Emma Rose Kenney

Emma Kenney

Emma Kenney, a renowned actress in American cinema and television, achieved stardom for her portrayal of Debbie in the youth series “Shameless” and her participation in the sitcom “Roseanne.” As of 2023, Kenney’s portfolio boasts approximately 15 acting roles. Yet, she aspires to explore the realm of directing. Kenney is also recognized as a vocal proponent for “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” (PETA) and champions animal welfare, aspiring to establish a sizeable refuge for stray cats and dogs.

What we know about this person

Full name:

Emma Rose Kenney

Date of birth:

September 14, 1999

Zodiac sign:



New York City, New York, USA





Marital status:





5' 6" (1.7 m)


139 lbs (63 kg)


actress, director

Early life

Emma Rose Kenney entered the world on September 14, 1999, in the bustling city of New York. Her mother is a legal practitioner specializing in criminal defense, while her father carves out a niche as a sports journalist, contributing to esteemed publications like the “New York Post” and “Fox Sports.” Emma grew up alongside a brother. From a tender age, she was magnetically drawn to the performing arts, a passion fervently encouraged by her supportive parents.

At merely three years old, Kenney was already staging miniature theatrical performances, harboring dreams of television stardom. Observing her passion, her mother astutely enrolled her in a drama club—a decision that would prove to be prescient. By the age of five, Emma was engrossed in mastering the craft of acting, thoroughly enchanted by the artistic realm. Kenney has often expressed immense gratitude towards her parents for their unwavering support and foresight in nurturing her early interests.


Emma Kenney’s journey into acting commenced in her formative years. By eight, she had procured her own agent and embarked on her inaugural professional endeavor, a promotional campaign for the distinguished “Scholastic Books.” Her initial foray into acting was a minor role in the production “Lyre Liar.” It was here that Kenney crossed paths with Lauren Lindsey Donzis and Ayinde Howell. This project made its debut in 2008.

In the ensuing year, at a mere nine years of age, Kenney ventured into filmmaking. Over a brief span, she directed a short film titled “The New Girl in Town” with her friends. The project garnered acclaim and led to Kenney being honored as the youngest recipient of an award at the prestigious New Jersey International Film Festival.

2008 brought Kenney an enticing opportunity to star as the lead in the film “Bittersweet,” helmed by director Greg Levine. She shared the screen with Joshua Ormond and Shayna Levine, demonstrating remarkable skill in her role. The following year saw Kenney feature in various successful ventures, such as “A (Not So) Civil Union” and “Three Little Puppets,” alongside Matthew Lincoln and Raphael Mishler.

Simultaneously, Kenney appeared in two television series, “Green Apples” with Christina Bennett Lind and “Day Camp.” 2011 marked a pivotal year for her, as she secured a role in the popular series “Shameless,” portraying Debbie Gallagher. The series, spanning a decade, endeared Kenney to audiences as she matured in tandem with her character.

In “Shameless,” Kenney depicted the daughter of a troubled family, enduring the hardships brought on by her flawed father. She balanced her academic pursuits with the demands of filming, dedicating the first half of each year to her studies and the latter to acting. To keep pace with her education, Kenney assiduously engaged with multiple tutors. She has openly discussed how her character’s traits occasionally influenced her personal belief system.

In 2018, Kenney embarked on her role in the hit series “Roseanne.” She recounts the filming experience as stress-free and exceptionally congenial. On set, she worked alongside Glenn Quinn and Alicia Goranson, forming close bonds with virtually every member of the production team. The extended duration of the shoot was a source of joy for her.


Emma Kenney in Shameless

Emma Rose Kenney Movies and TV Shows

  • 2022

    Murder at Yellowstone City


  • 2020–2021

    Shameless Hall of Shame

    Debbie Gallagher

  • 2020

    Back to Lyla


  • 2019

    Robert the Bruce


  • 2018


    Harris Conner-Healy

  • 2018–present

    The Conners

    Harris Conner-Healy

  • 2011–2021


    Debbie Gallagher

  • 2010–2014

    Boardwalk Empire

    Aylesh Rohan

  • 2009

    Day Camp

    Rosie Rivette

  • 2009

    Three Little Puppets



Emma Kenny and Emmy Rossum

Emma Kenney’s personal life and family

Emma Kenney is discreet about her private life. Despite media speculation of a romance with Aramis Knight, Kenney later clarified that they were merely friends. An active advocate on social media, she passionately supports animal rights causes, aiding in finding homes for abandoned dogs.

Published: December 22, 2023
Updated: June 24, 2024