Soap Opera Digest is reporting that Jay Kenneth Johnson (Philip) and Shelley Hennig (Stephanie) have both made the decision to leave the show. This shocking news comes just a week after the announcement that Mark Hapka (Nathan) was let go. Hennig tells Digest "It just feels right. I have been preparing for this for awhile, so I have said my mental good-byes. I will miss the faces I see here every day, but everybody has been really encouraging and has embraced my decision." Her last tape date is Wednesday, February 2, which means her last airdate will be sometime in April.
As DAYS fans recall, Jay Kenneth Johnson joined the cast back in 1999 as the fourth actor to play Philip Kiriakis, Victor and Kate's son. He left in December 2002, and for the next three years Philip was played by Kyle Brandt. Many fans were delighted when Johnson reprised the role in January 2007, and in a bizarre twist, the character of Philip had a face transplant. No word yet as to how Philip will exit the show or when Johnson's final airdate will be.
Shelley Hennig joined the cast of DAYS as Stephanie Johnson, Steve and Kayla's daughter, in April 2007. She took over the role from Shayna Rose, who portrayed Stephanie from July 2006 until she was let go in January 2007. Last year, Hennig garnered a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series.
Good luck to the very talented Jay Kenneth Johnson and Shelley Hennig in their future endeavors. Their decision to leave DAYS is disappointing to many fans, but hopefully we will see them turn up in another series or even on the big screen.
Pictured: Jay Kenneth Johnson and Shelley Hennig (Philip and Stephanie)
Mitchell Haaseth / 2009 NBC Universal