Emmy Rossum
Emmy Rossum has played Fiona Gallagher for seven years. So why is she leaving? (Image via International Business Times)
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Emmy Rossum
Emmy Rossum has played Fiona Gallagher for seven years. So why is she leaving? (Image via International Business Times)

We have some guesses.

Since its start in 2011, the cast of “Shameless” has grabbed the attention of the country. The show follows the Gallagher family, which consists of drunk father Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy), eldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) and a slew of other siblings, played by Jeremy Allen White, Cameron Monaghan, Emma Kenny, Ethan Cutkosky and others.

Because of Frank’s drunken irresponsibility, Fiona soon becomes not only the caretaker of the household, but the head honcho of the family. Rossum, then, is similar to her character Fiona, in that she has played an important role in the lives of the cast. The show began filming in 2011, and at the time, many of the actors and actresses involved were just beginning their teenage years. Just like her character, Rossum became a big-sister figure to many of the child actors, helping them adjust to life in Hollywood and keeping them grounded as the show ballooned in popularity.

Recently, however, Rossum shocked the media-sphere by announcing she would be leaving the show. On her social media, she tried to explain her rationale for the decision, which many have said might torpedo the series.

Beginning with, “It’s a hard thing to put into words, feelings,” Rossum elaborated on her time working for “Shameless.” She explained that when she started, she never could have imagined the bonds she would form with the crew, connections that only grew stronger with every passing season. Rossum mentions that, unlike Fiona, she is an only child, and because of this, she enjoyed the experience of feeling a kinship to her Hollywood siblings, helping guide everyone through the important stages of puberty, and then some.

Rossum also commended other crew members for helping guide her into becoming a well-rounded actress and writer through the years. She finished the post in classic Gallagher style, writing, “Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block.”

The post, understandably, elicited a variety of reactions from fans; some “Shameless” devotees were happy to see Rossum making a move she believes to be the best thing for her career, while others shamed her for ever having the idea to leave. Another possible reason for her leaving that Rossum fails to mention in her post, however, has fans intrigued.

Back in 2016, around production time for the eighth season of the Showtime hit, Rossum reportedly put a hold on signing her renewal contract until she was paid the same as her costar, William H. Macy. Despite being listed as earning the same amount of money, Macy reportedly earned more than Rossum over the series’ duration.

In wake of the Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey “House of Cards” debate at the time, Rossum saw an opportunity, being in the same situation. Because her career was just beginning when she first started with “Shameless,” she figured the wage difference between her and Macy was reasonable. After all, she was just getting started and Macy was an already Oscar-nominated actor.

But as time went on and Rossum began to direct episodes of the show, the discrepancy in star power between Rossum and Macy began to diminish; Macy, in fact, said that he and Rossum were pretty much on the same level, so why wouldn’t she be paid the same as he? Eventually, Rossum settled her wage struggle and wound up receiving the compensation she asked for. However, some fans have hypothesized that the incident could have played a factor in her eventual decision to leave.

Additionally, Rossum also began to take on roles in other series outside of “Shameless.” In 2018 and 2019 alone, she performed in three separate films. The first one, released Jan. 26, is the Netflix Original “A Futile and Stupid Gesture”, which tells the story of writer and co-founder of National Lampoon in the seventies. The second is a short film “That’s Harassment,” a collection of six short films about sexual harassment in the workplace. The third work is a bigger picture, a movie called “Hard Powder,” in which a snowplow driver seeks revenge on drug dealers who murdered his son by making his death appear like an overdose. The cast list for the upcoming project is star-studded, boasting names like Liam Neeson and Laura Dern.

By taking on roles such as these, Rossum is trying to step out of her “Shameless” bubble and play characters who are vastly different than Fiona. By doing so, she is working to prove she has the capacity to expand as an actress and writer, as well as further develop herself as a person and businesswoman.


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