Is ‘Shameless’ Actor Ethan Cutkosky Related to Lil Xan?

Actor Ethan Cutkosky and Los Angeles rapper Lil Xan have a lot in common. Both have spent the bulk of their career in California (Cutkosky’s TV show Shameless, while set in Chicago, was mostly filmed in Los Angeles). Both have played personas heavily inspired by drugs (Lil Xan’s stage name comes from the medication Xanax). And many members of their respective audiences even think the two men look alike. This has made some fans question whether the similarities are a coincidence, or if the celebrities are related.

Ethan Cutkosky smiling in front of a blue background
Ethan Cutkosky | Lisa O’Connor LISA/AFP via Getty Images

Cutkosky has starred on ‘Shameless’ since 2011

After playing various small parts on films like 2007’s Fred Claus and 2009’s The Unborn, Cutkosky got his breakout role in the early 2010s on the Showtime TV drama Shameless. The actor was just 11 years old at the time, reported his hometown newspaper The Daily Herald. The outlet explains that the actor’s TV career began by accident after his father and mother booked him with a talent agent just to give their child something to do.

“It started with the Walgreens ad, and it blossomed and took off from there,” his dad told the newspaper. “To Ethan, this is just a social life, and he doesn’t think of it as work at all.” In Shameless, which is entering its 11th and final season, Cutkosky plays Carl Gallagher. Gallagher is the second-youngest child in the show’s infamous Gallagher family. As the character grows up, he increasingly embraces his family’s life of crime before reforming himself and attending military school in season nine.

Lil Xan is named after the prescription drug Xanax

Lil Xan, whose real name is actually Nicholas Leanos, is a Mexican-American rapper and songwriter. In the mid-2010s, Lil Xan began uploading his music to social media platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud. The musician quickly gained a following for his muddled, murky audio aesthetic. “Not much is known about Lil Xan other than the fact that his records such as ‘Betrayed’ and ‘Slingshot’ have millions of views and plays on YouTube and SoundCloud,” reported XXL when the artist’s popularity was taking off. “The … West Coast native is a new face in hip-hop and his alternative approach to rap is garnering a legion of music lovers to adore him. The crazy thing is, he’s only been rapping for a couple of years.” Some of his most recent singles include “My Girlfriend” and “Everything I Own,” both of which came out in 2020.


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On a post that quickly went viral, Reddit user athee23 published three photos of Cutkosky, Lil Xan and singer Billie Eilish, noting that they looked very similar to each other. Many Reddit users quickly agreed. “They [sic] triplets!” exclaimed one reply. This isn’t the first time that people have noted that Cutkosky and Lil Xan look alike.

“The uncanny resemblance between Lil Xan and Shameless actor Ethan Cutkosky is a joke that seems to have exponential value,” reports Hot New Hip-hop. Fans of the actor and rapper alike have been posting memes either highlighting or mocking the similar appearances between the two celebrities.

The two men have even played along, once appearing on stage together. “It seems Lil Xan is honored to be associated with his TV doppelganger,” notes the outlet. “During his concert in LA…he was joined on stage by the Shameless actor. […] The funniest bit about this story is that they appear to be friends in real life.” While they may be friends, there’s one thing that Cutkosky and Lil Xan are not: They aren’t related at all.