Emmy Rossum on Connecting to Kids

I remember clearly the first moment I heard Emmy Rossum, (The Phantom of the Opera, Mystic River, The Day After Tomorrow, Poseidon) sing in The Phantom of the Opera film. I knew I was listening to an angel and someone truly talented.


I was excited to have the opportunity to speak with Emmy about her childhood and what her parents did to guide her choices. Emmy speaks about connection in particular, a critical component to raising kids who care about themselves and their world.

By the age of seven, she was singing with the Metropolitan Opera, performing in more than 20 separate productions in six different languages at Lincoln Center alongside icons such as Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. 

Rossum grew up in Manhattan as an only child and was raised by her photographer mother. With her mom often traveling, the young Emmy was often left to her own devices, much of the time spent listening to classical music like Vivaldi and jazz piano by John Lewis. 

PB: How has your family encouraged you or influenced you in your career? You are still young and must be coping with tremendous pressures on an ongoing basis.

 ER: The number one thing my family has done for me is to keep me grounded. My family isn’t actually a musical family at all, so this is new to all of us. I was raised by a single mom, so I learned a great deal from her about having a strong work ethic. I also had to take care of myself and learned how to rely on myself. My family is really big on helping me remember what is ok and what is not ok….in terms of behavior and what I wore….all of it. I learned from my family that when I look back on my life I will be most proud of the kindness, love and loyalty that I expressed over any other kind of success I may enjoy.

PB: How have you stayed clear from so many of the pitfalls that other young stars today fall into?

ER: It is a question of living my life in as normal way as possible. I live in New York so I have far less of an issue with paparazzi. I stay clear of the “celebrity lifestyle” for the most part. I do my own laundry and shopping. I don’t go to restaurants where other celebrities and the paparazzi hang out and I don’t date celebrities. I live a private and quiet life as much as possible.

PB: What qualities would you say are crucial for parents to instill in their kids who might choose this or some equally challenging profession?

ER: I think that giving kids support and reassurance is really, really important. There is so much rejection in the world in general and certainly in this profession. My family gave me so much support when I would be upset when I didn’t get a part, for example. I was always told that I would be the reason I would succeed or fail. I felt very empowered and I think that is a huge gift to give a child.

PB: What is the most critical gift your parents gave to you to help you feel good about your life and the world around you everyday?

ER: Parents should teach their kids to be realistic, strong and self-reliant. Tough love was a strategy that my mother utilized and it really helped me know where the boundaries were. This helped foster a sense of security in me that is really wonderful. Often I come home and just sit on the couch and watch a movie and have a hug and it is the best. It is the sense of connection to my family and that support that I know that is always there that really helps me stay focused and deal with the pressures and the pitfalls, as well as cope with the success in a positive way.

PB: What advice would you give to your child one day to nurture their ability to care?

ER: We all need to slow down so that we see the beauty of life. We all should just take a breath and the world will be a calmer place….and a better place for kids to grow up in.


Anne Leedom is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Parentingbookmark.com and LifePalz.com. Her work has been featured in national online media, print and TV. She is also the Founder of Net Connect Publicity.You can reach her at anne@netconnectpublicity.com. 

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