Emma Kenney is reflecting on her decade-long run on Shameless now that the hit show has ended. The 22-year-old actress, who played Debbie Gallagher, appeared on Wednesday’s episode of the Call Her Daddy podcast and got candid about her relationship with former co-star and on-screen sister, Emmy Rossum.

Kenney said it “one hundred percent” felt like a sibling relationship with Rossum, 35, “in good and bad ways, to be honest.”

Actress Emma Kenney opens up about working with Emmy Rossum on Shameless.Actress Emma Kenney opens up about working with Emmy Rossum on Shameless.

Actress Emma Kenney opens up about working with Emmy Rossum on Shameless. (Photo: Getty Images)

“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’d be blatantly giving me not the best advice,” Kenney told host Alex Cooper. “Maybe she was struggling with her own inner problems and taking it out on other people, but we all handle situations differently.”

When asked if she felt like people were pinning the two against each other, Kenney replied, “I felt that dynamic for sure and I never understood it.”

“I was 9 and she was over 10 years older than me, so I’m like why is there a weird competition here when I’m not trying to compete?” she continued. “I don’t know if it was other people on set creating that, or if it was her creating it, but I know I wasn’t creating it.”

Rossum left the show in 2018 after nine seasons, which Kenney called “bittersweet.”

Shameless stars Emmy Rossum, Emma Kenney and William H. Macy at a 2013 screening of the show. Shameless stars Emmy Rossum, Emma Kenney and William H. Macy at a 2013 screening of the show.

Shameless stars Emmy Rossum, Emma Kenney and William H. Macy at a 2013 screening of the show. (Photo: FilmMagic)

“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. I have a lot of love for her, and I hope that she finds her happiness,” Kenney continued. “I heard she had a baby and that’s beautiful and I’m sure she’s going to be a lovely mother.” (Rossum and husband Sam Esmail secretly welcomed a baby girl in May.)

Kenney went on to discuss how the dynamic on set changed after Rossum’s departure.

“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,” she admitted. “I remember pre [Rossum] 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 credited co-star Shanola Hampton, who played Veronica Fisher, with being “a second mom” and “big sister” on set.

“She’s always been there for me, was always giving me good, sound advice,” she added.

Rossum did not appear in the final season of Shameless much to the disappointment of fans, but the showrunner said it wasn’t for a lack of effort on either side. 

“You know, she very much wanted to, and we wanted her to. It just hit at just the wrong time with the continuing shutdown. She lives in New York, and you know, we were trying to make it work, but there were quarantine setups that were in there if she came out to LA. We couldn’t figure out how to do it in a way that would work with her schedule,” John Wells told Deadline. “So, it was disappointing for everybody, and we would’ve loved to have her back, and she wanted to come back, but it was one of those things that couldn’t get done during the pandemic.”

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