Alison Sweeney Leaving 'Days of Our Lives' After 21 Years to Focus on Family

Alison Sweeney, star of NBC's "Days of Our Lives" and host of "The Biggest Loser" has announced that she will be leaving the soap opera world after 21 years of playing Sami Brady. The news came as a shock to fans who have watched the actress grow up on-screen.

"I decided that it's going to be my last year with the show," Sweeney told Ellen DeGeneres during a taping of her show that will air today. "I've been on 'Days of Our Lives' since I was 16 years old and I have never had more than a two-week vacation in that whole time. I mean, it's so awesome. I love Sami, I love Salem, I love my job, I love daytime, I love the fans, I love everything about it."

So why the sudden change and planned departure at the end of the year? For Sweeney, the answer was simple: family.

"I've worked so much and my daughter just turned five and my son is nine and I just want to be with them and enjoy my last year," the actress explained.

Sweeney's character has been through a lot on the small screen: rape, battling bulimia, witnessing her mother's affair, kidnapping her own baby sister and trying to sell her, being paralyzed, being a teen mom, losing a child she thought was hers, having her daughter kidnapped, and now trying to cover up a murder so that her granddaughter's mother will not go to jail. Asked if she had any idea as to how Sami Brady might leave the town of Salem, Sweeney revealed she knew nothing.

"It would be awesome to have some kind of happy ending. She probably deserves some sort of very twisted, like 'Breaking Bad' ending," Sweeney joked. "I'm going to be on 'Days' all this year. We don't have a specific time yet, but I'm going to be on all this year and we'll see what happens."

Sweeney made her "Days" debut on January 6, 1993 and has won four Soap Opera Digest Awards and a fan-voted Daytime Emmy Award for her performance.

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