Emmy Rossum is one talented young lady. From singing to acting and even directing she continues to dazzle us with her outstanding performances, incredible voice, and humble attitude towards fame. She is best known for her role as Fiona Gallagher in the show Shameless and for her role in the 2004 film version of Phantom of the Opera. She’s also appeared in movies such as Songcatcher, The Day After Tomorrow, Mystic River, American Rhapsody, Passionada, Poseidon, Dare, Beautiful Creatures, Comet, and You’re Not There. Not bad for someone who just celebrated her 31st birthday a few days ago right?
Emmy, who was born Emmanuelle Grey Rossum, is an only child, who was raised by her single mother in Manhattan, New York City. She began performing at a very young age and attended the Spence School, a private girls school in Manhattan (also attended by celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kerry Washington) for a number of years before she dropped out to pursue performing opportunities. When she was 15 years old, she received her high school diploma after completing her studies online and later went on to study at Columbia University.
Here’s everything you need to know about the undisputed star of Shameless – with some stunning pictures to match…
15. Becoming Fiona
This is how most of us really got to know Emmy Rossum – through the hit Showtime series Shameless. The show is based on a British series of the same name and Rossum joined the cast in 2009 playing the leading role of Fiona Gallagher; the oldest daughter of a large motherless family who tries to be a mother to her five younger siblings. Although the subject matter of the show was at some points pretty controversial, it was well received by audiences around the world and received consistent acclaim, with critics praising the young actress for her portrayal of Fiona. And let’s face it – with so much always happening on the show, a lesser actress would have simply faded into the background. But that certainly wasn’t the case for her.
14. On Being Famous
Being an actor may sound like a dream job, but it’s not easy having the world watch your every move. And when Emmy worked with Sean Penn and Clint Eastwood on Mystic River they had some really good advice for her on the subject. She explains, “Sean Penn and Clint Eastwood have told me that I shouldn’t feel that I need to be in the limelight or the spotlight all the time. A career is about longevity, as shown in their careers. So, I really want to only do the best things and work with the best people. That’s what I strive to do.” We think it’s refreshing to see an actress who is thinking about her career long term and not concerning herself too much with her celebrity status.
13. An Emmy For Emmy?
For her work on Phantom of the Opera, Emmy was nominated for a slew of awards and in 2004 she walked away with four wins, including the National Board of Review’s Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress, the Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Actress, and the Young Artists Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress. In 2012 she was nominated for the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series and Best Actress in a Comedy Series but sadly didn’t win either. In 2016 she was also nominated for the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Premium Cable TV Actress. But we may have not even seen her best work yet – maybe there is still an Emmy in Emmy’s future?
12. Phantom Of The Opera
After enjoying a breakout role as Laura Chapman in the eco-disaster film The Day After Tomorrow, Rossum returned to New York to audition for the leading role of Christine Daae in the onscreen adaptation of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. But due to a family engagement, Rossum almost missed her chance. She almost missed the audition and was then asked to audition in person (in full costume and makeup) for Webber at his home in New York. Can you imagine how intimidating that must have been? But obviously, he was very impressed with her abilities and hired her to play the role. And she got to work with Gerard Butler, who played the lead role in the film – lucky girl right?
11. On Being A Fox
How does Emmy feel about being considered a sex symbol? Well, it’s not her main aim. This is what she had to say on the subject: “I guess being sexy is cool. I’m cool with that if people think that I’m sexy. It’s not something that I really try to achieve; I just try to be myself and that’s just kind of the honest answer. I hope that I’m sexy in a different kind of way than I think that a lot of girls are right now. I think a lot of girls in the public eye, especially musical artists, are just kind of objectified a little bit and wearing super-skimpy outfits and leaving nothing to the imagination. I think there’s something to be said for people who are a little bit more… I think that confidence is the sexiest thing and when you’re really comfortable in your own skin — which I think is something everyone struggles with and something that, you know, especially with the body image issues that are out there today.”
10. She Started Singing On Stage At The Age Of 7
Emmy joined the Metropolitan Opera Children’s at the tender age of seven and over the course of five years, she sang on stage with the chorus earning between $5 and $10 a night for her work. It doesn’t seem like much (especially when she relates how the horses in the production earned $150 a night) but it did give her the opportunity to work with great singers such as Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. During this time she sang in six different languages in more than 20 operas. So where did this affinity and musical talent come from? Well, Emmy often jokes in interviews that her talent is a result of her mom who loved listening to opera’s and classical music when she was pregnant with Emmy.
9. What’s Next For Emmy?
So what does the future hold for this young star? When asked what her next steps in the music industry are going to be Emmy had this to say: “You know, music has always been my first love, and I hope that I can continue to do it for as long as I can. I think that music is something that inherently gives people happiness and if I can express what some people are really going through in my lyrics.… As people, I think we all kind of go through a similar experience. You know, looking for love, feeling pain, the actual discomfort of actually being in your own skin and trying to figure out who you are — and I think that’s a common theme, so I just try and go with that.”
