Brace yourself, Days of our Lives fans, because a huge change is coming, and it has nothing to do with yet another show facelift. Longtime star Arianne Zucker (Nicole Walker) will be leaving Salem when her contract expires in April.
"Two years ago, I was contemplating making the shift," the actress tells Soap Opera Digest. "I know there are a thousand girls who would take my job in a second, for me, it is my time to go."
Zucker originated the role of troublemaking Nicole in 1998 and played the flawed but loveable character until 2006. She returned to the show in 2008 and earned three Daytime Emmy Award nominations in that time (in 2010, 2013 and 2014).
Her exit news comes hot on the heels of the news that her recent on-screen lover, Vincent Irizarry (Deimos Kiriakis), has been written off the show. It is unclear at this time if one or both exits are related to former One Life to Live and General Hospital writer Ron Carlivati coming on board as DAYS' head writer.
UPDATE (March 6):
Zucker shared a very personal message with fans via her web site detailing her decision to leave DAYS.
"After 18 years of an incredible run as Nicole Walker on Days of Our Lives, I will not be returning this contract year," Zucker wrote. "I have had such beautiful support from all of you who have loved to hate Nicole and then love her again. Nicole has been through a life not fully rewarded by some of your standards, but I have also been able to connect with you on personal levels. Although nothing is ever permanent and I never like to say never, it is bye for now. I will see you all in other places as other characters and I am excited for my journey.
Zucker also quoted lyrics to "Dreams" by Van Halen, a song she said has always had a special significance for her.
What do you think about the news that Zucker has decided to exit DAYS? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.