In chatting with Shameless star Shanola Hampton, you quickly learn that she is much like her character Veronica: a hilarious, awesome pal. We talk with her to get the scoop on the brand-new season of Shameless, as well as the impending arrival of her first baby! And had lots of laughs along the way.
OK!: What’s it like when you guys get back together?
Shanola Hampton: Like a family reunion. In spurts we’ll get together even when we’re on hiatus, lunches here and there. We keep up with each other, but everyone’s been so busy this past hiatus with projects, so we looooooove it when we get back together. It’s loud and it’s crazy, and it’s a lot of laughs, and a lot of hugs.
OK!: Where did we leave Veronica off last season?
SH: Last season we left Veronica off with her mother trying to have their baby. We found out that she did conceive—she conceived actually before or she wouldn’t have had to have sex so many times! Yay, she conceived, so all’s well, riiight?
OK!: So your pregnancy will be part of the show, then?
SH: You’ll have to watch the first episode! No! It’ll be in very Shameless fashion, and it won’t be like anything else, so don’t worry!
OK!: What spoilers can you give us, then, for where your character is going in season four?
SH: It’s different! Kev and Veronica have really grown. Because they are starting a family, your attitude changes when you are going to be a parent. You’re more about money and being able to provide. You see them grow up a bit. They’ll clash about certain things, and they’re preparing for parenthood.
OK!: What’s your favorite thing about playing this character?
SH: She doesn’t care. She says what she wants to say, and she keeps her boobs hanging out. [laughs] I love her, I love Veronica.
OK!: Now that it’s been a couple of years, do you feel like you’re watching all the kids grow up?
SH: Yeah! The audience will see it themselves. Watching kids go from the age of 9 and 10 to 13 is a big, huge jump. The way they speak, their looks, their attitudes, everything changes as you go from being a little kid to a teenager. It’s scary for me, because these kids are like my kids. I’m the mama bear on the show. I want to protect them from story lines that I know are coming, because they are growing up. Some of the things that are happening to Emma [Kenney] this season, I’d be at table reads like, No! Oh god! [Her character] Debbie has really grown up.
OK!: What other TV are you watching these days?
SH: Oh, I’m a TV addict. I’m obsessed with television. I watch about 40 hours a week or more, thanks to DVR. I don’t know what we did before we could fast forward through commercials. Scandal, Nashville, Modern Family, American Horror Story, Homeland. I was watching this new show on HBO, Getting On. Everything. Reality is also included in that category, I’m not an acting snob. I watch every Real Housewives franchise there is.
OK!: Which would you want to be on?
SH: Oooh. I think I’d want to be on Beverly Hills, because that would mean I’m really rich. [laughs] They are just luxurious. They’re the richest franchise, by far.
OK!: So you are expecting, and due in a couple of weeks! How are you feeling?
SH: I feel amazing. This has been the easiest pregnancy. I hate saying that, but it’s so true. I didn’t have to deal with morning sickness, I was able to work out the entire time. This kid is just—she’s been really cool. I’ve been very blessed. I waited a long time. I’ve been married for almost fourteen years. I got to enjoy life without a child, and this next chapter is beautiful.
OK!: Did you have a baby shower on set?
SH: Actually, yes! I don’t know if everyone knows this, but we go to Chicago every season and shoot all of our exterior shots. Joan Cusack actually lives in Chicago, so when it’s time for us to be a family, we go to Joan’s house, day or night. The whole crew, cast, we all go to Joan’s. So I thought we were going to a regular get-together at Joan’s house, and it turned out she was having a surprise baby shower for me! I was so surprised and excited. And the boys had to be there, too. There’s a pic of it on my Instagram, a high chair from the ’40s. It was decorated very eclectic, like Joan. It was very touching and very sweet and very full of love.
What do you think of Shanola’s character on Shameless? Are you excited about her new story line? Can you think of anything more fun than having Joan Cusack throw you a surprise party? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.