Emmy Rossum made headlines in August 2018 when she announced she was leaving “Shameless,” the Showtime show that defined her acting career. At the time, Rossum confirmed on Facebook that season 9 would be her last. She had nothing but positive words for her time as Fiona Gallagher, the older sister and mother figure to her sister and four brothers. “[U]Unlike Fiona, I’m an only child. I never had a big family. Being immersed in this messy family love of the Gallaghers was something I had always dreamed of. But even off the set it feels real,” she wrote in the emotional post.
Rossum never gave an official reason for leaving the series, but the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ actress implied in her message that she was ready to explore new territory. “Typically every few months as an actor you travel to a new place, start a new project, build a new character, learn new rhythms, new inside jokes with your crew, make new friends,” she wrote.
Shameless creator John Wells told Entertainment Weekly that he and Rossum were trying to figure out a way to have Fiona in the April 11 finale. However, the COVID-19 pandemic intervened. “[R]Around the time we were talking about putting it all together was when the extra lockdowns kicked in again and it just didn’t feel safe or practical for them to come back,” he said. It sounded like Rossum was on good terms, but a “Shameless” star would see it differently.
Emma Kenney said Emmy Rossum scared her
Emma Kenney has mixed feelings about her former screen sister Emmy Rossum, who is 13 years older. Kenney, who played Debbie Gallagher on Shameless, revealed on the Call Her Daddy podcast that she had a real-life sisterly relationship with Rossum that had both the good and the bad. “There were times when she was trying to be a good influence, and then there were times when she was obviously giving me bad advice…not the best advice,” Kenney said (via E! News).
The Conners star also said Rossum had a hard time leaving her personal life outside when she went to work. As a result, the atmosphere on the set brightened after Rossum left. “I remember before she left I went on set for a few days and I would be very concerned about having a scene with her because if she was having a bad day, she made it a bad day for everyone,” Kenney said (via E! News). However, Kenney said she has “a lot of love” for Rossum, despite them not speaking for a long time.
In her farewell Facebook post, Rossum appeared to have nothing but affection for her co-stars. “I taught Emma to shave her legs. I was there when Ethan was learning to drive. Shanola and Jeremy and Joan and Bill danced at my wedding,” Rossum wrote. Sounds like the Gallagher sisters’ complicated relationship sometimes reflected what was going on behind the scenes.