The Stunning Transformation Of Emmy Rossum

With an ultra-impressive resume that includes nine seasons starring as Fiona Gallagher on the hit Showtime series "Shameless," Emmy Rossum's pathway to stardom is truly an incredible ride. While Rossum initially displayed her talents as a young child by performing in operas, the star later earned her high school diploma and took college classes on various topics. In the late '90s, Rossum began appearing on the small screen and, in 2000, made her theatrical debut with the movie "Songcatcher." She continued to branch out in the entertainment world, landing more and more roles that helped her gain notoriety, such as "Mystic River," The Phantom of the Opera," and "The Day After Tomorrow" (via IMDb).


Then, in 2011, Rossum made her debut on "Shameless," wowing fans with her impressive performance until her eventual departure from the series in 2019. Since then, she's continued to show off her skills, keeping her fans excited for her upcoming performances on series like "Angelyne" and "The Crowded Room." But, of course, it isn't just her career that's thriving. Rossum also welcomed her first child in 2021 with her husband, "Mr. Robot" creator Sam Esmail. With no sign of slowing down anytime soon, it's clear that Rossum's stunning transformation into her hardworking present-day self is one amazing and memorable journey.

Emmy Rossum was raised by a strong single mom

Emmy Rossum was born in Manhattan in 1986 to Cheryl Rossum, a corporate photographer and single mom. According to an interview with Complex, Cheryl has been a big influence on Rossum's more mature sensibilities. When asked why she never attempted pop music, Rossum cops, "Modern pop music is fun, but it's never something I felt I could do organically or believably. Four-on-the-floor grinding in hot pants in just not in my nature. And don't think that people didn't make me try. Maybe I just have an older sensibility because I was raised by older nannies and a mom who had me when she was 40."


When asked by ScreenerTV how she created her role for "Shameless," Rossum was quick to credit her mom, saying, "[My character, Fiona] has my mother — my mother is a single mother — my mother's loyalty, and fierceness, that kind of mama bear instinct that my mother always had for me."

In the Complex interview, Rossum discussed her father, who walked out on the family while her mother was still pregnant. She's only met him a couple of times. When asked how that paternal absence informs the Fiona character, Rossum admitted, "I definitely have feelings of abandonment and self-protection over that, and Fiona does too ... We all have that childish hope that somebody who doesn't care about you suddenly will."


She was influenced by some much older women

In the 2014 Complex cover issue, Emmy Rossum talked about the nannies who helped out, when she was a kid. When asked her craziest nanny story, she told the story of Gertie, an Austrian woman who was given a prize as a child by singing the best German national anthem. The prize giver? None other than Hitler. 


Rossum said, "My mom is Jewish, so that was a little bit awkward, but Gertie was a great nanny. She would tell that story, but she knew Hitler was a bad guy. There's no getting around that. And she was a child — she didn't know any better when she was singing the German national anthem. Clearly, if she was working for a Jewish family, she had no prejudice herself." But, not all the nanny experiences were positive. Since Cheryl only chose nannies that were in their 60s, Rossum lived under the influence of several older women. Some, may have gotten her hopes up unnecessarily, in regards to her father.

She shared, "My nannies told me that if you wanted it bad enough, impossible things could happen — like your dad coming back. That was something that was verbalized to me as a kid ... it made me disillusioned as a teen when that didn't happen, and when I started becoming known as an actress, and it still didn't happen." In spite of all that, Rossum has become a well-rounded, compassionate woman.


She began singing at age 7

At just 7 years old, Emmy Rossum joined the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus, remaining a member through the age of 12, as she mentioned in a Q&A for Variety, with "Orphan Black" star Tatiana Maslany. When asked what motivated her to start performing, she said her mother sent her to music school. "When I went to real school they heard me sing, and sent me over to the opera. Even though I loved music and being on stage, it was more feeling I didn't have at home in my own body in school," she said. "I felt immediately more at home in an opera and in a creative environment. Even at a young age, that escapism was more safe for me somehow."


