Emma Kenney Says 'Shameless' Set Became 'More of a Positive Place' After Emmy Rossum Left

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Emma Kenney doesn't always have the fondest memories or working with her on-screen sister, Emmy Rossum, on the Showtime series Shameless. The 22-year-old actress was a guest on the Call Her Daddy podcast, and got candid about playing Debbie Gallagher to Rossum's Fiona Gallagher. 

When asked if she and Rossum had a sisterly relationship in real life, Kenney replied, "One hundred percent in good and bad ways, to be honest."

"We were both so young. I was obviously a lot younger," Kenney expanded on their 13-year age gap. "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. Maybe she was struggling with her own inner problems and taking it out on other people." 

Kenney added that she took stock of Rossum and others' actions while growing up on sets, saying it influenced "things I want to carry on in my life and things I do not want to carry on in my life." 

The actress added that she "for sure" felt there was a dynamic of pitting Rossum against her. 

"I never understood it because I was nine and she was over 10 years older than me. So I was like, 'Why is there a weird competition here when I'm not trying to compete?'" she said. "I don't know if it was other people on set trying to create that or if it was her creating it, but I know I wasn't creating it." 

She called Rossum's early exit from the show in 2019 "bittersweet" adding, "It was weird at first, for sure, but the set [was] a little more of a positive place. I'm not going to lie. 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." 

Despite their differences, Kenney said she has "a lot of love for Emmy."

"I have known her for so long. We haven't spoken in years, but that's OK, I have a lot of love for her," she shared. "I hope she finds her happiness. I heard she had a baby, and that's beautiful. I'm sure she's going to be a lovely mother." 

As for people in the cast that Kenney really bonded with, she named Shanola Hampton, who played Veronica Fisher. 

"Shanola, she's like a second mom to me, big sister, second mom, whatever it is," she said. "She's always been there for me and was always giving me very good, sound advice." 

ET has reached out to reps for Rossum and Showtime about Kenney's claims. Rossum has not publicly addressed her co-star's comments. 

While they may have had their differences, in September 2018, Rossum shared a throwback photo with Kenney in honor of her birthday. "Happy birthday, little cupcake. This is one of the first pictures of us together. It’s been a privilege to know you for almost a decade," she wrote. "You are a talented classy strong badass Virgo woman! #virgoseason."


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