Days of Our Lives’ Freddie Smith Reveals His Future as Sonny: ‘I Know This Is Going to Be Disappointing… ‘
“Every character, even if if the character dies, comes back at some point.”
When Days of Our Lives’ Will and Sonny left Salem to start new lives in Arizona, fans assumed that sooner or later, the popular pair would return. This wasn’t, after all, the first time that they’d been shuffled off the canvas. But Freddie Smith revealed this week that should Sonny come back — with or without Will — he won’t be playing the part.
This wasn’t a decision made lightly or in haste he explained during an episode of the YouTube podcast he hosts with wife Alyssa Tabit (which can be viewed in full below). In fact, he says that had Days come to him before the pandemic shut everything down in February of 2020, “I would have said yes for one more year,” giving the show time to tell any stories they felt necessary.
But after getting married and relocating to Florida, Smith made the difficult decision “that if Days were ever to call, I know this is going to be disappointing to so many of you, but I would not go back.”
To be clear, it was a call he was fairly certain would come eventually. “Every character, even if that character dies, comes back at some point,” he laughed. But in order to move forward, he had to first sever his ties to Salem.
“I think the problem that I was having,” he shared, “was that having one foot in the future and one foot in the past wasn’t allowing me to give 100 percent to my future.”
As to why he felt the need to address the situation directly and publicly, the actor admitted, “It’s hard to dodge that question all the time.” He added that “because the job is looked at as unique or cool or different, you almost feel a little guilt or bad saying you no longer want to pursue it.”
Ultimately, Smith said he will “look back at Days as a wonderful, wonderful experience in my life” and forever be grateful to the soap’s fans. And while he’s not turning his back on acting, he suspects future endeavors in that area will take a non-traditional form. In the meantime, he’s considering several options, including pursuing his real estate license.
One thing is certain: The goal-oriented Smith will eagerly pursue whatever challenges lie ahead. “I love starting at the beginning, being underestimated and then working [your way] to the top,” he declared.
So are you disappointed to hear that Smith has taken the possibility of a return to Days off the table? Would you like to see Will return on his own, perhaps looking for a new love, or should the soap recast? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, then check out this gallery of all the actors who, like Smith, have checked out of Salem in recent months.
<p>If only it had just been a slap. As Sami left Salem once more after learning — on her and Lucas’ wedding day, no less! — that she’d been kidnapped by her fiancé, she seemed to indicate that hell would freeze over before she returned. Her portrayer, of course, was more open to the idea of a short-term comeback.</p>
<p>The doctor is out. Recurring as the DiMeras’ go-to mad scientist Rolf since 1997, the veteran actor was replaced in the summer of 2022 by Richard Wharton.</p>
<p>Ciara later! <em>Days of Our Lives</em> <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/comings-and-goings/623232/days-of-our-lives-victoria-konefal-exits-ciara-sails-montreal-ben/" target="_blank">wanted to sign the fan favorite</a> to a contract; she wanted to spread her wings. So at least for a while, she’ll be MIA from Salem’s lot.</p>
<p>Though the leading man passed through <em>Days of Our Lives</em>’ revolving door as Ben in the summer of 2022, headwriter Ron Carlivati teased that we <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/comings-and-goings/623234/days-of-our-lives-robert-scott-wilson-exits-ben-ciara-boat-trip/" target="_blank">hadn’t seen the last of the actor</a> in Salem.</p>
<p>After six years as Lani, the actress took her leave of Salem in the summer of 2022. And making her exit an even <em>bigger</em> blow to fans was the fact that just as she was exiting, so was…</p>
<p>With the July departure of the <em>Young & Restless</em> vet, <em>Days of Our Lives</em> viewers didn’t just lose Eli and Lani, they also lost — sniffle — “Elani.”</p>
<p>In June, the love story of Abigail and Chad was put to bed, so to speak, when her portrayer’s unavailability made her the unfortunate star of a murder mystery. (Here’s <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/comings-and-goings/633687/days-of-our-lives-marci-miller-leaving-abigail-murdered/" target="_blank">why the show didn’t bring back Kate Mansi</a>.)</p>