This love of in performing led to an interest in acting, so Rossum began classes at The New Actors Workshop in New York City, working with Terry Knickerbocker, an acting coach who also mentored stars like Sam Rockwell, Josh Charles, Abbie Cornish, Natasha Lyonne, and John Leguizamo. Rossum is quoted on Knickerbocker's website as saying, "One of my favorite things about working with Terry, is his vast knowledge of theater and film ... Terry continues to impress me with his commitment to character and story. I wouldn't be as fearless or as confident without his guidance."

Emmy Rossum is always learning

A few minutes of watching an interview with Emmy Rossum, and you know that she's an intelligent and driven young lady. But that's not all. During her time at the Met, she learned to sing in six different languages. Upon leaving the opera at age 12 — and, instead of returning to The Spence School, a private K-12 on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which she hated — her mom agreed to let Rossum study with tutors online, incorporating classes available through Stanford University. As a result, the whip-smart teen received her high school diploma at 15 years old. By 2008, she was enrolled at Columbia University, studying French, art history, and philosophy.


She has also enrolled in classes at London's Le Cordon Bleu. She learned that she had Celiac disease when she was a preteen, so she enjoys being more than capable of cooking her own food. To The Wrap, she noted, "I'm allergic to gluten. I have a mild celiac, so I don't think it's cool." And, as portrayed in her approach to her television and film characters, Rossum has an innate emotional intelligence that she's able to parlay into her work. Rossum is not Fiona, and Fiona is not Rossum, yet, the actress deeply cares for her character. That brilliant craft in approaching her work, will only deepen, as time goes on.

The star slays it on the small screen

Emmy Rossum landed her first acting role as Abigail Williams on "As the World Turns" in 1998 — a year after she appeared on an episode of "Law & Order," according to her IMDb page. She did a TV movie called "Genius," and later, played a young Audrey Hepburn in the made-for-TV film "The Audrey Hepburn Story." Her silver screen debut was in "Songcatcher" (2000), playing an orphan in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. In an self-taped Q&A from 2008, Rossum said that her mom's favorite movie is likely "Songcatcher," both because her mom likes that type of music, and because her mother would probably like to think of her precious daughter as no older than 13 — pretty much ever.


Rossum's performance in "Songcatcher" earned her a nomination for Best Debut Performance with the Independent Spirit Awards. She went on to land the lead in 2003's "Nola," then did a her biggest studio film, working with Clint Eastwood as director and Sean Penn as her on-screen father in "Mystic River," that same year. Incidentally, Rossum admitted in her Q&A that "Mystic River" is probably her mom's least favorite — not because it's a bad film, but because of the story arc for Rossum's character, Katie Markum.

She got her big break in The Phantom of the Opera

In 2003, when Emmy Rossum was just 16, she set out to do a screen test for Andrew Lloyd Weber's cinematic version of "The Phantom of the Opera." As she told the story to, Rossum had a meeting on a Wednesday with director Joel Schumacher. He asked for a screen test on Saturday, but she had a "family thing," so she said no at first. Little did she know that Schumacher had been casting for the role of Christine for six months — and she was the last person he was going to see. Needless to say, she ended up doing the screen test — and nailing it!


On receiving the good news, she said in the interview, "At first I thought it was a practical joke ... I was sitting at the breakfast table after hearing, and my mom was reading The New York Times, over her toast. I said, 'Mom, I got 'Phantom of the Opera,” and she said, 'Oh, that's nice, honey,' and kept on reading about Somalia!'" While Rossum didn't think she would get the part, her mom, however, was not at all surprised. Rossum turned 17 while filming but retained a professionalism beyond her age, thanks to her previous experience at the Met. At the opera, she was expected to be professional and conduct herself maturely, because it was a privilege just to be there. She's approached every set that way, ever since.


Emmy Rossum feels at home on the stage

Even though Emmy Rossum's film career was taking off, and she was about to embark on the first season of "Shameless," she still took time out to participate in Broadway's "24 Hour Plays." In this innovative and exciting theater project that's been around since 1997, promising young writers, directors, and producers are paired with actors to undergo an intensive 24 hours of creativity. The process starts at 10 p.m. the night before the performance, and writers are given several things for inspiration (props, etc.), and then write all night. At 9 a.m. the next morning, actors receive their roles and the directors arrive to start rehearsals. In less than 12 hours from that time, the curtain lifts on the performance.


