Days of our Lives' Suzanne Rogers has spent the past several decades playing one of the warmest, most caring, and most empathetic characters in daytime, so she was understandably apprehensive when the powers that be at the NBC soap opera told her that they were going to reexplore a very dark 1970s storyline in which her character, Maggie Horton, struggled with alcoholism. Though such a story has the capacity to help viewers, Rogers says she was extremely reluctant to go back to the dark side.
"I wasn't thrilled when I was told they were going to bring the alcohol storyline back. I didn't want to do it," the actress tells Soap Opera Digest, adding that her feelings weren't based on reluctance to forsake her post as a Salem do-gooder but more about the emotional toll of the storyline. "It's hard to play something that is not in your realm, that you don't know a hell of a lot about. I mean, before, I went to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and I sat there and I listened. It was hard. It's squeamish. You have such empathy for the people who are alcoholics, and so you want to do them justice. But you know it's going to take a toll on you, and that's basically what it did. I couldn't let it drop."
Unfortunately, the stress of beginning to play the gut-wrenching storyline in 2019 coincided with some personal family issues: after 23 years of taking care of her mother, who has dementia, Rogers had to put her in a board and health facility -- which broke the actress' heart.
"For months, I was just a basket case," she reveals. "Between that and the storyline that I was doing I was a mess... I lost a lot of weight. And then I found out that I have diverticulitis, which is another thing that comes from stress. It kind of all took its toll on me, and it all happened in the same year."
Rogers has since accepted the fact that she did what was best for her mother, sharing, "I've calmed down into a place where I don't take what's happened to my mom and what I had to do so personally, because I was thinking I was such a terrible daughter for doing what I had to do."
As for Maggie's story, the actress hopes that the audience has been able to gain something from watching such a paragon of virtue fall into such a horrendous downward spiral.
"I just want them to be moved by it and maybe to learn something," she says. "I don't want it to be so gut-wrenching that they turn away, but I want them to really open their eyes and go, 'Wow. It could happen to anybody.'"
For Rogers' full interview, visit Soap Opera Digest.
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