Is Mary-Kate Olsen all schooled out?
Midway into her first semester at New York University, the brunette half of the Olsen twins has left campus and is currently in Los Angeles.
Olsen's hooky, coming as the rest of her college class, including sis Ashley, prepares for midterm exams, has prompted intense media speculation that Mary-Kate is ready to drop out of school or has had a relapse of her eating disorder.
The New York Daily News quoting an unnamed source close to the wonder twin, says Mary-Kate left the sisters' $7 million digs at Manhattan's posh Morton Square apartments and was considering giving up her studies NYU's Gallatin School for Individualized Study, where she's taking writing and, yes, acting classes.
"She's moved back to L.A. and might be staying indefinitely," the source says. "She may not go back to school. Ashley says she's not sure if Mary-Kate wants to come back. They talk on the phone all the time."
Meanwhile, Us Weekly reports in its latest issue that the 18-year-old mega-millionaire suffered a relapse with anorexia. Olsen was treated for the eating disorder at a Utah clinic last summer.
But on Tuesday, the Olsens' publicist, Michael Pagnotta, sought to squash such speculation.
"She's in L.A. on personal business and she'll be returning to New York in a week," Pagnotta tells E! Online. "When she left, she told her professors that she was leaving so none of this was done on a whim or in secret. It was done with the full knowledge of her professors."
Pagnotta also labeled as "flatly not true" rumors (also reported on NBC's Today show) that the actress was dangerously thin and suffered a setback because of her eating disorder.
"She has not relapsed. She will have ups and downs. . .good periods and bad periods. I don't think it's fair to scrutinize her on a daily basis. We have to reply on the judgments of people who treat Mary-Kate not from kids who call from restaurants and classes."
"But," he notes, "treatment for her eating disorder is an ongoing daily activity wherever she is...Her health is good. It's not perfect. That's the goal. She works hard and some days are better than others."
Pagnotta says the former Full House starlets are not the average frosh. Aside from their academic duties, the twins are also juggling a multimillion-dollar media empire and their own show-biz careers.
"Now that she's 18, both [Mary-Kate] and Ashley have taken over most of the responsibilities to their business affairs," says Pagnotta. "Ashley is likely going to be in L.A. for similar reasons next week, in fact."
But Us is sticking by its story. The magazine's editor, Janice Min, appeared on the Today show and said Mary-Kate had succumbed to undue stress.
"She just got out of recovery when she came to New York," Min said. "For anyone who has been to college, the freshman year is stressful, and when you are Mary-Kate Olsen and having the whole world watch your behavior and what you eat was too much."
Indeed, the duo has been dogged by paparazzi wherever they go, be it Starbucks or one of New York's hippest clubs and restaurants, like Nobu and Butter.
Us also says Mary-Kate's recent breakup with longtime boyfriend David Katzenberg as a source of stress. Even though she's been linked to businessman Ali Fatourechi, the magazine reports that Mary-Kate feels like a "third wheel" with Ashley and her new boyfriend, restaurateur Scott Sartiano, 30.
"NYU is very stressful--it's hard for any freshman to adapt to it," an anonymous source identified as friend tells Us. "Going out and making new friends is difficult."
Not that Mary-Kate hasn't tried. NYU students say that Olsen has gone to great lengths to be a regular student, including hanging out in the dorms and studying at the local coffehouse. Friends also say that Mary-Kate has cracked the books pretty hard too.
Pagnotta echoes those sentiments. "I spoke to her the other day, she's doing well, she's enjoying school. She didn't need to go to college, she chose to," he says.
He also says that the Us and Daily News stories "are particularly hurtful."
"We are talking about somebody's health here," he says. "At the end of the day, she's worked very hard to get to where she is. She's certainly doing much better than in the spring when she entered treatment."