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Shameless star Emma Kenney addresses Emmy Rossum's departure

The two played siblings on the Showtime family drama for nine years

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Emmy Rossum and Emma Kenney in 2013
Emmy Rossum and Emma Kenney in 2013
Photo: Frederick M. Brown (Getty Images)

Emma Kenney, who played Debbie Gallagher on Shameless for a decade, expressed her feelings about co-star Emmy Rossum leaving the show in 2018. In a recent interview with the Call Her Daddy podcast, Kenney shares how she and Rossum’s relationship felt like a true sibling relationship, in both good and bad ways.

“We 100% felt like a family, and we still do,” says the now 22-year-old of her fellow Shameless cast members. “We had such a bonding experience.”


With Rossum being 13 years older than Kenney though, that elder sibling dynamic was intensified on and off screen. “We were both so young, I was obviously a lot younger. There were times where she would try to be a good influence and then there were times where she would be blatantly giving me… not the best advice,” Kenney says. “Maybe she was struggling with her own inner problems and taking it out on other people. But we all handle situations differently.”

“Growing up I took note of—not just from her in particular—things I want to carry on my life and things I don’t want to carry on,” she continues.


Following Rossum’s departure from the series in 2018, Kenney says, “It was weird at first for sure but it also—the set became a little bit more of a positive place, I’m not gonna lie.”

While none of the friction on set was too obvious for viewers (aside from Rossum’s contract negotiations in 2016), Kenney says on set was a different experience. “I remember pre-her leaving, I’d go to set some days and I’d be very anxious about having a scene with her because if she had a bad day, she made it a bad day for everybody,” Kenney says.

Despite these rumbles while working as coworkers, The Conners actor says there are no hard feelings, but the two no longer talk.

“I have a lot of love for Emmy, I’ve known her for so long. We haven’t spoken in years… but that’s okay,” she says. “I have a lot of love for her, and I hope that 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.”