When it was announced that Will and Sonny were coming back for BEYOND SALEM, fans were saddened to learn that one-half of the popular supercouple was being recast. But in a recent episode of The Freddie and Alyssa Show, Freddie Smith revealed why he was not returning to DAYS OF OUR LIVES to play Sonny Kiriakis again.
Sitting alongside wife Alyssa Tabit, the actor used their YouTube show to explain to fans the reason behind his decision to put Salem in his past. After joining the cast of DAYS in 2011, Smith spent nine years on the NBC sudser, earning a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 2013 and taking home the Outstanding Younger Actor trophy in 2015. He admitted that when news broke that he and co-star Chandler Massey (Will) were being written off of the soap in February 2020, he fully expected to be asked back again at some point in the future but shortly thereafter, the pandemic hit, and everything was thrown into question. But Smith also revealed that he had already been thinking about calling it quits anyway.
“If there was no pandemic and they offered me a contract in February 2020, I would have said yes for one more year,” he confided. “The reason I would have done just one more year is Alyssa and I wanted to get married, we are thinking about starting our family, and we wanted to be closer to our family. We had that discussion for many years. We were just trying to find the perfect time to leave and go to Florida. That was always the plan.”
However, even living in Florida, there was always the possibility of reprising the role of Sonny for brief stints if DAYS did come calling. And for a while, Smith admitted he would tell anyone that asked if he would return that the door would always be open. “I had not fully checked out to the idea of going back if asked. But around this past spring, I really started to have to make decisions of really letting that go in order to fully focus on moving forward in my life. So I made that decision.”
But he explained that having one foot in the past and another in the future left him unable to commit fully to either direction and his wife interjected to explain that they had attempted to live in both Los Angeles and Florida but it became too much to maintain so they had to choose one or the other. “A couple of months ago, I did make the decision if DAYS did call, I would not go back,” he finally declared. “That decision didn’t come lightly. And it didn’t come overnight. I really put a lot of thought into it.”
As THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS alum Zach Tinker (ex-Fen) steps into Sonny’s shoes for Peacock’s upcoming DAYS spinoff, BEYOND SALEM, Smith himself has essentially stepped away from acting, at least in the Hollywood sense. “The idea of ever putting auditions on tape or living in L.A. again, that is done,” he said. “I feel like I went there. I had 500 auditions, I got that experience. I’ve played many different characters. And I got to grow with this character, Sonny, for nine years. I accomplished something that I am so proud of.
“I feel that now that I’m in Florida,” Smith concluded, “this is a completely fresh new start for me.”
Please join us in wishing him all the best in the next stage of his life and career!