Emmy Rossum's 'Shameless' Exit Made Set 'More Positive Place,' Emma Kenney Says

By on
Shanola Hampton and Emma Kenney
The actresses' shared some Casper pillow talk on Sept. 16.

"Shameless" alum Emma Kenney is holding nothing back as she addressed her drama with former co-star Emmy Rossum and the latter's exit from the Showtime series.

Rossum, 35, left "Shameless" in 2019 after nine seasons of playing Fiona Gallagher, the older sister of Kenney's character Debbie.

Kenney, 22, said on the "Call Her Daddy" podcast Wednesday that Rossum's exit "was weird at first for sure," but her absence also brought positive changes to the set of the drama.

"The set became more of a positive place," Kenney said. "I remember pre her leaving, I’d go to set some days and I’d be very anxious having a scene with her because if she had a bad day, she made it a bad day for everybody."

Kenney recalled Rossum, who is 13 years her senior, being like an actual sister to her—"in good and bad ways."

"There were times when [Rossum] would try to be a good influence and then there were times where she would be blatantly giving me bad...not the best advice," she explained.

The "Connors" alum also noted that she used to feel like there was a "weird competition" between herself and Rossum, adding, "I don't know if it was other people on set creating that or if it was her creating that, but I know I wasn't creating it."

Despite this, Kenney made it clear that after working with Rossum for nearly a decade, she has "a lot of love" for her former co-star and wishes her the best. 

"We haven't spoken in years, but that's OK. I hope that she finds her happiness and I heard she had a baby and that's beautiful and I'm sure she's going to be a lovely mother," she said of Rossum, who welcomed a baby girl in May with her husband of four years, Sam Esmail.

While announcing her exit from the Showtime series three years ago, Rossum wrote a lengthy and emotional message on Facebook about the memories she made and new friendships she forged while working on the show for eight years.

According to her, "Shameless" gave her a kind of stability and a family she never had. Unlike her character Fiona, Rossum said she is an only child and never had a big family but added that she found one on set and it's the "family love" that she had always dreamed of.

Prior to her exit, Variety reported that Rossum asked for a salary higher than that of her "Shameless" co-star William H. Macy, 71, to "make up for previous seasons where she was making significantly less than him."

Rossum eventually settled the pay disparity and signed on for Season 8. However, she left after Season 9. At the time, Macy told multiple outlets that she deserved the same pay.

"Shameless" ended its 11-season run in April after 134 episodes. Rossum did not return for the series finale.


Emmy Rossum Shameless
Emmy Rossum is pictured in her last episode of "Shameless" Season 9. She said she plans to watch Season 10.
Photo: Paul Sarkis/Showtime

Join the Discussion