Hollywood's busiest woman -- soap opera actress, The Biggest Loser hostess, published author and then some –- celebrates a milestone next month: her 20th year anniversary on Days of Our Lives. Yes, it was way back on January 22, 1993 that a 16-year-old Sweeney made her daytime television debut as scheming bad girl, Sami Brady. In honor of the momentous occasion, Sweeney reminisces about her wild and wonderful ride as Sami. Plus, she reveals why she juggles so many gigs and discusses her precious family: husband, Dave Sanov, and their children, Ben and Megan.
Do you think that Sami's the same person today that she was when you first started on the show?
You must read my tweets or my Twitter followers. It's funny, because half of the fans feel like she's not at all like the Sami that started, and the other half moan and groan that she hasn’t changed a bit. So I don't know...
Well, certainly she's matured some. Hasn't she?
I think there has been tons of change in her. Obviously, when she first started, there were a lot of childhood pranks and antics... She did some horrible schemes! Then, you see her today and in some ways I think there is a nice through line. She does have sort of a questionable moral compass and this attitude of sort of whatever it takes to get the results that [she's] looking for. That's sort of acceptable to her. But at the same time she's really wised up a lot. Her goals have changed in terms of, she's not willing to do some crazy scheme to [make someone] fall in love with her anymore... So in some ways she has grown up. But still, for her, all bets are off... There's not a lot she won't do.
Let's talk about Sami's guys. Would you say her relationships with men have changed over the years?
It's funny, because Galen (Gering; Rafe) and James (Scott; EJ) have both come to the show in the last five years, and I think that would really be the beginning of a change in Sami's character. For the first 15 years, she did have men in her life, but she was the one who was always sort of chasing after them and pulling them away from someone else that they were interested in.
For me, that was a really different character; a really different story to play. When [Rafe and EJ] came on the scene, it sort of became about these men fighting over Sami, and [Galen and James] don't know any different. They're always like, “Sami's always got these men fighting over her.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? What do you mean always? That just happened. It just started. That's new for me.”
Do you have an all-time favorite Sami relationship?
The most obvious answer would be, over the course of 20 years, this thing she's had with Lucas (actor Bryan Dattilo) and all the different ways that their relationship has manifested itself. It has been a wonderful through line for me. But I still love the challenge of... I'm going to give you a totally PC answer... because otherwise Galen and James will kill me. I also love the challenge of EJ and how hard that dynamic is to balance with the horrible things they do to each other. [It's] so much fun to play the different sides of it. Then, there's the wonderful storybook romance [with Rafe] and the safe house; that fun first story where they kind of fell in love while he was protecting her. That just had a really different feel to anything else Sami had done. They're three very different stories, and it was really fun to have the opportunity to play all three.
You juggle a lot of gigs on a daily basis. Why do you like to stay so busy?
It's true. I do a lot of different stuff and certainly most recently I've started directing at Days... I love being busy and trying all these new things. It's just how it keeps me going creatively... There's something really fulfilling about always feeling like it's a new day and [there's] something new and challenging to keep me on my toes. And that, for me, is really fun and exciting.
One of your projects is The Biggest Loser. When you signed on as host, what were your expectations and how long did you think the show would last?
I was a fan of the show before they approached me to be a part of it. So I loved the idea of getting to host The Biggest Loser . I love what they do. I love the stand we are taking on obesity. I really thought that the show had legs right from the beginning, because it really touches your heart in a way just beyond even the issue of weight loss. It touches your heart in the belief that anything is possible, if you set your mind to it. And, that no matter what your adversity is -- no matter what the obstacle is in your life, if you really do the work it pays off. You can change. There's something so redeeming about that and inspiring about it. I just knew America would really continue to want to see those stories again and again.
When you're not working, you’re a devoted wife and mother. What’s a typical fun day with your family like?
I have two beautiful children and my husband. The perfect day for me is just to be with them and have fun. We like simple things. We barbeque outside. My husband grills. We play soccer in our backyard, swim in our pool... just be together and have fun.