Meet the real-life Barbie Oppenheimer — this is not a joke

Margot Robbie as Barbie, Cilian Murphy as Oppenheimer and Barbie Oppenheimer. — Reuters
Margot Robbie as Barbie, Cilian Murphy as Oppenheimer and Barbie Oppenheimer. — Reuters

The double-feature of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” that ignited a mashup mania on the internet has given the real Barbenheimer Barbara “Barbie” Oppenheimer a thrilling summer.

The 68-year-old grandmother of five is in charge of the name that has captured the attention of the entire world.

“The Barbenheimer craze has added some more fun to my already good life. It’s been great fun,” Oppenheimer told The Post. “I’m having a lot of fun with the craze. It’s always important to embrace the serendipity in life, isn’t it?”

Although Oppenheimer’s friends believe the double feature to be a “wonderful coincidence,” she claims that many strangers are surprised when she identifies herself.

“Most people don’t believe me when I say my name. They think I’m joking,” she told New York Post.

Oppenheimer from Newton, Massachusetts, claimed that her two sons also like participating in the joke.

“We were all just together to celebrate my husband’s 70th birthday when the Slate interview broke, and of course, they were critiquing my responses,” she said, referencing a recent interview on the site.

“My older son bought me a Barbenheimer T-shirt for my October birthday but was disappointed that I already had one,” she shared.

“Most of my grandchildren are too young to understand the craze, but my oldest granddaughter, who is only 7 and a past big Barbie fan, was intrigued.”

In that interview, Oppenheimer said she was sure her “summer of fame” would go by fast, but she finds the whole thing “pretty funny.”

“I had college friends around the world texting me that weekend when they came out, with the whole schmear, you know … ‘the bomb and the bombshell,’” Oppenheimer told Slate. “It was a brilliant thing that they launched them together. It really brought people back into movie theaters.”

She may go by Barbara now, but she was once a genuine Barbie girl and went by the iconic name.

“You know, I started as a Barbie, spelled just like Barbie. Because in those days, everyone wanted to be like Barbie. Then when I got to be 12, I changed it to Barby, with a Y, and then I became Barb,” she told the outlet. “I grew up in Milwaukee, it was the Midwest—of course, I was Barb. But then when I graduated and got my fellowship at Mass General, I went by Barbara. I was so professional and serious.”

Oppenheimer attended the opening weekend of “Oppenheimer” while many viewers couldn’t decide which to see first because, in a perhaps not-so-surprising twist, her husband is related to J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man dubbed “the father of the atomic bomb” who is the subject of the movie.


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