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Conjoined Twins Abby & Brittany Hensel Now: Their Careers, Health, & Dating History

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> Conjoined Twins Abby & Brittany Hensel Now: Their Careers, Health, & Dating History

Abby and Brittany Hensel are arguably the world’s most famous conjoined twins. 

After all, the duo had been on a media frenzy- landing guest spots on the Oprah Winfrey Show, landing on the cover of no less than Life magazine, and starring in their very own reality show called Abby & Brittany. 

The twins were so popular that they had their own show on the British network, BBC. It followed Abby and Britanny from the time they finished college right until they landed a part-time teaching job.

But what has become of the twins now? Read on to find out.

An unusual birth

On 7 March 1990, the twins were born in New Germany, Minnesota in the United States to Patty and Mike Hensel. 

They were a typical middle-class family, with Patty serving in the health care industry as a registered nurse and Mike who was a carpenter and landscaper, so they were very surprised when Patty gave birth to dicephalic parapagus twins.

This extremely rare twinning condition only happens in one out of 200,000 births but what is even rarer is that only 1% survive infancy. Some estimates suggest that there are less than 12 conjoined twins surviving today.

Abby and Brittany Hensel: The Conjoined Teachers!

When Abby and Brittany were born, they shared multiple body parts. 

Here’s a list of their body parts and what they share:

  • 3 Arms at birth, but 1 was surgically removed 

  • 2 Breasts

  • 1 Diaphragm

  • 2 Gallbladder  

  • 2 Heads

  • 2 Hearts

  • 3 Kidneys

  • 1 Large intestine

  • 2 Legs 

  • 1 Liver

  • 4 Lungs

  • 1 Pelvis

  • 1 Reproductive organ

When Abby and Brittany were born, they shared multiple body parts. 

Here’s a list of their body parts and what they share:

  • 3 Arms at birth but 1 was surgically removed 

  • 2 Breasts

  • 1 Diaphragm

  • 2 Gallbladder  

  • 2 Heads

  • 2 Hearts

  • 3 Kidneys

  • 1 Large intestine

  • 2 Legs 

  • 1 Liver

  • 4 Lungs

  • 1 Pelvis

  • 1 Reproductive organ

Despite their unusual appearance and bodies, the twins' parents made the difficult decision to decline the procedure that would separate the girls. Because of the multiple combined and shared organs, it was unlikely that they would both survive the surgery.

Health problems

Despite their unusual circumstances, Abby and Brittany have lived relatively healthy lives. They had their first surgery when they were very young to remove a non-functional arm between their two necks. They do have a chest that’s a bit wider than average to house their four lungs. 

Their heads are also slightly askew- Abby’s is leaning to the right side by 5 degrees while Brittany is on the left by 15 degrees. 

Perhaps the most life-threatening so far is that Abby’s spine was prevented from growing to its full length because Brittany’s had stopped growing prematurely. 

It caused scoliosis that needed an operation and a procedure to expand their lung cavity to help them breathe when they were only 12 years old. 

Another interesting factoid is that Abby and Brittany have control over each side of their body- meaning that Abby cannot feel what Brittany’s side touches and vice-versa- this includes stomach aches too.

Media Coverage

It would’ve been impossible not to single out Abby and Brittany in a crowd given their condition, but the twins have stood proud despite their circumstances and generously shared their experiences about it. 

They first came to the limelight on 8 April 1996 as part of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ The two were barely 6, but it was clear they had a knack for being in front of the camera. A couple of years later, the Discovery Channel came knocking and launched their show, ‘Joined for Life.’ The show was reprised six years later as ‘Joined for Life: Abby and Brittany Turn 16.’

The power duo also landed shows in the UK.

Career and Success

Despite being magnets for curious mobs, the twins are determined to prove to the world that they have more to offer other than the circumstances of their birth. 

They have systems in place to live as normally as possible

They both have driver's licenses, which means that Abby, being on the right side, controls that side of the car while Brittany pilots the left side. 

In addition, they use the pronoun ‘I’ if they agree on something and use separate names if they disagree. 

Career-wise, the twins finished college at Bethel University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in 2012 and are now 5th-grade part-time math teachers at Sunnyside Elementary. It was a competitive position that they had to work hard to get. In the end, they bested 175 applicants. 

Although Abby and Brittany have accepted the fact that they will only get paid one salary- after all, they can only teach one class at a time, the twins are hopeful for a bit more, considering that they do have two degrees and bring two perspectives to teaching instead of just one.

Dating life

Rumors have been going around about whether or not the twins are seeing anyone, but we can’t say for sure as they’ve kept their relationship status guarded and away from the public eye. 

One thing is sure, though: fans of the twins and their reality show are cheering for them and hoping they find love soon!

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