In an interview with ABC, Rossum admitted she identifies with this type of work, saying, "Performance is kind of where I feel like I fit in, in the world. Where I'm surrounded by a whole bunch of circus clowns, just like me, who like playing pretend."

She has fought for equal pay in Hollywood

If you remember seeing Emmy Rossum's name in the news a few years ago, it's probably because of the equal pay dispute that she raised with Showtime. On the heels of Robin Wright Penn's similar dispute (and success) with Netflix, Rossum said she would not agree to an eighth season until she was promised a salary commensurate with Macy's, as well as back pay for the seven seasons prior, when she was earning less. William H. Macy, in an soundbite with TMZ, said that it's about time that the Equal Rights Amendment was actually observed and that Rossum "works as hard as I do."


On December 14, 2016, Rossum tweeted, "Playing Fiona Gallagher has been one of the great privileges of my life. I'm so happy to continue [with] my 'Shameless' family! Back to work in May!" Her successful negotiation was widely reported, and thanks to her perseverance, audiences had an eighth season of "Shameless" to look forward to.

She returned to music, her first love

Emmy Rossum released an album called "Inside Out" in 2007. It makes sense — her soulful pipes were nominated for a Golden Globe for "The Phantom of the Opera." "Inside Out" was a very personal album and not pop music, which is what most people expected of such a young person. When asked about her debut album, Rossum said, "I don't find lyrical inspiration from anybody. I really find that from myself." In revealing herself, versus portraying a character, she said, "The idea behind 'Inside Out' is turning yourself inside out and showing people who you really are inside, and that's why the record is somewhat autobiographical ... I really wanted it to be pretty honest."


In 2013, she released her second album, "Sentimental Journey," featuring great, traditional songs like "Summer Wind," and "Pretty Paper," as well as the title track. It rose to No. 1 on Billboard's Jazz Albums on February 16, 2013. In an interview with Elle, Rossum said that she grew up with music from the 1930s because of her mom. She told Rolling Stone, "I just wanted to make a record the way that old records were made. They had all their songs, recorded them in one or two takes, and that was the track they used." We hope that Rossum will find a way to release more music with that beautiful voice!

Emmy Rossum honors her Jewish heritage

Emmy Rossum's mother, Cheryl, is Jewish, and while Rossum considers herself more spiritual than religious, she has a great respect for her heritage. In an interview with ShalomLyfe, she said, "My mother instilled in me the Jewish code of ethics and morals. That stays with me very strongly every day. I enjoy having a Shabbat dinner with my close friends, even though it is not something I grew up doing weekly." And, she's none too pleased when someone makes a culturally insensitive remark. Take, for instance, the incident in 2013 when Justin Bieber posted on a Facebook page of the Anne Frank House that he hoped Anne Frank would have been a fan. Rossum was angry, and tweeted, "Anne Frank suffered WW2 and Justin Bieber hopes she would have been a fan? I have no words."


While a feud with "The Biebs" may have taken place years ago (fun fact — they were briefly neighbors), Rossum is trying to make a difference in the world now. In 2017, she tweeted, "On the board of the MJAC (Muslim Jewish Advisory Council) Here's our statement on @POTUS's speech & recent problems," linking to a press release issued by the organization about accountability for denouncing hate crimes, while promoting protection and peace. Rossum has never been afraid to take a stand for what she thinks is right.

The star advocates for the world around her

From 2007 to 2010, Emmy Rossum was a YouthAIDS Ambassador, helping with fundraising campaigns and making public appearances to educate young people about the threat of HIV and AIDS. In 2012, she became the official spokesperson of PiNKiTUDE for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. She's helped out with environmentalist causes, and she is a big supporter of The Best Friends Animal Society. She's quoted on their website as saying, "I encourage everyone to find their new best friend at their local animal shelter and together we will save them all." The organization did a feature on her in April 2015, and she has participated in their marketing campaigns.


