Martha Madison at arrivals for Hollywood Walk of Fame Honors Event, Taglyan Complex, Los Angeles, CA October 25, 2016.
Credit: Priscilla Grant/Courtesy of Everett Collection.

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When Days of Our Lives writers decided to break up Belle Black and Shawn Brady (Brandon Beemer), Martha Madison knew there would be a major fan reaction. You might think she’d be resistant to the storyline idea, but the truth is she’s “very happy that they’re breaking up Shawn and Belle.” The daytime star remembered what a producer once told her: “The kiss of death in this business is being happy in a couple,” so she knows that the show can now “can tell these other stories” in the wake of their split.

Don’t misunderstand what Madison is trying to say, though. She loved Belle and Shawn (aka “Shelle”) together and adores working with Beemer, but “you have to be willing to try new things” on a show that’s been “on for decades.” She added, “I feel really lucky that they decided to do that with us because for a long time, I felt like they were thinking, ‘Well, we don’t want to mess with Shawn and Belle’, but then it really leaves nowhere for us to go as actors. So this has been really fun for all of us, we said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, mess them up. Let’s do it!'”

More: Martha Madison on her Belle debut anniversary 

DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Brandon Beemer, Martha Madison, (2007)

For those who love the Belle and Shawn dynamic, it’s tough when “this almost soap royalty couple” breaks up, especially as the “children of these two major super couples (Belle is John Black and Marlena Evans’ daughter and Shawn is the son of Bo Brady and Hope Williams).” Madison worries that “this faction of fans is going to really hate me, but I’m thinking, ‘Bring it on!'” Of course, there is the other side of the fanbase whom Madison thinks would “rather see Belle with someone else.” She mused, “I don’t know, maybe this isn’t the royal couple, I think that it’s been hard to get all of the fans in one basket, and so I think maybe they’re trying to explore different avenues now.”

More: How Madison prepared her co-star for angry fans

Of course, the fracture in this couple’s relationship has opened the door to all kinds of juicy possibilities. Teasing that “there’s always potential” for her character to get serious about EJ, Madison doesn’t exactly see them walk down the aisle anytime soon: “I can’t imagine a wedding with EJ and Belle at all, but if they did, Sami (Alison Sweeney) would definitely be there.” (We are here for that possible drama!) So Madison hopes the audience has fun with the adventures Belle has ahead. “If you’re having a passionate reaction, that’s what we want, whether it’s this or that, it doesn’t really matter,” she laughed. “The fact that you’re feeling something — that’s the point of daytime, right?”

For more of our chat with Madison — including memories of her first moment as Belle on Days of Our Lives — check out the entire interview above. Then visit our photo gallery below to relive Belle’s life, loves, and feuds with Jan!

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