The 32-year-old Minnesota natives first gained national attention when they were 6 years old and made an appearance on a popular talk show at the time, but it wasn’t until they got their own special — Joined for Life — that people really fell in love with these charming twins! The success of Joined for Life eventually led to their own short series, simply titled Abby & Brittany. Keep reading to learn more about Abby and Brittany Hansel’s lives today.
What Do Abby and Brittany Do Today?
Abby and Brittany studied education at Bethel University and they both graduated in 2012.
They currently work as teachers at an elementary school in New Brighton, Minnesota. The twins teach fourth and fifth grade with a concentration in math.
While they both have separate degrees and two teaching licenses, Abby and Brittany still share a paycheck.
“Obviously, right away, we understand that we are going to get one salary because we’re doing the job of one person,” Abby told BBC of their compensation situation in 2013. “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.”
In 2018, Abby and Brittany revealed they were offered two contracts by the school that hired them because they were working part-time, meaning that they weren’t receiving a full salary. Their compensation was split between the two of them, which they divided evenly.
Despite the attention they got when they were younger, they have made sure to keep their personal lives out of the spotlight since they ended their reality TV career in 2012. Abby and Brittany have a joint Instagram account, though the sisters haven’t posted since August 2015.
Abby and Brittany’s Conjoined Twins Condition Explained
Conjoined twins are already extremely rare — occurring just once in every 189,000 births by some estimation — but Abby and Brittany are dicephalic parapagus twins (meaning they have two heads, but one torso), which make up only 11 percent of those conjoined twins.
They have double the organs for the top half of their body — meaning two hearts, four lungs, two stomachs — but share many of their bottom half, including their set of reproductive organs. Each twin can control her side of their shared body.
Abby and Brittany’s Everyday Life and Routine Explained
On their short-lived series, Abby & Brittany, we watched as they conquered their road tests (yes, they each had to pass separately) and learned to drive. Abby controls the devices on the right side of the steering wheel and Brittany the left, while they cooperate in working together to steer the vehicle.
As children, they had to learn to coordinate their actions that required both sides of their body — such as clapping, walking and swimming — but can do many activities such as eating and writing as individuals. Today, they function so in-sync with one another that doing those activities as a team comes naturally to the two, who share an elementary school classroom.