Season 2 Episode 3


Ryan O'Connell gives us a peak into his celebrity row 🚣♊👯‍♀️

Words by Ryan O'Connell

Posted November 10, 2020

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Mary-Kate was worried she was getting poisoned.

“I cough after every meal.” She told me, lazily puffing on a cigarette at the loading dock of The Row’s office.

“Babe,” I reassured her. “That’s because you smoke approximately 50,000 Marlboro Reds a day.”

“Well…I guess…when you put it….like.…” Mary-Kate trailed off, too bored to finish her thought.

I mean, I was mostly joking—maybe she was getting poisoned, I never trusted the step-daughter—but Mary-Kate doesn’t pick up on sarcasm. We’re, like, actively working on getting her a sense of humor. It’s slow-going but at least it’s better than Ashley’s. I’ve met Republicans funnier than Ashley. No offense.

The Row

“So I guess I’m getting divorced?” Mary-Kate says to me before pausing. “Is that a joke?”

“It depends,” I said. “Are you actually getting divorced?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Then, it’s not a joke. It’s just fact.”

“Oh. Rats.”

We stood in silence as an ambulance siren wailed in the background.

NY Daily News

The goal was to get Mary-Kate back to who she used to be, her life pre-Sarkozy and basketball games and bizarre stepmom duties like “reading to your child.” I went to the Hamptons where she had rented a compound to heal and brought a DVD of "The Wackness" and episodes of "Weeds", where she famously played Tara, a pothead Christian. That was a good time for Mary-Kate. 2008. She was dabbling in acting, making smart choices (on-screen, at least) and was overall in a very chill place. The possibilities were endless. Maybe she would strike out on her own and become an indie film actress. Maybe she would move back to Los Angeles, be closer to her family, dye her hair brown, take up glassblowing.

She didn’t. After a role in the Vanessa Hudgens vehicle, Beastly, she said goodbye to acting and hello to the loading dock at The Row where she would smoke cigarettes with stunning regularity for years and years.

It was my job to get Mary-Kate to feel like herself again but that’s hard to do when someone’s been famous since they were nine months old. Still, I was determined. If I could get Lindsay Lohan through "I Know Who Killed Me" and her one year living in Venice Beach, I could do anything. I re-introduced Mary-Kate to pasta.

“Hello darkness, my old friend,” she said wryly, poking at the noodles.

“Mary-Kate,” I squealed. “You did it.”

“Did what?” She looked down at her phone, engrossed in a game of Words With Friends with Ashley Benson.

“You made a joke!”

She looked up, scrunched her nose, not fully believing it.

“You quoted a Simon & Garfunkel lyric and applied it to your complicated relationship with carbohydrates,” I said. “That’s a joke.”

Mary-Kate thought about it. Then she said, “Being funny doesn’t seem worth it.”

She went back to her phone. I smiled, so deeply in love with her and her gravely voice and gorgeous clothes and rich person fragility. I felt like she belonged to me. In a way, she did. She belonged to all of us.

Eventually, she would belong to herself too.

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