Speaking to Alexandra Cooper and Sofia Franklyn on their popular Call Her Daddy podcast, Kenney described her interactions with Rossum on the show as like a sibling relationship, “in good and bad ways.” Kenney and Rossum played sisters in the long-running series about the Gallaghers, a working-class, dysfunctional family living on the South Side of Chicago.
“We were both so young; I was obviously a lot younger,” said Kenney, who was only 11 during the first season. “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. But we all handle situations differently.”
Kenney didn’t expand on what that bad advice was, but she added, “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.”
When asked if she felt like she was living in Rossum’s shadow on the show, Kenney responded, “I felt that dynamic for sure, and I never understood it… 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?’ 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.”
In August 2018, Rossum announced her exit from Shameless after nine seasons playing Fiona Gallagher. Kenney said “the set became a little bit more of a positive place” after Rossum’s departure. “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.”
While The Conners star said she has “a lot of love for Emmy,” she admitted that the pair are not in touch. “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.”
According to E! Online, a source close to Rossum said that the actress is “planning to reach out to Emma privately” after hearing Kenney’s accounts. “This is not how Emmy remembers their work relationship and friendship,” the source claimed. “She’s really surprised and disappointed about this as it’s not the way she remembers her time spent on set and especially with Emma.”
Shameless, Seasons 1-11, Now Streaming, Showtime