'Shameless' Star Jeremy Allen White Says Emmy Rossum's Character Is 'Never Going to Be Replaced'

"She's never going to be replaced; we're just gonna have to figure out how to work it without her," Jeremy Allen White said of Emmy Rossum

Shameless fans may be mourning the exit of Emmy Rossum‘s character, but there’s no replacing Fiona Gallagher.

“She’s never going to be replaced; we’re just gonna have to figure out how to work it without her,” Rossum’s costar Jeremy Allen White — he plays Lip Gallagher on the show — told Variety at the Emmys FYC red carpet for Shameless.

“As sad as I am to lose Emmy as an acting partner, it’s kind of exciting because it’s gonna be a different show; it’ll mix things up,” said White, 28. “It’ll be pretty crazy to see how Lip copes without her and how the Gallaghers survive without their matriarch.”

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Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME

In August, after nine seasons on the Showtime series, Rossum, 32, announced her departure in a lengthy Facebook post.

“The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift. There are few characters — female or otherwise — as layered and dynamic. She is a mother lion, fierce, flawed and sexually liberated. She is injured, vulnerable, but will never give up. She is living in an economic depression, but refuses to be depressed. She is resourceful. She is loyal. She is brave. I knew it the second I read the pilot script, this was different, this was special,” she wrote about playing the scrappy Chicago native.

“I know you will continue on without me, for now,” she concluded. “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.”

Following her announcement, her on-screen father William H. Macy (Frank Gallagher) praised the actress for making the difficult decision to leave.

“We’ve been expecting it,” Macy said during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I tell you, when you get to season 9 and you think of [whether] to keep going, it’s daunting.”

“It’s hard not to think of: ‘What would my life be post-Shameless?’ And part of it is very frightening and part of it is very exciting,” added Macy, 68.

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“She’s young and I think she’s made the right choice. She’s got another show that she’s an executive producer on, so she’s going right into something and she wants to branch out. Plus, she just got married,” Macy said in reference to Emmy’s husband, Sam Esmail. “I wish her well. I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do next.”

And months later, Macy still stands behind Rossum’s choice to exit the John Wells and Paul Abbott-created show.

“I was completely behind her decisions, but I’m going to miss her,” Macy told Variety. “Emmy has serious acting chops. You can’t buy ’em, you can’t learn ’em, you’ve got to have ’em. It’s going to be brand new territory without her; who knows where it’s going to go?”

Macy also hinted that Rossum could make a return.

“I think Emmy will come back and make a guest appearance before this thing sets sail. She better, otherwise I’m gonna grab her by the ear and bring her back,” he joked.

Her departure came two years after she made headlines when she refused to sign on for the Showtime drama’s eighth season unless she was offered more than Macy to make up for the seven years she was paid significantly less. Days later, the Golden Globe-nominated actress and Warner Bros. came to terms on a new contract.

The season 9 finale of Shameless (Rossum’s final episode) airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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