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Emmy Rossum On Her Historic ‘Shameless’ Salary Win: ‘I Just Wanted It To Feel Right’

The actress made history last year for demanding not only equal pay -- but higher pay than her "Shameless" co-star, William H. Macy.

emmy rossum shameless vulture festival

Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy speaking at the Vulture Festival in New York City.

Screenshot/Vulture Festival

This weekend at the Vulture Festival in New York City, Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy spoke out about Rossum’s historic salary negotiations of her “Shameless” contract with Showtime. “I wanted to keep doing it, but I just wanted it to feel right,” said the actress.

Rossum plays Fiona Gallagher, daughter to Macy’s eccentric alcoholic deadbeat dad, Frank. Fiona anchors the entire Gallagher brood — was well as the series. But up until last year, she was getting paid much less than Macy, despite having more screen time. After seven seasons of receiving less money than her male co-star, Rossum demanded more than equal salary — she wanted to make more than Macy. (Think of it as reparations for all those years where she made less). After a standstill, Showtime and producers Warner Bros. Television relented, and season 8 began shooting this month.

READ MORE: ‘Shameless’ Star Emmy Rossum Requests More Than Equal Pay to Continue on Hit Series

“When the show started, Bill [Macy] was the first person attached…I was the last piece of the puzzle and I’d never done TV before, I wasn’t as well known, and Bill [Macy] is obviously an Oscar nominee,” Rossum said during a live event at the Vulture Festival in New York City over the weekend. “For the first few seasons, the difference made a lot of sense. And then, as the time went on, the leadership role started to feel somewhat shared. I suppose I just felt that I love the show I love everyone in it, I wanted to keep doing it, but I just wanted it to feel right.”

Macy, who was sitting next to Rossum, whispered, “And the money.” Rossum then repeated the line for the audience.

READ MORE: ‘Shameless’ Season 7 Trailer: William H. Macy Declares War On His Family

“One of the nicest things about the way it all went down is I felt so supported by Bill [Macy] in that,” said Rossum. “Things that you said that were os supportive of me, just made me feel so good.” Macy added: “It’s a no-brainer. It’s something the country’s gotta fix. You get there earlier, you work harder. Just a silly discussion really…Who’s the center of the show? It’s Fiona. Of course she should get paid.”

Watch the interview here:


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