“Until Shameless came into my life 8 years ago, I led that kind of transient wonderful life of an actor. And I never realized how much I actually craved the kind of continuity that this show has given me. And given all of us in the crew,” Rossum wrote in a lengthy goodbye post via Facebook in August 2018. “Season after season I’m amazed that our same crew comes back. And it’s not just because it’s a wonderfully written, wonderfully layered show. There are these real connections, real friendships that bring us back season after season after season.”
The director, who joined the drama series during its series debut in 2011, confirmed that she was leaving after nine seasons.
“I am proud and I’m filled with gratitude,” she noted at the time. “I know you will continue on without me, for now. There is much more Gallagher story to be told. I will always be rooting for my family. Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block.”
Two years after Fiona’s story arc was wrapped up on Shameless, the Showtime show ended its 11 season run. At the time, showrunner John Wells explained that Rossum did not reprise her role due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We wanted her to return and had some story lines about her coming back and she wanted to do it. Based on what was going on with the pandemic, when we were planning it — there have been so many surges, I can’t remember which one it was — but the quarantines went back into effect between New York [where Rossum resides] and Los Angeles, and it was impossible to figure out how to get her back,” Wells told The Hollywood Reporter in April 2021 after Shameless aired its series finale. “That was the biggest disappointment: not being able to make that work out because we all wanted it to happen. A very minor but sad result of everything that’s happened in the pandemic.”
Six months later, Emma Kenney, who played Debbie Gallagher, reflected on how her dynamic on set with Rossum had its ups and downs over the years.
“I was obviously a lot younger,” Kenney explained during an appearance on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast in October 2021. “There were times when [Emmy] would try to be a good influence, and then there were times where she would be blatantly giving me … not the best advice.”
The Connors star revealed that she felt like a “weird competition” existed between her and Rossum, noting, “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.”
Although Kenney wished her former costar the best, she couldn’t help but compare their professional relationship to a sibling one in “good and bad ways.”
“Maybe she was struggling with her own inner problems and taking it out on other people,” the New York native added at the time.
Scroll down to see what other Shameless cast members had to say about working alongside Rossum: