We know Emily Hampshire as our beloved Stevie Budd on the hit series Schitt's Creek. But before she was making audiences everywhere laugh, the actress was nearly broke and going on some hilariously awkward first dates.
Before Emily Hampshire graced our screens as a comedy mogul in one of the most spoken about shows, she was just a cute baby welcomed into the world on August 29th, 1981. Little Emily was born and raised in Montreal, Canada.
Hampshire had a bright and happy childhood, and it wasn't long before she found something to be passionate about, and this something would affect the rest of her life. At eleven years old, Emily went to see Les Miserables in the theater. Nothing would ever be the same.
A Child Actress
But the monumental moment that changed her life almost didn't happen. Emily actually wanted to go to her school crush's pool party, but the youngster's mom dragged her to the Les Miserables performance. As Hampshire became mesmerized by the action on stage, she forgot everything else.
"I felt like I left the earth," Emily recalled of the crucial turning point. From that moment on, the little girl understood her calling in life was to act. And she got right to it! Just four years after seeing Les Mis, Hampshire booked her first on-screen gig.
Moving To the City
But Emily saw a future for herself way beyond the confinements of Montreal and knew that she needed to go somewhere else to further a budding acting career. So at a mere sixteen years old, Hampshire packed up and moved to Toronto, Canada, not too concerned with graduating high school.
Whether the teen's parents were happy with that decision or not, "They knew they couldn't have stopped me," Emily explained of the move. She booked more film roles, like 1998's Boy Meets Girl and 1999's The Life Before This. Hampshire also got a few gigs on TV series.
"I Never Had a Job"
The young thespian was even accepted into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. But it seems Emily might've believed in that old saying, "Don't let schooling interfere with education," because she turned down the opportunity since it conflicted with a film job.
Hampshire booked so many roles, she didn't need to work other jobs. "I now realize I was very fortunate. I never had another job, I started acting really young, like 11, and I never had a 'job' job," she reflected. "I've learned skills on movies like I had three days of cashier training and stuff like that."
Her First Gigs
The move to Toronto paid off. By the early 2000s, Emily had experience playing a variety of characters in films, series, and made-for-television movies. And the young star didn't look back; Hampshire knew that she was on the right path - even if that big break-out role hadn't come yet.
Even if not all of the parts Emily booked were significant, and some were for only a one-episode appearance on a running show, she kept working. Stars don't usually shoot to fame overnight and Hampshire patiently waited for her moment and enjoyed the ride.
Auditions Gave Her Hives
But despite her patience (and slowly-rising success), all of the auditions eventually took a toll on Emily. The mental stress of it began showing up on her body in ways out of her control. "I started breaking out in full-body hives when I went to audition," Hampshire shared.
The reaction caused more internal stress. "That caused a lot of anxiety when I broke out in hives," Emily added. "So I told my... agent that I can't audition anymore. I can put myself on tape, but I can't go into the room." And then Hampshire hit a turning point.
'My Awkward... Adventure'
Over a decade after making the life-changing move to Toronto, Emily's big moment arrived. Well, it didn't exactly arrive - the actress worked her butt off to get to it. Hampshire starred in a leading role in the 2012 Canadian comedy, My Awkward Sexual Adventure.
The film received mixed reviews but Emily's acting was highly praised and earned critical notice. The Montreal-native was officially in the Canadian spotlight after starring in the movie alongside Jonas Chernick and Sarah Manninen. Little did she know what awaited her...
Her Personal Life Took a Hit
The same year as My Awkward Sexual Adventure, Emily was hired for another lead role. This time, she starred as the protagonist in the Canadian-Spanish film The Returned, which premiered in 2013. But in her personal life, things weren't going so well.
Let's rewind seven years before The Returned, and Emily was a happy newlywed. The actress married former soccer player, turned agent Matthew Smith in 2006. But as the performer's career took off not too long after, her relationship with Matthew got rocky.
Before things took a turn for the worst, Emily spoke fondly of her husband. "He always wanted to be a sports agent like Jerry Maguire," she lovingly shared in a 2009 interview with The Star. But for reasons undisclosed at the moment, their love eventually changed.
About a decade after they tied the knot, Matthew Smith filed for divorce. Although Hampshire probably knew deep down that it was the right decision, it didn't make the whole situation easy to navigate. Little did she know that one door had just closed on her... but another would soon open.
A Life-Changing Audition
Shortly after the unfortunate split from her ex-husband, Emily's agent in Canada found her a new gig to audition for. Much like when she went to see the Les Miserables performance at age 11, Hampshire never imagined how pivotal this opportunity would be.
Yes, we're talking about the audition for Schitt's Creek. And while at that point Emily wasn't going to auditions in person, her agent convinced her otherwise for this gig. "She's like, 'Go in the room. They're Canadians. They're nice,'" Hampshire said. "And I went in there and that changed a lot of things."
Annie Murphy Was Competition
The audition was a bright light in a dark moment. "I was in a bad place in my life," Emily said. "I hadn't worked in a year, I was getting a divorce, I was getting nervous in auditions." The actress added that she had a mere $800 in the bank and was on the verge of moving in with a friend.