In addition to her work on the board of the MJAC (Muslim Jewish Advisory Council), she is vocal about equal pay for equal work, and in 2009, she marched to fight Prop 8 in California, and has volunteered for many different causes over the years. In a Q&A with Glamour in 2013, Rossum shared about her involvement with an Origins cosmetics charity event, saying, "I've always been most interested in eco charities. I've always been involved with Global Green for years ... Origins, which is a great company [is] partnering with Charity: Water to build more water wells in Ethiopia. That kind of turned me on."

She manages to stay fit and healthy

In addition to her gluten-free diet, Emmy Rossum is in great physical shape. She told Shape that one of the ways she achieves that, is to take lots of dance classes. She said, "I love Physique 57. Generally, I take spinning, and I try to do things in groups. I don't like a one-on-one trainer — too much pressure. And I hate push-ups. I hate them with a passion."


This fit star has even opened up about her regimen, as Radar Online noted. For instance, her favorite healthy meal is her mom's roasted lemon chicken (organic, of course), paired with cooked spinach and brown rice. She keeps eggs and garlic on hand at all times, and her favorite soup to make is dairy-free carrot ginger soup. Her splurge meal would be "a black-and-white milkshake, a medium rare cheeseburger on a gluten-free bun and sweet potato fries." We're guessing, by the shape she's in, that she doesn't indulge very often — or that she has a super human metabolism! To stay healthy, she also tries to get plenty of sleep and to relax in a bubble bath whenever she can.

She loves her pets

In a YouTube video, Emmy Rossum shared that she had, at the time, two dogs: both boys, named Sugar and Cinnamon. Since then, she has adopted Pepper through her association with Best Friend Animal Society. In an interview with Esquire's Ryan D'Agostino, we learned that she also has a cat, named Fiona G. Kitty. She said, "I found her in Chicago. She was a stray, and she set up shop in my trailer. She was mean. I mean really mean ... I took her to a vet and they said she was probably dying of breast cancer ... I hate cats. But this cancer cat made me feel bad."


It turns out the cat did not have cancer, but a hernia instead. Rossum's stuck with Fiona G. Kitty, but it seems the cat has grown on her. To People, she said that growing up, she thought she was allergic to cats, and that her first pets where fish and snails — all named after presidents.

Emmy Rossum has learned from her mistakes in love

Emmy Rossum has a mature outlook on relationships. She married in 2008 to music executive Justin Siegel. though the marriage ended just a year and a half later. Of the split, Rossum told InStyle Hair (via HuffPost), "Everyone messes up in relationships and has peaks and valleys in their personal lives. When I realized it wasn't the end of the world and I would keep on standing, I knew it was going to be [okay]." Rossum was later linked romantically to Adam Duritz, lead singer of the Counting Crows, after touring with the band. They split amicably in 2010.


Now, she's married to "Mr. Robot" creator Sam Esmail, who proposed to her while she was in the bathtub, presenting her with a vintage engagement ring from the 1920s. "I like that I've inherited someone's story, and I hope that it's a good one," Rossum shared with PeopleStyle. That type of thinking is typical of the actress. She wasn't your usual bride-to-be obsessing about her wedding dress. In fact, though Carolina Herrera designed her gown, Rossum left the design all up to the designer, telling E! News, "The only thing that's really important to me is that we get married and there's some kind of party ... I was always more excited by the idea, the concept of marriage and togetherness with the person and unity."


The entertainer welcomed a baby girl in 2021

In late May 2021, Us Weekly offered some unexpected good news: Emmy Rossum had given birth to a baby girl. The report came courtesy of an Instagram post from Rossum, where the happy new mom first made the exciting announcement, stating, "5.24.21 On a sunny Monday morning, at 8:13[a.m.], we welcomed our daughter into the world." Along with the caption, Rossum treated her fans to a couple of her maternity photos, one of which featured her husband, Sam Esmail. In addition to sharing an image of the parents-to-be embracing happily, Rossum included a cute footprint of her newborn as well.