8. Confident In Her Own Skin
Emmy seems to be quite naturally glamorous (and if these photos don’t prove it we don’t know what will) but the character she plays in Shameless certainly isn’t. But when she was asked about this she revealed that she actually enjoyed the fact that Fiona was a little on the drab side. She explained, “Yes, it did appeal to me to have a character who isn’t in the least vain. As an actor, your own personal vanity can be a massive pitfall in terms of making a character believable. I feel more in this character to have my shoulders hunched and be in tattered clothes and have my hair knotted than I do when I’m dolled up.” We love an actress who has the confidence to put her own vanity aside!
7. Her Directorial Debut
After seven seasons of watching other directors take their turn behind the camera’s on the set of Shameless Emmy Rossum finally managed to dig deep and find the courage to ask the showrunner, John Wells, if she could have a go at directing an episode. And to her surprise, he agreed! “I thought they would toss me a bone and go easy on me, but they threw me into the deep end without any waders,” she said. “They were like, ‘Swim, child!’ And I survived.” Not wanting to take any chances Rossum prepared extensively for her directorial debut, she took at cinematography class at NYU and even used Legos to plan for her eight-day shoot, which was also one of the season’s most expensive episodes. No pressure or anything!
6. Emmy And Sam Esmail
Rossum’s love life has been a little topsy turvy but definitely not as hectic as Fiona’s! She married music exec Justin Siegel in 2008 although the couple kept their union under wraps from the public. Just one year later the pair divorced citing “irreconcilable differences”. The following year the press reported that Emmy was dating Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz, who she had toured with in the summer of 2009 but they broke up in September of 2010. We didn’t hear much about her personal life for quite a while after that, but then she started dating writer and director Sam Esmail (who is best known for creating the TV show Mr. Robot) and they became engaged in 2015. Emmy and Sam got married earlier this year.
5. Beautiful Creatures
In 2013 Emmy played the role of an evil witch called Ridley Duchannes in the romantic gothic fantasy film Beautiful Creatures and although the movie was considered a box office flop Rossum’s performance was praised by critics. She says that she loved playing Ridley. “You hate that you love her, and love to hate her,” she said. “She’s so fun. She was my favorite character when I was reading the book. She’s noisy and attention-hogging, campy and very self-indulgent.” Emmy takes acting seriously and it shows. “I’m heavy on preparation,” she said, “Some actors come to the set and don’t know what scene they’re playing, but that would make me crazy. It’s not about control, but perfectionism–my biggest vice and one of my biggest assets.”
4. Fight For Equal Pay
In December 2016 Emmy became embroiled in a contract dispute with the producers of Shameless because she wanted to be paid an equal salary to that of her co-star William H. Macy. She also demanded back pay for the difference over the past seven seasons and for a while it was unclear whether or not she would continue with the show. But later on that same month she announced via Twitter that she would be back for season 8, implying that the pay dispute had been resolved – although she didn’t elaborate on the topic. Her Twitter post read, “”Playing Fiona Gallagher has been one of the great privileges of my life. I’m so happy to continue w my SHAMELESS family! Back to work in May!” Good for you Emmy!
3. Her Debut Album – Inside Out
After her spectacular performance in Phantom of the Opera, Emmy Rossum was inundated with offers to record classical albums, but she turned them all down. She opted to create an album with more contemporary and mainstream music instead. She said, “I was inspired to cut this album because I’m so frustrated listening to the radio these days,” and added, “There is so little emotion, honesty.” So a few years later she released her debut album called Inside Out which peaked at 199 in the U.S music charts. Rossum says that artists like Sarah McLachlan, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Faith Hill have influenced her music which she describes as “pop music, but not Britney Spears bubblegum pop”. In 2013 Rossum released a follow-up album called Sentimental Journey.
2. She’s Grateful For Her Success – But It Didn’t Happen Overnight
Emmy has worked hard to get to where she is today and she’s grateful for the life she has now. She said, “I’m on a TV show, which I’m so lucky to be on. It pays my rent, so I don’t need to make a ton of money on music, and music has always been my first love. I’m not in this business for fame or money. That’s something I learned from being a kid at the Met. The kids weren’t unionized. We made 25 bucks a night and there were horses onstage – no joke – that were making $800. So when you’re valued, at least monetarily, less than a farm animal, you realize you’re there because you really love it.” We can’t wait to see what’s next for this talented beauty!
1. Is Emmy A Smoker?
In the first season of Shameless, all the members of the Gallaghers were supposed to smoke. But is Emmy Rossum a smoker in real life? Of course, not – this is a lady who loves to sing and make music and she’s not about to ruin to her voice with cigarettes now is she? So what they did for the show was all fake smoking. But according to Jeremy Allen White (who plays Phillip “Lip” Gallagher), it can be surprisingly difficult to fake smoking if you are not actually a smoker and audiences (and especially people who do smoke) can pick it up fairly easily. To keep things looking authentic they decided that Fiona wouldn’t smoke in her scenes anymore – and we think that’s a good thing!