Emmy Rossum, 28, may not be ready for kids, but she does have some maternal instincts. "I adopted a cat from Chicago that was living under the porch where the Gallagher house from Shameless is," she says of her hit Showtime series.
"The cat was freezing in the snow. Now it lives with me and my two dogs in California. It's complete chaos. I have lots of scratch marks."
Her care-giving skills also proved up to par while shooting You're Not You, in theaters Oct. 10. She plays a college student/budding rock singer hired to assist a classical pianist (Hilary Swank) diagnosed with ALS.
"It's a movie about friendship, not illness," Rossum says. "I think of it as a non-romantic love story. Through her illness, Hilary's character really teaches this young girl how to live and a better way to value herself."
A singer herself, Rossum wrote and performed a song for the film and currently has an album out. She started singing professionally at age 7 with the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus, and starred in 2004's The Phantom of the Opera.
"Music is part of me. I like to express that way. I sing anything from rap to Plácido Domingo. I sing at the gym, in the shower, everywhere - although not in my hotel room at 4 this morning, which is when I got back from work."
And, when she's not singing, she's serving as an advocate for "women and domestic violence and breast cancer awareness." Being a voice for the voiceless started early - when Rossum was in elementary school.
"When I was a little kid, there was a handicapped girl in my grade, and everyone was making fun of her. I got so mad I started screaming at the top of my lungs for them to stop. They were so mean. I was the one sent to the principal's office because I overreacted. I've always been the kind of person who fights for the underdog."