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Emmy Rossum Has a Celiac Disease — What to Know about the 'Shameless' Alum

Oyin Balogun
Dec 15, 2020
08:20 A.M.

American actress and singer-songwriter Emmy Rossum reached the height of her career through her role as Fiona Gallagher in "Shameless."


Remarkably, she achieved this while dealing with coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder. Aside from being an actress, "Shameless" alum Emmy Rossum is a talented singer-songwriter and an amazing wife.

Although the star spent most of her life managing coeliac disease, she was determined not to let the autoimmune condition define her. She learned to balance out her career, social life, and personal commitment without compromising her health.

 Emmy Rossum is seen in Midtown on April 02, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Emmy Rossum is seen in Midtown on April 02, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Today, she is celebrated for her roles in iconic movies such as "Mystic River," "The Day After," and "Nola," but the highlights of her life goes beyond her showbiz career and an autoimmune condition.



Emmanuella "Emmy" Rossum, born on September 12, 1986, grew up with her mom, Cheryl Rossum, in New York City. Her mom was a corporate photographer, while her dad was a banker.


The star's parents separated before her birth, forcing Cheryl to raise her daughter as a single mom. The "Shameless" star barely knew her father and only met him twice before she turned 21.

At a tender age, Emmy Rossum was diagnosed with Coeliac disease.

She sang opera as a child and attended The New Actors Workshop once her interest shifted to acting. Rossum's educational background comprised mostly of schools that helped her lead a normal life despite her condition.


Following her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis in Kindergarten, the icon enrolled in Spence School, Manhattan, which had small class sizes.

After dropping out of school to pursue her show biz dreams, the actress signed up for an online program offered by Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youths. She obtained her high school diploma at fifteen.

In 2008, she bagged a college degree in art, history, French, and philosophy from Columbia University, attaining educational excellence against all odds.



When Rossum was seven, she joined the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus, on the invitation of the chorus director Elena Doria, who was impressed by the tot's outstanding performance of "Happy Birthday" in all twelve keys.

She spent the next five years performing onstage with the Opera Children's chorus. Her past as an opera singer exposed her to opportunities to sing with legends like Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.

She performed for $5 to 10 a night, singing in six languages in 20 operas, before eventually embracing her acting dreams.



Emmy Rossum made her acting debut in 1997 in the soap opera, "As The World Turns," where she starred as Abigail Williams. She went on to star in "Genius," which earned her a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in a Tv movie.

Having proven herself as an outstanding actress, she landed more acting gigs, making her film debut "Songcatcher, in 2000. She later played the title character in the 2003 film, "Nola," and starred in "Mystic River" that same year.


However, a breakthrough role came in 2004, with the part of Laura Chapman in "The Day After Tomorrow," which skyrocketed her to fame.

In the years that followed, the actress snagged roles in "Poseidon," "Romeo and Juliet," "Dare," "Daily Bread," and "Dragonball Evolution." Eventually, she joined the cast of the showtime comedy-drama series, "Shameless" in 2009.



Rossum starred as Fiona Gallagher, the oldest daughter of Frank Gallagher, a single father of six. Being the most senior, she doubled as a mother figure to her five younger siblings as they struggled to survive the throes of neglect and poverty.

Remarkably, her performance in the movie garnered the actress global acclaim, boosting her career opportunities. However, it also took a negative toll on her relationships, as Emmy Rossum's nudes were constantly on display while playing Fiona.


As a result, many got the wrong impression of her real-life character. In 2016, Emmy Rossum demanded a salary raise from the Showtime dramedy's producers.

The contract dispute continued through December 2016, with the star demanding pay equal to that of her co-star, William H. Macy, who played the Gallagher patriarch. She also requested back pay for the salary differences of over seven seasons.


The icon held back from renewing her contract with the show until her terms were met. They granted all her demands that same month, and shortly after, renewed the show for an eighth season.

Rossum announced her exit from the show in August 2018, following the release of the ninth season. The news of her departure came as a shock to fans, who have since anticipated her return.

However, that seems unlikely, as the star keeps herself busy with her lead role on the Peacock limited series, "Angelyne."



The actress and singer has tied the knot twice. Her first marriage was to Justin Siegel, on February 17, 2008. Their union ended in divorce in September 2009, after one year together.

Emmy Rossum's second marriage was to writer and director Sam Esmail, who remains her husband to date. The couple's engagement took place in August 2015, after sustaining their romance for two years.


They exchanged vows two years later at a New York City's reform synagogue. Rossum and Esmail are yet to have kids and rarely discuss plans of starting a family someday.


At a tender age, Emmy Rossum was diagnosed with Coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder characterized by gastrointestinal problems and gluten intolerance.

By implication, she lived on a mandatory gluten-free diet almost all her life, unlike most who adopted such diets to stay fit, keep up with modern trends, or some other health or beauty benefits.

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