'Shameless': Emmy Rossum Grew Up Way Richer Than Her Character Fiona Gallagher

After years of the chaotic Gallagher family, Shameless is finally coming to a close. And the show wouldn’t be the hit it is today without Emmy Rossum’s contributions.

Rossum played Fiona Gallagher, the daughter of alcoholic father Frank Gallagher, who attempted to keep her family going the best ways she knew how — though, of course, she stumbled along the way. While Rossum played the flawed but relatable Fiona, her childhood was way different — and much more affluent — than her character’s.

Emmy Rossum almost didn’t get to play the role of Fiona Gallagher on ‘Shameless’

We can’t imagine anyone else as Fiona now, but Rossum almost didn’t make the cut. “I really had to fight for this job,” she told Showtime. “I was told initially that they didn’t think I was right for it. And everyone else was cast already. Fiona was the last one to be cast. So, it was kind of like a do or die situation.”

Rossum also noted she wore the same outfit for every audition — and she was called out for it by the director. “The director was like, ‘Do you own any other clothes?’ And I was like, ‘No, you know, whatever.’ … I got all actor-y about it,” Rossum admitted.

After nine seasons of Shameless, Rossum decided to call it quits. It seems she fully intended to see the show all the way through, but she never imagined it would last as long as it did. Rossum wanted to continue challenging herself with new roles, but there’s certainly a special place in her heart for the show.

Rossum grew up quite privileged

Unlike Fiona, Rossum grew up living a more privileged life. The Richest notes the actor was born and raised in Manhattan, and she was accepted into the Metropolitan Opera at just 7 years old thanks to her fantastic vocal chops. Not only that, but she attended a private school, “The Spence School,” also located in Manhattan.

Biography notes that Rossum ultimately had to drop out of the prestigious Spence School, too, as it was interfering with her future as a movie and music star. She completed her high school education in an online program funded by Stanford University. By 2003, she was already becoming a star thanks to her role in Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River.

It seems Rossum may have her second-grade teacher to thank for recognizing her talents. She explained to Showtime that it was her teacher who sent her to the opera to audition. “I think I had too much energy to be contained in a normal class,” Rossum added.

Rossum has a very different family than Fiona did

While Rossum grew up with a few stellar career opportunities, her family life was much different than Fiona’s. Rossum grew up as an only child with a single mom. “I’m an only child. I never had a big family,” she explained to E! News. “Being ensconced in that messy Gallagher family love is something I’d always dreamed of. But even off set, it feels real. We’ve watched the kids grow up into the strong, talented, independent human beings that they are.”

It seems Rossum also had her fair share of childhood nannies. And they certainly left an impression. “[My nannies] were all women who were in their 60s — my mom wouldn’t let anyone who was of procreating age take care of me,” Rossum explained to E! News, according to Colonial Domestic Agency. “My nannies taught me that if you wanted it bad enough, impossible things could happen, like your dad coming back.”

While Rossum may not be part of the Shameless cast anymore, she’ll forever be remembered for her role as Fiona.

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