Emmy Rossum went from being a relatively unknown actress to becoming a household name thanks to her role as Fiona Gallagher on the hit Showtime series Shameless. She’s a smart, driven woman whose career keeps reaching new heights (and she’s worked hard at ensuring that she’s respected and treated as an equal in the industry). That said, it’s not just Rossum’s career that’s of interest, but other aspects of her life, too.
She was raised by a single mom
Rossum was raised by her mother, Cheryl Rossum. She has previously spoken about her childhood and the difficulties she faced not having a father, especially on holidays like Father’s Day. In a lengthy and deeply moving Facebook post she shared her thoughts. “I had a single mom. I have a single mom. This isn’t a secret,” she said. “Growing up in a school — and a world — filled with mostly two parent units was difficult for me. Father’s Day still is difficult for me.”
Rossum then went on to admit that although she didn’t have a mother and a father who were there for her, her mom was always enough. She said, “She is enough. She wasn’t perfect, no one is, but for me she was the best mom ever.”
She was an opera singer
As a child, Rossum started singing and was trained in opera. Later, she was part of the 2004 film, The Phantom of the Opera, in which she starred alongside Gerard Butler.
But before her breakout role, she used to sing for food. She told Interview magazine, “There is a butcher on the East Side — I would go in, with my babysitter or my mom, and they’d be like, ‘Oh, it’s the little opera girl!’ They’d go, ‘Do you have a little song for us?’ I would sing them a song, and they would give me a hot dog.”
She loves The Little Mermaid
Many of those who grew up in the late ’80s or early ’90s loved Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Emmy Rossum is a fan, too. In fact, one of her favorite songs to date comes from the film.
In 2013, she revealed during an interview with Spin, that her top song is none other than “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. She said the reason for this is that it “was the first song I loved as a kid.” She added, “When I hear it, I try to take it out of the Disney context and just think of the sentiment of the song. It’s a very sweet one.”
She has a shoe obsession
If there’s one thing most women can probably relate to about Rossum, it’s her love of shoes. According to Footwear News, she confessed to having between “50 to 60 pairs of shoes.”
As for her favorites, Rossum said, “I’ve been wearing mostly Paul Andrew for the past few months, including his shoe [collaborations] with J.Crew and Tanya Taylor. I also wear a lot of Chanel and have their ballet flats in light blue, light pink, etc. I like Alaia for shoes that are fun. I don’t really work with a stylist, I’m self-styled, so in my world, I need more shoes.”
She’s fought for equal rights
Men and women are not treated like equals in the workplace and this is well known, even in Hollywood. However, some women are trying to change the status quo by standing up for themselves and demanding equal pay, and Rossum is one of these people.
Rossum made headlines in 2017 for her salary negotiations with Showtime for her role as Fiona Gallagher on Shameless. Despite being one of the main characters in the series, she was earning less than her male costar, William H. Macy — who supported her decision to negotiate her contract.
Rossum discussed this during a live event at the Vulture Festival (via Indiewire). She said, “When the show started, Bill [Macy] was the first person attached… I was the last piece of the puzzle and I’d never done TV before, I wasn’t as well known, and Bill [Macy] is obviously an Oscar nominee.” However, as time went on she became a bigger part of the show, and she felt that the leadership role between herself and Macy was “somewhat shared,” which is why she decided to do something about it.
Nudity made her love life complicated
Rossum’s character on Shameless has had no shortage of sex scenes, and nudity is common in the series, but this impacted her relationships offscreen. Speaking during an interview with Huffington Post in 2014, Rossum said, “It’s definitely weird on first dates when guys have already seen your boobs.”
Rossum revealed that men get the wrong idea about her because they compare her to Fiona, who is open with her sexuality, but she admits to not feeling “that liberated at all.” She continued, “So when I’m in character, it feels like I’m playing pretend, it feels like I’m in that head space and it’s very easy for me in a certain way to do that.”
She’s married to a writer
Rossum no longer has to worry about how her sex scenes impact her dating life though, because she’s a married woman. In May of 2017, Rossum married Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail in an intimate ceremony in New York. She often shares sweet photos of herself and her husband on social media, and has previously thanked him for his endless support, which includes coming to red carpet events with her even when he has to be up early in the morning.
She’s moved into the director’s chair
In October of 2016, Rossum transitioned from being in front of the camera to behind it. She made her directorial debut on the set of Shameless‘ seventh season. This is something that she had wanted to do for years, although she admitted during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the timing was only recently right.
“I don’t think I was ready before,” she told the publication, adding, “I would throw it out there as an idea and not really follow up. And then I went to school and took a crash course in cinematography and actually felt ready.”
And although she was up for the challenge, it wasn’t as easy as she thought. She said, “I thought that John [Wells, the show’s creator] was going to go easy on me and ease me into the directing process and he didn’t. Which in retrospect, I’m glad about and that means that he had confidence in me to not completely ruin it.”
She cares about real-world issues
Rossum isn’t one of those celebrities who is too caught up in their own life to think about others, as she proved when she partnered with Ralph Lauren and their Pink Pony Promise. The clothing brand launched The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation in support of cancer research and treatment, and, to spread awareness, Rossum took to Instagram wearing a black shirt with the hashtag pinkpony. She revealed that for every like on the photo within the next 24 hours, the foundation would give $1 to the American Cancer Society.
She campaigns against sexual violence
At the 2014 Rape Foundation’s Annual Brunch (via Glamour), Rossum spoke about domestic violence, and her advice for others on how to help those who have either been abused, or are in an abusive relationship.
She said, “I had two friends that were date-raped, and they didn’t speak up until much later. It just makes you feel powerless that you couldn’t help. At the same time, everyone’s journey is their own, and we just need to empower women and tell women that it’s never their fault. There is help. Remember to be a good listener. People are going to open up at their own time and their own pace. Be supportive and empathetic.”