The Schitt's Creek audition was crucial, but she had some tough competition: Annie Murphy. "I auditioned for Alexis and I got a call from Dan [Levy] after my first audition, asking me to also audition for Stevie. So I ended up testing for both of those ladies," Murphy revealed to Vulture in April 2018.
Getting the Role
But despite anxiety and possible hives, Hampshire made an unforgettable impression on the producers of the show. Even Annie, her competition, knew the moment they met that Emily was the only one meant to play the soon-to-be-iconic Stevie Budd on our screens.
"As soon as I met Emily [Hampshire], I was like, 'Why on earth would these people entertain the idea of anyone else playing this part?' She blows it out of the water ... I don't want to live in a world where Emily doesn't play Stevie!" Murphy gushed.
She Didn't Know How Big the Role Was
It wouldn't be long before Schitt's Creek shot Emily to fame in Canada and beyond. But at the time, she had no idea how crucial her role in the series was. "I didn't know that Stevie was going to be as amazing as she turned out to be," Hampshire confessed of the legendary character.
She added, "For Stevie, what I love so much about her is what when I signed onto the show, I really thought that I was going to be just the girl behind the desk who gives David and the family their towels because we didn't read a script." But the hilarious show wasn't the only thing Emily juggled.
She Was a "Workaholic"
A self-defined workaholic, Emily went from being nearly broke to balancing multiple jobs. "When I signed on [Schitt's Creek], it was originally just going to be a Canadian show... nobody knew that shows would stream," she explained. "[My agent] managed to get me this amazing deal in which I was allowed to do another American show."
So Hampshire worked on Schitt's Creek, 12 Monkeys, and movies for Xavier Dolan and Darren Aronofsky all at the same time. "I'm a workaholic," she admitted. "I've had other addictions that I've substituted all into work. Because there's always got to be something." But Schitt's Creek turned out to be much more than work...
Acting on Schitt's Creek was different from what Emily ever imagined it would be, and not only because she didn't initially understand how major the role of Stevie Budd was. The actress soon grew attached to her co-stars, describing Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara as "warm" and "lovely."
"They were so generous with us. It was Annie [Murphy]'s first big show and they treated us all like equals," Hampshire detailed. "We all collaborated together on the same level. There was no hierarchy, which is rare on a show." This led to some off-screen magic...
A New Family
Even the veteran actors on the show felt relatable (behind the scenes, that is). "They have every right to be, like, king of the castle, [but they were] never like that," Emily said of her fellow castmates. And the on-set comradery and equality created an intimate bond amongst the actors.
"One thing that we get from people all the time [is that the show] felt like family and it affected them. The same thing happened to us," Hampshire shared. "We genuinely really like each other, like, a lot. I miss most the people." As things took a turn for the better professionally, Emily decided to give post-divorce dating a shot.
Hitting Up Tinder
But the dating initiative led to a total disaster date - all thanks to Tinder. Honestly, we'd be lying if we said we weren't slightly amused. It all started when the newly divorced actress decided to try her luck online. Sure enough, after swiping away, she finally hit the jackpot - or so she thought.
"I see this guy... And he looks clean and, like, employable and not a serial killer," she hilariously recalled. "So, like all the boxes: check, check, check." Well, let's just say things didn't quite go as planned after agreeing to meet up at a local bar.
A Turn for the Worst
Safe to say, Emily was nervous about her debut into the dating world after a heartbreaking divorce. And things got weird real quick. After arriving at their date venue, the actress opted for a seat right next to her blind date, Ari, despite there being "other [seating] options."
But, as Hampshire went on to explain, her awkward seating choice was about to be the least of her worries. After her mystery man proceeded to compliment her -"something nice about the way I looked," Emily said - things took a sudden turn for the worst.
She Started Crying
"I proceeded to cry," Hampshire revealed. Like really cry. So much so, that "he laughed when snot blew out of my nose and hugged me," the actress continued. And that adorable gesture from someone who was basically a stranger led to the next embarrassing moment.
Emily detailed, "When he hugged me [with] his very clean white shirt, I basically left, like, an imprint of the joker face on his white shirt." Yikes. Sure enough, one hefty dry cleaning bill and sinus infection later (Seriously. Emily got a sinus infection from crying so hard), the two are actually better than ever...
They Became Friends
Yes, we mean it - the Tinder mates are still in touch! In fact, "To this day, this is years later, we laugh about the snot bubble. My first ever Tinder date, Ari, is still my dear friend," Hampshire revealed of her worst date. Well, that's an unexpected (and cute) ending to that saga.
Although we've got a feeling Miss Hampshire won't be going on any blind dates anytime soon, we're glad to see she's able to laugh at the sticky situation looking back. And a genuine friendship came out of it! Then a few years later, Emily had another first date...
A New Love
But it looked like this first date turned out significantly different from that first one. Much more than a friendship flourished from the encounter, as Emily quickly fell in love with singer Teddy Geiger. As far as the public knows, this was Hampshire's first serious relationship since her divorce.
