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The True Story Behind Veronica's Pregnancy Arc On Shameless

"Shameless" is a feel-good family drama about a drunk dad and his emotionally broken brood trying to hold it together just long enough to pay the bills without killing each other. And when we say "feel good," what we mean is "trigger warning! This show can be painfully uncomfortable to watch if your own lived experience is too similar to the fictional events depicted on the show." But that's where this unique, one-of-a-kind series truly shines: in that gray area where art imitates life so hard that it tugs at your emotional strings in ways few shows ever can. We're guessing that's how it has earned so many PRISM, SAG, and Emmy Awards over the years.

The show stars the likes of William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, the hopelessly inebriated patriarch; Emmy Rossum as Fiona, the family rock who struggles to hold them all together; and Shanola Hampton, who plays Fiona's best friend, Veronica. As much as the Gallagher family struggles to keep their heads above water, Veronica has challenges of her own which enrich the plot that much further. At one point in the series, she gets pregnant and gives birth to twin girls. And if you're the curious type who's always wondered why the showrunners chose to make her character get pregnant, well, have we got an exciting story for you!

It's a total coincidence that Hampton and her character were pregnant at the same time

Sometimes in the writer's room, pregnancy storylines are written into the narrative to achieve some sort of ultimate emotional reward in the overarching plot. Other times, an actress gets pregnant unexpectedly, and they have to shoehorn one in because shooting around her pregnancy would be too costly, too complicated, or both. But on the day that Hampton went to tell the showrunners that she was expecting, they were elated for a pretty hilarious reason: they had already decided to make her character, Veronica, pregnant on the show.

She fondly recalls showrunner John Wells telling her, "Great! Because we already have that planned for Veronica, so that means we won't have to put a belly on you." This fun story was published in an interview she did with the Chicago Tribune in February of 2019, but the wacky parallels to her character's mommy arc and her own IRL journey into motherhood don't even end there. She went on to tell the Tribune that the character's pregnancy on the show took about as long to film as her own real-life gestation, right down to the wire. Within 48 hours of filming Veronica's birth scene (which happened on a Friday), Hampton was holding her own baby girl in her arms the Monday after.

It's one thing to write a fictional story that others can absorb, relate to, and enjoy. But when life and art imitate each other so closely, it leads to some emotionally raw and profound experiences that really make the entertainment we consume that much more special.