<p>Color us… perplexed. <em>Days of Our Lives</em> let Tripp cheat death, only to reveal a few weeks later that it was shipping him out of Salem. (<a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/comings-and-goings/633685/days-of-our-lives-lucas-adams-exits-tripp-leaves-salem-moves-seattle/" target="_blank">Get all the deets here.</a>)</p>
<p>Ushered into Salem via a dead-end street, the <em>All My Children</em> vet was shown the way out as Lani’s biodad TR… well, pretty much the <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/comings-and-goings/630630/days-of-our-lives-william-christian-exits-lani-kills-tr/" target="_blank">only way the villainous character could have been</a>.</p>
<p>The doctor is out. After Craig’s eyes were pried open about conniving fiancé Leo, Nancy’s heartbroken ex made tracks out of Salem, <em>Soap Opera Digest</em> reported in April 2022.</p>
<p>Although Sami’s kidnapping in August 2021 marked the end of the <em>Days of Our Lives</em> vet’s latest return engagement, her next one was already beginning. As she told<em> Soap Opera Digest</em> at the time, “I have other scenes that I’m doing right now” — our favorite way of turning “goodbye” into “See ya soon!”</p>
<p>Fans were excited to learn that Nicole’s husband would be coming home for their anniversary. Unfortunately, even as Greg Vaughan and his handsome alter ego appeared on screen in mid-July of 2021 came news that Eric was only in town long enough for <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/comings-and-goings/604550/days-of-our-lives-greg-vaughan-exit-eric-leaves-nicole-again/" target="_blank">his marriage to be blown out of the water</a>. </p>
<p>Just when we were getting used to the daytime newbie, <em>Days of Our Lives</em> went and, so to speak, <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/comings-and-goings/601904/days-of-our-lives-chanel-recast-raven-bowens-replaces-precious-way/" target="_blank">changed the Chanel</a>. In June of 2021, it was revealed that Raven Bowens would be assuming the role of Paulina Price’s daughter from the up-and-comer who’d been cast in MC Lyte’s new sitcom.</p>
<p>So much for a happy ending for “Xarah.” On March 16, Sarah Horton’s portrayer confirmed via Twitter that she was leaving behind her character — “and all 86 of her hairstyles.” Glad we saved the receipt on that toaster we’d gotten the couple.</p>
<p>Hey, at least maybe we’ll get flashbacks for a few weeks until we find out whodunit. But for all practical purposes, Charlie Dale’s shooting on February 25 brought to an end his well-received portrayer’s run in the role of Ava’s son (bad) and Allie’s rapist (so… much… worse).</p>
<p>Mirror, mirror, in her hand, sorry, we don’t understand… But in February of 2021, the news broke that the Daytime Emmy-winning soap-hopper had reached the end of her stint as Jennifer Horton. Maybe she’ll find her way back to a former <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/soaps/news/587060/all-my-children-primetime-series-pine-valley-in-development-abc/" target="_blank">show of hers that’s being rebooted</a>…</p>
<p>What a way to go. No sooner had Laura Horton returned to Salem in February 2021 with a suitcase full of revelations to unpack than she was sent on a one-way trip to the hereafter. Ah well, we’ll always have The Meadows.</p>
<p>If all good things must come to an end, we suppose so must all bat-guano-crazy bad ones. In November 2020, <em>Soap Opera Digest</em> reported that Heather Lindell had wrapped her return engagement as off-kilter Jan Spears.</p>
<p>Jaws dropped in mid-September when <em>Soap Opera Digest</em> reported that the veteran cast member was <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/news/578184/days-of-our-lives-melissa-reeves-leaving-recast-jennifer-horton/" target="_blank">leaving her long-running role</a> of Jennifer Horton — temporarily, it’s said — and being replaced by daytime MVP Cady McClain (most recently Kelly on <em>The Young and the Restless</em>).</p>
<p>Few things say “Yeah, I won’t be around for all that long” like a character going so far around the bend that she kidnaps a beloved former serial killer and tries to mess with his mind to the point that he’d even <em>consider</em> making himself a widower. Better luck next time, Eve Donovan?</p>