Since first revealing her newfound mom status, Rossum has kept fairly quiet about her daughter. However, in an effort to inform others about COVID-19 vaccinations, Rossum uploaded an image of herself kissing her little one's head, disclosing to her followers that she'd gotten vaccinated while pregnant. The actor then added that she'd just learned that her daughter had antibodies, thanks to her efforts, and urged others to get vaccinated as well.

But, of course, Rossum hasn't just shared info about her motherhood journey for educational purposes. In September 2021, People reported that the star had posted some throwback photos from her pregnancy on her Instagram story. "In honor of labor day, a pic of all the vessels in my face I broke pushing in labor," she captioned one.


Emmy Rossum played '80s billboard queen Angelyne

More than two years after Peacock first offered curious fans a sneak peek at the miniseries "Angelyne," Entertainment Weekly announced that the wait for the limited series starring Emmy Rossum was almost over. According to showrunner Allison Miller, the miniseries isn't a hard-set biopic about the Los Angeles entertainer who became famous by prominently advertising herself on billboards, but is instead a "story inspired by everything Angelyne represents." The magazine also noted Rossum's stunning transformation into the real-life iconic blonde, saying that the "Shameless" star was practically unrecognizable from her usual self. "I've spent the better part of [four] years thinking, living, and breathing this project," she said in a news release for Peacock (via People).


Rossum emphasized her fondness of the bleached blonde, commenting that Angelyne was a unique combination in both her personality and physical image. "I love Angelyne. She's as if Marilyn Monroe got into an [Easy-Bake] oven with an '80s punk Barbie Doll and a dose of New Age spirituality," stated the "Poseidon" star." Of course, Rossum also recognizes the importance of portraying the famous media personality on the small screen. "She's a trailblazer, a hustler, a visionary, the original influencer, a living-breathing piece of art," the actor said, adding that she hoped audiences connected with the extraordinary '80s starlet as well (via People).

She plays Tom Holland's mom in The Crowded Room

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Emmy Rossum's new drama series will see her playing the mother of Tom Holland's character in Apple's upcoming anthology series "The Crowded Room." While little details about the characters are available, it is known that the first season of the show is based on a combination of series' writer and executive producer Akiva Goldsman's own life as well as Daniel Keyes' biography "The Minds of Billy Milligan." According to the outlet, Holland will star as a man named Danny Sullivan (and serve as an executive producer), while Rossum will play his mother, Candy (per Deadline). "Through their struggles in life, she dreams of salvation in the form of someone else," Entertainment Weekly reiterated, noting the statement as one of the few known facts about Rossum's character. 


The outlet also pointed out that the casting choice might appear a bit strange considering the actors' lack of age difference. While Entertainment Weekly was unsure of exactly how Rossum and Holland will believably play a mother and son, one suspected possibility that would seemingly explain the pairing is that Rossum will appear only in flashbacks. However, this suggestion is nothing more than speculation at this point. 

Emmy Rossum has a couple of directing credits

In addition to acting, Emmy Rossum has branched out by taking her skills behind the camera, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter, which announced her official directing debut for an episode of "Shameless" in 2016. That same year, Rossum chatted with Variety about her experience behind the camera and what led her there. Revealing she'd been interested in directing for a while, Rossum made the request to showrunner John Wells, who granted the actor's wish. She took her directing debut quite seriously and prepared for the work by taking a cinematography class at NYU and even using Legos to help determine scenes. "I felt like if I prepared my ass off and studied and took a cinematography course and did all the things that a Type A person would do and trusted my instincts, it might not be bad," Rossum told Variety.


Of course, while the star did ultimately run into roadblocks during the episode, she followed some helpful advice, which helped her stay calm during crises. While Rossum also disclosed her worries about the cast and crew's reaction to her directing an episode, she said that everyone supported her taking on the role. She has since gone on to earn additional directing credits for a second episode of "Shameless" in 2017, an episode of "Animal Kingdom" in 2017, and an episode of "Modern Love" in 2019.