Emmy Rossum's Transformation Has Stunned Just About Everyone

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The gorgeous Emmy Rossum has had quite a career over her more than 25 years in show business. The actor and singer is best known for her role as Fiona, the young matriarch of the Gallagher Family in the Showtime series Shameless. Fiona, who Rossum told ScreenerTV was modeled in part after her single mother Cheryl, steps up to take care of her younger siblings when her mother walks out and her neglectful father spends most of his nights passed out drunk. Rossum started on the show when it premiered in 2011 and left after the Season 9 finale in March 2019.

But Fiona isn't the only role Rossum is known for. She began acting at a young age and singing even younger, and she's enjoyed many leading roles in films, including a huge disaster movie, a film adaptation of a young adult novel, and an adaptation of an extremely popular musical. From the poor and scrappy but always sexy Fiona to her ultra-glamorous forthcoming role, which will surprise you, let's take a look at the transformation of this beautiful star.

Emmy Rossum grew up with a single mother

Emmy Rossum was born in September 1986 in New York City. She grew up in a single-parent household, something she hasn't been shy about sharing. Not only has Rossum openly discussed her home life providing inspiration for her role of Fiona in Shameless, but she also opened up about not having a father figure in her life in a candid 2017 Facebook post. 

"Some of these traditions are really hard for those of us who don't have. Even today, the idea of no father/daughter dance at my wedding. No father to walk me down the aisle. All of these 'traditions' are painful reminders that inadvertently re-injure us, causing a feeling of loss, jealously (of others who have what I didn't), anger and confusion. Usually leading to us feel somehow inadequate."

Rossum's dad walked out on her and her mom, and she's never had a relationship with him. She told Complex in 2014 that working on Shameless made her want a relationship with her dad, but she "realized that's not possible," adding that she and Fiona both have "that childish hope that somebody who doesn't care about you suddenly will."

Emmy Rossum has been a star since a young age

Emmy Rossum is a self-professed musical theater nerd who loves Frank Sinatra and the Andrew Sisters. She started singing with the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus when she was just 7 years old and released an album of standards, called Sentimental Journey, in 2013. Her childhood dreams of acting and singing are something Rossum has said her mom fully supported. 

Her early days of singing led her to acting at a young age as well. She took classes at the New Actors Workshop in NYC with Terry Knickerbocker. Knickerbocker's acting studio has a number of famous alumni like Sam Rockwell, Boyd Holbrook, and Josh Charles. On Knickerbocker's website, Rossum has nothing but praise to share for her mentor, writing, "Terry has been an invaluable part of my process for many years. He helps me shape my characters, prepares me for auditions, and challenges me to push myself as an actress."

Rossum used her skills from the Met and acting classes to finish school early from home. She said in a 2015 interview with Sway in the Morning that her mom initially enrolled her in a "fancy prep school" but she hated it, so she ended up finishing high school remotely and enrolling in Columbia University.

Emmy Rossum was on 'Law & Order' as a child

Growing up in New York City meant for the perfect opportunity for a child actor to have a bit part in the most NYC show on TV: Law & Order. Emmy Rossum's first role was in 1997 on the procedural showDespite her Metropolitan Opera gig and school, Rossum never really stopped acting once she started. In fact, the actor began paying her family's bills when she was just a teenager. She told Sway in the Morning in 2015 that she got her first big paycheck from a guest spot on The Practice, making $12,000 for four days of work, which was shocking to the then-15-year-old star.

Her other early screen roles included Songcatcher and Clint Eastwood's Mystic River. She got her big break in 2004, when she won the role of Christine in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's colossal musical The Phantom of the Opera. That same year, Rossum also starred in the Roland Emmerich disaster movie, The Day After Tomorrow. She went on to appear in the YA-novel adaptation of Beautiful Creatures and a few other roles before becoming Fiona in Shameless.

Emmy Rossum married Sam Esmail in 2017

Alongside her acting career, Emmy Rossum has built a lovely little personal life as well. She married the creator of Mr. Robot Sam Esmail in 2017, per People, but that wasn't her first marriage. She wed Justin Siegel in 2008 when she was just 21 years old, but the marriage didn't last. She and the music executive were divorced within a year and a half, according to HuffPost, but she told InStyle Hair in 2013 that she had moved on and learned to live with the bumps in the road to love.

"When I realized it wasn't the end of the world and I would keep on standing, I knew it was going to be OK," she said.

Rossum eventually met Esmail in 2014 when he directed her in Comet. The two dated for two years before Esmail popped the question. They got married in New York City in May 2017, and Rossum wore a Carolina Herrera gown. Of her gown, Rossum told Vogue at the time, "I knew I'd be getting married at the temple, which is quite grand, and that the reception would be at the Guggenheim, so we knew that it needed to be a dress that could hold up to that. And it was Mrs. Herrera's idea to make it quite modern and fresh, and kind of use the shape of the Guggenheim on the bodice."

Emmy Rossum can play any character — flawlessly

Since leaving Shameless in 2019, Rossum has been working on a new project with quite a makeover. In January 2020, she tweeted a still from her upcoming series, Angelyne, set to premiere on Peacock, about a Hollywood starlet who is famous for... being on billboards. Rossum dons a platinum-blonde wig, a light, airy voice, and "assets" that would rival Dolly Parton's. It's a very different look for the modest brunette!

Angelyne herself executive produced the miniseries, something Rossum shared she was very excited about. She posted an Instagram of the two of them together in February 2020, writing, "So excited to be able to share that the embodiment of LA itself, the original Queen of the Universe, is the executive producer of our show!"

The title role of Angelyne is a far cry from some of the more demure roles of Rossum's early days, like Christine in Phantom of the Opera for one. It's a brilliant role that allows the actor to really show off her talents and ability to embody whatever character she takes on.