<p>“Oh!” we exclaimed upon hearing that the iconic <em>Santa Barbara</em> alum would be reprising his role of Eduardo Hernandez on <em>Days of Our Lives</em>. But that enthusiastic “Oh!” quickly got downgraded to a bummed-out “Oh” when we realized that the character was only being brought on for long enough to usher off the canvas his children.</p>
<p>In late July, <em>Days of our Lives</em> fans were dealt yet another blow when it came out that Gabi’s portrayer was exiting stage right after a decade of pot-stirring. Thankfully, it was announced before she’d even left that she would be returning so fast, we’d hardly know she’d been gone.</p>
<p>Seemingly seconds after Konefal confirmed her exit, this Emmy winner admitted that he, too, was done at <em>Days of our Lives</em>. “It’s with <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/news/573258/days-of-our-lives-greg-vaughan-goodbye-message-to-fans/" target="_blank">love, laughter and tears of joy</a> I leave you,” wrote the actor, who’d played Eric Brady since 2012.</p>
<p>In late July, Ciara Brady’s portrayer revealed that, although “I would love the opportunity to continue working with my castmates in the future… <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/comings-and-goings/571461/days-of-our-lives-victoria-konefal-exit-ciara-brady/" target="_blank">I will not be returning</a> as a full-time cast member.” Insert shocked gasps here.</p>
<p>In July, after confirming that her 37th year as Hope Williams Brady would be her last, the <em>Days of our Lives</em> legend explained that a request to take four or five months off prompted her to walk. “It was,” she told <em>Entertainment Tonight</em>, “<a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/news/572296/days-of-our-lives-kristian-alfonso-explains-exit/" target="_blank">the perfect moment</a> to make that decision.”</p>
<p>Yeah, that was pretty much the same expression we wore when we learned this summer just how brief the fan favorites’ returns as Ivan Marais and his madam, Vivian Alamain, were going to be. At least the villainess’ death was as legit as every other one on <em>Days of Our Lives </em>— in other words, not at all — so we can anticipate a comeback at some point.</p>
<p>It wasn’t just actors’ heads that were rolling; execs’ were being cut off, too. Just before Independence Day, we heard that Meng — a part of the Corday Productions family since 1989! — <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/news/570681/days-of-our-lives-greg-meng-fired/" target="_blank">had been canned</a>. Was it his refusal to use <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/news/570587/days-of-our-lives-return-production/" target="_blank">blowup dolls</a>?</p>
<p>In June, just weeks before she became a Daytime Emmy winner, Keegan told <a href="https://www.soapoperadigest.com/content/icymi-olivia-rose-keegan-on-days-comeback1/" target="_blank"><em>Soap Opera Digest</em></a> that her return as Claire Brady comprised “about two and a half months of shows.” She had a good time — “It was a blast” — but that good time wasn’t meant to last.</p>
<p>After replacing her replacement, Marci Miller, as Abigail DiMera, Mansi left the show again in May. And if <em>that</em> didn’t make you dizzy in and of itself, get <em>this</em>: The show then tapped Miller to step back in as Abigail. No wonder the character has multiple personalities!</p>
<p><em>Days of our Lives</em>’ Rafe Hernandez since 2008, Gering taped his last episode in February. Only it didn’t turn out to be his last episode at all; he quickly reached a new agreement with the show and went right back to work.</p>
<p>In another <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/news/572974/days-of-our-lives-freddie-smith-interview-wilson-exit-exclusive/" target="_blank">exclusive interview</a> with Soaps.com, Massey’s leading man said that he didn’t like to think that he couldn’t come back someday as Sonny Kiriakis with Will in tow. Rather, “I like to look at it as they’re resting our characters.”</p>
<p>After we found out that the Daytime Emmy winner — who’d previously been recast and “killed off” — had been axed as Will Horton, he told Soaps.com in an <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/days-of-our-lives/news/567246/days-of-our-lives-chandler-massey-interview/" target="_blank">exclusive interview</a> that he was entertaining the idea of going back to school.</p>
<p>Following a seven-year run as JJ Deveraux, the son of supercouple Jack and Jennifer, Moss called it a days — er, <em>day</em> — and left right after leading lady Megia. But at least he got a lovely parting gift: his real-life romance with castmate True O’Brien (ex-Paige).</p>
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