Kristian Alfonso hope days gallery jp

Image: John Paschal/JPI

The actress didn’t regret her decision to leave. But that doesn’t mean that leaving was easy.

Being resolved to do something and actually doing it, anyone could tell you, are two very different things. So although this summer, when Kristian Alfonso packed up her Days of Our Lives dressing room and left the studio for the last time, she was at peace her with decision to quit, the moment was still… well, let’s call it what it was: hard.

In a new interview with Glamour, the actress, who’d played Hope Williams Brady on and off since 1983, recalled being told that the powers that be wanted to take her off the canvas for several months in order to set up a new storyline. “Did my heart sink? Yes,” she confessed. “I was not expecting that. But was I relieved? Yes, absolutely. After I hung up, I took a deep breath and thought, ‘OK, I don’t have to learn that next script.’ It was a big feeling.

“But in the end… [the turn of events was] a great gift,” she added. “I have no hard feelings.”

Nonetheless, walking away from the NBC soap, her home away from home for a good chunk of her life, wasn’t easy. She described setting off for the final time with a dressing room’s worth of her belongings as “eerie.” Her husband of 19 years — Danny Daggenhurst, or as she calls him “my rock” — had gone with her. “When we got into the car, our eyes met,” she remembered, “and I looked at him and said, ‘Don’t ask me any questions.’”

If he had, Alfonso might have let loose the tears that were laying in wait just behind her eyes. “My emotions were right there at the surface,” she admitted. “I just wanted to take care of what I needed to do. There were so many incredible life moments that took place and happened while I was a part of the Days of Our Lives and NBC family.”

But, as regular readers of Soaps.com know, though one door has closed for Alfonso, many others have opened. She’ll no longer play Hope, but she has every intention of continuing to act. (You’ll recall that, during a break from the show years ago, she starred on Falcon Crest and raised hell on Melrose Place. And we have a few ideas about the ideal next role for her, too.)

While you’re here, counting down to the fan favorite’s final episode, why not cheer yourself up by perusing the below photo gallery, which includes eye-popping images of some of daytime’s most beautiful leading ladies of all time. We don’t need to tell you that Alfonso is among them, do we? Didn’t think so.