Emma Kenney says Shameless set was 'more positive' after Emmy Rossum left the show
During a candid conversation with the podcast Call Her Daddy, Shameless star Emma Kenney shared stories from her days on the set of the long-running Showtime series, where she played younger sibling Debbie Gallagher, and what it was like working with the show's star Emmy Rossum.
Kenney said that things changed for the better on-set after Rossum, who played elder sibling Fiona Gallagher, left the series in 2019.
"It was weird at first, but the set became a more positive place. I'm not going to lie," 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."
A representative for Rossum didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
Calling the actress' departure "bittersweet," Kenney told the podcast that her real-life relationship with Rossum—who was 13 years older—felt like the sister dynamic between Fiona and Debbie "in good and bad ways."
"There were times when she would try to be a good influence and times where she would be blatantly giving me bad... not the best advice," Kenney said, not going into detail but suggesting "maybe she was struggling with her own inner problems and taking it out on other people."
When EW spoke to Kenney before Shameless' final episodes, the actress reflected on growing up with the series and admitted that being so young on set was a huge learning curve.
"I feel like I had a very interesting roller coaster of an experience from the beginning of the show," she said. "I want to say that was when I was like 17, 18, I think I started to really feel comfortable in my own skin and comfortable to do the best that I could do in front of the camera, and I wasn't holding back anymore with fear of being judged."
Rossum told EW that she chose to leave the series because "it was time for the character to spread her wings and that there was less need for her." And while she didn't return for the show's series finale, Kenney insists she doesn't hold any grudges against her former co-star, who she still considers a friend.
"I've known her for so long, I haven't spoken to her in so long... but that's okay, I have a lot of love for her," said Kenney. "And I hope she finds her happiness. I heard she had a baby and that's beautiful and I'm sure she's going to be a lovely mother."
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