STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Are Abby and Brittany Hensel, conjoined twins who grew up in the public eye, now separated? No, that does not appear to be true: Although there are few readily available pictures of the twins taken in the past few years, there is no evidence that the two are separated at the time of writing.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on January 6, 2022. It had a picture of the Hensel twins together and another of them with the same clothes and same facial expressions -- however, their bodies were completely separated. The post also included a link to an article. The caption of the post reads:
Doctors thought Brittany & Abby wouldn't survive after they were forced to separate the conjoined twins. However, years after their surgery these inspiring twins are sharing their story.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook on January 11, 2021:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Jan 11 21:40 2022 UTC)
The article linked in the Facebook post is titled "These Conjoined Twins Are Defying All Odds And We Are Loving It" and directly contradicts the post. A section of the article titled "The Idea of The Separation" states that Brittany promised Abby that "they would forever stay together." Lead Stories could not verify this story's validity, but the twins seem to have developed a routine that allows them to function well while conjoined, as seen in this video from 2017.
The picture of the Hensel twins conjoined included in the post is a still from "Abby & Brittany," a reality series that aired on TLC in 2012 and focused on the twins' lives during college. Another version of the still used in an article from In Touch Weekly is included below:
(Source: In Touch Weekly screenshot taken on Tue Jan 11 21:29:00 2022 UTC)
Google search results of "Abby and Brittany Hensel separated," "Hensel twins separated" and "Abby and Brittany Hensel 2022" did not generate any results indicating that the twins are separated. Lead Stories conducted reverse image searches on Yandex, Google Images and TinEye of the picture of the Hensel twins separated that is included in the post. We did not find any trustworthy version of the picture, suggesting it is a digitally manipulated fake.
We also located the image (archived here) on the website of David Valdez, a computer graphics artist. In an email to Lead Stories on January 12, 2022, Valdez explained:
This is my digital work. I separated them digitally as a painting exercise.
It is an old painting. I didn't think to add disclaimers when I posted it as a sample of my work.
Valdez said that he never showed the work to the Hensel twins and hoped this "didn't cause them any grief."
At the time of writing, the Hensel twins appear to be working as teachers (archived here) at an elementary school. A picture of the twins on the school's website shows them conjoined.
Lead Stories reached out to the Hensel twins for comment and will update this story with any relevant responses.
2022-01-12T22:24:17Z 2022-01-12T22:24:17ZAdds quote from computer graphics artist.