The happy women looked like they were going strong - and they weren't afraid to show their love to the world. Both Teddy and Emily loved posting together on Instagram, with sweet captions like, "Just me & my girlfriend," and talking about how much they missed each other when apart.
They Got Engaged
And it wasn't long before the lovebugs took things to the next level. Seven months after becoming a couple, Teddy and Emily got engaged. "I love this woman so much she treats me like a lil princess and makes me laugh harder than anyone," Geiger wrote in an emotional Instagram post.
She continued, "I'm so f**king happy to wake up next to her every morning and fall asleep next to her every night..." Hampshire also shared her happiness with fans as she wrote, "My millennial girlfriend is now my millennial #fiance & I feel like the luckiest girl in the world." And then the unexpected happened.
Calling It off
At first, it seemed like the couple was in engagement heaven. "It has been, like, really amazing," Teddy gushed. "And I think we like to move at the same pace, and we're both, like, super into therapy. So, we're getting good at doing all that sort of, like, processing stuff." Geiger even detailed the wedding plans.
The singer told Us Weekly that the happy couple was thinking of eloping. But then things suddenly changed: six months after the very public engagement, the two lovebirds called it off and went their separate ways. But what Emily discovered during their time together changed her forever.
Emily's Self-Discovery Journey
Just a little bit before calling it quits with Teddy, Emily took to the Gram and spoke openly about her sexuality. Being with Geiger helped the actress realize that she was not heterosexual; Hampshire identified as pansexual. And the heavy romance wasn't the only thing that guided this journey of self-discovery.
A scene in Schitt's Creek, where David (Dan Levy) explained his pansexuality to Stevie helped out, too. "So... #truestory way back when we shot this scene I didn't know what #pansexuality was. CUT TO: 5 years later I find myself regularly explaining my own pansexuality to people with, 'It's like, I'm into the wine, not the label,'" Emily captioned her coming out video on the Gram.
The Celeb Who Helped Her Come Out
While Schitt's Creek (and Dan Levy) helped the star pinpoint exactly where she fell on the sexuality spectrum, there was another special someone who helped Emily with her coming out journey: Carson Kressley, the TV personality and original Queer Eye member.
"There's always somebody who paves the way to make somebody else's path a little easier," Hampshire explained. "The power of coming out is that you become human. I think the more there is visibility like that, and the more it's normalized - when you know somebody then you see the human in them." Emily made strides personally - and her career took off.
A Super Bowl Ad
With the rising success of Schitt's Creek, companies began approaching Emily to do advertisements for them. And while she usually rejected them, one offer caught her eye: a Super Bowl commercial for Tide. This signaled a huge moment in Hampshire's career as an official Hollywood icon.
"I actually was trying to break it to the Tide people that I wasn't actually really that into sports or football... and then at one point, the brand guy was like: 'We got that you weren't into football when you called their uniforms 'costumes,' so, yeah, we're on the same page,'" she laughingly recalled. Soon, bigger things came her way.
Awards on Awards
While we now can't imagine the sitcom world without Schitt's Creek, it was actually quite under-discussed for a few years after premiering. Initially intended to only be a Canadian show, its popularity erupted with the rise of streaming services. And thus came endless awards Emily's way.
From nearly broke to a workaholic with multiple gigs, Hampshire was suddenly a critically acclaimed star with the trophies to show it. Schitt's Creek's success at awards shows took off in 2019 and didn't slow down. In 2020, the hit series took home the most Emmys won by any comedy in a single year. But what happened when the show ended?
'Schitt's Creek' Will Be Back...
The sixth and final season of Schitt's Creek aired in April 2020. "We ended the show... because I never wanted it to get stale," creator Dan Levy said. And while the series' Farewell Tour was canceled due to the pandemic, Emily felt confident that the cast would reunite.
"We are going to work together again," Hampshire told ComicBook.com. "There's definitely never gonna be another show... but... I'm sure because I know and love these people that we're gonna do something like that, get together and do some movie or something." In the meantime, she was busy with scarier things...
From Humor to Horror
After rising to stardom for making millions laugh along with the Rose family and the rest of the Schitt's Creek fam, Emily made a sudden move out of comedy. At the time of this article's writing, the actress just made her horror debut in the television series Chapelwaite.
The horror show, based on Stephen King's short story titled Jerusalem's Lot, follows Captain Charles Boone (Adrien Brody) and his family as they return to a small town in Maine, where a family history haunts them... And in comes Hampshire, playing Rebecca Morgan, an ambitious writer with a daunting family mystery.
Landing the Title Role
And Hampshire is just getting started. Not long after announcing her leading role in Chapelwaite, the talented gal made headlines once more after signing up for another protagonist part. And this isn't just any show: it's a reboot of the hit 1970s sitcom, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
Emily is set to star as the new Mary Hartman in the highly-anticipated revival. But that's not all: she will reportedly also co-write the series and serve as an executive producer. From Stevie Budd to horror roles and cult classic revivals, it looks like there's no stopping Emily Hampshire.