“Days of our Lives” fans have been clamoring for Freddie Smith (ex-Sonny Kiriakis) to return to Salem ever since it was revealed in early 2020 that he and former co-star Chandler Massey (ex-Will Horton) had been let go shortly after filming resumed following the show’s 56th season renewal announcement. Even though he has since made one additional on-air appearance via Zoom last Christmas, Smith reveals in a new podcast that he had always planned to leave the soap, albeit his plans included staying an additional year beyond the time he was given by the show.
While explaining that the decision to let him go had initially come out of left field, Smith acknowledges that he had already started the process of deciding to leave “DAYS” in order to relocate with now wife, Alyssa Tabit Smith, to Florida where they currently reside near their closest family and friends. “In my mind, I had always thought that there’d be a conversation [by show producers] of like, ‘Hey, do you want to sign for another year? And this is probably going to be your last year, or we’re going to rest your character,’ or that I would say it,” Smith tells his wife during the July 21 episode of “The Freddie & Alyssa Show.”
If he had been given the opportunity to start the conversation over his exit himself, Smith says it would have gone something like this: “I would say, ‘Look, I want to let you know out of respect I’m going to do one last year so if there’s any storyline or anything, I just want to give you a heads up in advance rather than wait until four weeks before the contract and then say nevermind.”
With things not going in that direction, Smith had to start rationalizing. At first, he believed the show’s decision was a temporary one. It wasn’t until three to four weeks later where things became clearer to him. “I was just kind of getting my bearings and we were kind of deciding, ‘Well, what now?’ cause I’m pretty sure they’re going to call back the characters at some point… call me back at some point, but waiting around is not healthy,” Smith noted. “Then three weeks later the pandemic happened, so I was only really off of the show for three to four, maybe five weeks, I don’t remember the timeline exactly, but then the whole world shut down. And then the question became, ‘Well, when is the industry coming back?’ let alone if and when the characters come back.
“But then for whatever reason, it happened so quickly. “It was kind of like, oh, I kinda landed in the sense of like, ‘Well what am I going to do here cause this is probably temporary,” Smith says, referring to soap operas resting characters and then eventually bringing them back later on. “Every character, even if the character dies, comes back at some point.”
If things went differently, wherein he hadn’t been let go from the show, Smith says he would have signed a new contract but only for one more year. “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,’” Smith relays.
Explaining why he would have stayed for just one year, the actor notes that he and Alyssa had plans to get married and start a family of their own and that they would have liked to raise that family closer to their loved ones. “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,” he says. “That was always the plan. It just so happened to be cut a little short in the sense that I wasn’t given that extra year and then the pandemic happened.”
Now that it’s been more than a year since leaving the Burbank Studios where the soap is filmed, Smith continues receiving the question from fans and this edition of “The Freddie & Alyssa Show” was his way of finally answering the question with a definitive answer. “I had not fully checked out to the idea of going back if asked. But I would say 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,” he says, referring to the possibility of reprising the role. “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.”
For more from Smith and what he has to say about his “DAYS” exit, the decision to not return if asked and what he’s been up to since moving to Florida, watch the full episode of “The Freddie & Alyssa Show” here.