Days of our Lives fans were absolutely crushed when the NBC soap opera unexpectedly decided to cut ties with Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith in February of 2020, bringing the actors' time as beloved Salem couple Sonny and Will (a.k.a. Wilson) to an end. The writers ushered the pair off the canvas by having them move to Arizona, and while Will made a surprise visit to Salem for the holidays, Sonny stayed behind and hasn't been seen on the soap (outside of a New Year's Eve video call) since the autumn of 2020. But will that change?
Actor Freddie Smith decided to answer that very question in a recent episode of his podcast, The Freddie and Alyssa Show, which he co-hosts with his wife, Alyssa Tabit. The Florida native shares that DAYS fans constantly ask him when -- or if -- he'll be back in Salem, and he has a definitive answer. Unfortunately, it isn't an encouraging one.
Although he has always said that the door remains open for a return to Salem, he has since changed his mind and says that, in order for him to fully move on with his life, he will not return to the NBC soap opera.
"A couple of months ago, I did make the decision for ourselves, our futures, that if DAYS were ever to call -- I know this is going to be disappointing to so many of you -- I would not go back," Smith declares.
Although it's sad news for fans, the actor stresses that he did not make the decision lightly, and he "genuinely thought about" it for quite some time. He also shares that he and his wife had actually already been pondering his exit from DAYS before the soap opera ended his contract.
"If they would have offered me a contract, and there was no pandemic, and they offered me a contract in February of 2020, I would have said yes for one more year, and I would have let them know, 'Hey, I'm going to do one more year, but this is going to be it for me,'" he shares. "The reason I would have done just one more year was Alyssa and I wanted to get married, we are thinking about starting our family, and we wanted to be closer to our family [in Florida]."
He continues, "Being in Los Angeles and trying to be an actor forever, and being away from the family while raising a kid, we had that discussion for many years where we were just trying to find a way to [decide] when was the perfect time to leave and to go to Florida. So, that was always the plan."
And follow that plan they did! Smith and Tabit tied the knot on New Year's Eve of 2020, which allowed them to start fresh as newlyweds in 2021, and they have started their next chapter in Florida. As for whether or not Smith sees himself acting again, he says he does -- but not in the traditional sense.
"The idea of ever putting auditions on tape, living in L.A. again, to me, that is done," he declares. "Will we write and sell a film or act in short films or do something in TV, whether its shorts or reality or [growing] the social media channel into something where we can do big budget things on social, whether its acting or hosting or something like that, I see that. But for me to get an audition, get into character, and do that traditional thing, I just deep down personally -- which is even hard to say out loud -- I've just lost interest in acting."
Smith shares that it's difficult for him to make this declaration, especially because he knows that it is very disappointing news for his fans and Sonny fans to digest.
"To stand up there and have this conversation actually isn't that easy because I'm empathetic to how people feel," he shares. "But at the same time, I have to rip the Band-Aid off eventually because I need to allow that to happen for people to accept that -- and/or not to! But it's just very difficult, telling all my friends, telling all my family, like, truly making that decision.... Because the job is looked at as unique or cool or different, you almost feel a little guilty or bad saying that you no longer want to pursue that."
In the end, though, Smith feels good about his decision to permanently leave Los Angeles and Days of our Lives behind.
"I went to L.A., I accomplished something I'm so proud of that is extremely difficult to do -- I don't take it for granted, especially now that I'm older," he says. "I met great people in Hollywood. I met my wife, I grew up as a person, I became so much more knowledgeable and wise, I went through trials and tribulations, through challenges, I had so many successes, so many failures, so many victories, and overall a ton of learning experiences. And I feel that now that I'm in Florida, this is a complete fresh new start for me, in my career, in life, in geography... and I'm really enjoying exploring the world and exploring a place where the heartbeat of the city is not acting, music, etc. It's a different vibe, and I'm just excited to be in this pulse and just see a different way of life that doesn't revolve around Hollywood."
Check out Smith's full podcast episode below and let us know what you think about his decision to never return to DAYS in the Comments section at the end of the article.
UPDATE (August 2, 2021): Sonny and Will will make an appearance in the spinoff series, Beyond Salem -- but it will be without Freddie Smith. Days of our Lives has made the decision to recast the role of Sonny Kiriakis. The Young and the Restless' Zach Tinker will take on the role of Sonny and Emmy winner Chandler Massey will reprise the role of Will. For more on Beyond Salem, continue reading here.
How do you feel about Freddie Smith choosing to permanently say goodbye to Days of our Lives and the character of Sonny Kiriakis? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.