order two different meals. Since they each have their own stomach, one dinner simply isn’t going to cut it. Plus, the girls tend to have different likes and dislikes when it comes to culinary items.
8. Birthdays are Double the Fun
Birthdays in the Hensel household will have you seeing double, with two birthday cakes every year! We told you these girls had their differences and when it comes to cake, there’s no exception! We wonder what flavors they like? Is one a vanilla girl and the other chocolate?
7. Healthy vs. Sick
One interesting fact about the twins is they don’t get sick at the same time due to parts of their body systems being separate. For example, Brittany has had pneumonia twice, while Abby has never had it. Thank god for two sets of lungs, right?
6. Mastering the Art of Compromising
Of course, not everything is perfect when you’re conjoined. Abby and Brittany have admitted that they don’t always want to eat or go to sleep at the same time. Thankfully, they have mastered the art of compromising. Imagine if one wanted to go to bed at 8PM? NO THANKS!
5. Health Concerns
Doctors have been concerned as the twins get older that their health could begin to deteriorate. As of now, the twins have been healthy, but only four known conjoined twins that share a torso have survived into adulthood.
4. Future Defects are Possible
One of the major health concerns when it comes to the twins is potential heart failure or organ defects that can appear as they grow older. Thankfully, Abby and Brittany have maintained excellent health since they were born. With 22 years behind them, they are looking forward to many more.
3. Great Friends are a Gift
Abby and Brittany are highly social individuals, who have a great circle of friends. These friends were featured in their TLC show, Abby & Brittany. The twins hoped that by sharing their lives and experiences with others, they would be able to educate and in return live out normal social lives. It seems to be working!
2. Spreading Knowledge Through Teaching
Currently, Abby and Brittany work as primary school teachers with their focus being mathematics. The twins love teaching together because while one is teaching the lesson, the other can answer questions and monitor the classroom. We bet those kids can’t get away with anything!
1. The Low Key Life
Today, at the age of 27, the Hensel twins live very low profile lives. Although they enjoyed the fame and exposure when they were younger, now they just want to live life in peace. However, the girls don’t regret their time in the limelight. In fact, they believe it helped break down preconceived ideas of what it was like to be conjoined. Overall, they are happy and living their lives to the fullest.