Four years ago, Alfonso "first thought about leaving the show in 2016 for reasons I’d rather not specify," she said in the interview. "It was around the time I lost my dad. That’s the first time I really thought, 'You know what? It’s time for me to go.' "
After speaking with producer Ken Corday, she decided to stay on, promising him "in past meetings that I would never leave the show until the last episode was shot."
But recently having "time to really think and mull things," Alfonso said she's "been really enjoying my time home with my family and catching up with my friends. It just gave me time to really reflect."
She added of making the tough decision: "I felt a sense of relief. It’s been a roller coaster, for sure."
Alfonso confirmed she has already filmed what will now be her final episode. "Because this was only just decided, nothing was planned in terms of story. My last episode will air, as of right now, October 15," she said, adding that she "would have liked to have given the fans that have been so devoted to Days of Our Lives all of these years a final good-bye, and not, 'Oh, she’s out looking for someone,' or 'She’s upstairs cleaning her room,' or 'She’s taken a trip.' "
As for the possibility of a future return, the actress said that won't happen.
"No, I’m not coming back. I’ve had a great run and so many wonderful moments on the show and worked with so many wonderful people, met so many wonderful people," she told Soap Opera Digest. "It’s time for me to start a new chapter professionally. The time has come."
Alfonso became a household name for her role as Hope Williams Brady on the drama, first appearing in 1983. She and Peter Reckell, who played her on-camera husband Bo, received a special fan award at the 2002 Daytime Emmys for America's Favorite Couple.
In a statement posted to Instagram on July 6, Alfonso announced her departure from Days.
"Days of Our Lives has been a vital part of both my personal and professional journey," she began. "I am forever grateful to NBC and the late Betty Corday, who took a chance on me many years ago and changed my life. I have built some lifelong friendships with my extraordinarily talented castmates."
"Days has one of the hardest working crews in all of television, many of whom have become part of my extended family. I feel blessed and honored to have been invited into people's homes for over three decades. However, it is now time for me to write my next chapter. I will not be returning to Days when it resumes production in September. I've already filmed my last episode several months ago," her statement concluded.
In addition to Alfonso, actor Greg Vaughan has also left the show, and Victoria Konefal announced last week that she would not be returning as a full-time cast member.
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