Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn, one of the most popular supercouples of all time, are departing Days of Our Lives.
Hall has portrayed the iconic Marlena Evans Black from 1976 until 1987 when she left the show to appear in the hit Our House. She returned to Days of Our Lives in 1991 and has been on screen ever since. Hogestyn plays the very popular John Black. Hogestyn arrived in Salem in 1986 and has played the role of John Black until late of 2007 when he was let go. Hogestyn returned in January 2008 with much fan fare and his true heritage was finally revealed.
Hall and Hogestyn’s characters have enjoyed a long and rich relationship on the show. John Black was first believed to be Marlena’s then back from the dead husband Roman Brady (played by Wayne Northrup). When Roman Brady returned, Marlena and John drifted apart but eventually they fell in love and had a child together, Belle. Marlena and John have suffered through many of Stefano DiMera’s (Joseph Mascolo) plots, Marlena’s possession by the devil and exorcism, Samantha Brady’s (Alison Sweeney) machinations to split the two apart and Kristen Blake’s (Eileen Davidson) obsession with John. Marlena and John have such a strong bond that no matter what, their love will survive anything. It’s this kind of relationship that most soap opera fans wish for their favorite characters.
While budget cuts and cast cuts are expected across the board at Days of Our Lives, the news that Hall and Hogestyn have been fired is leaving many stunned. However, Executive Producer Ken Corday told Soap Opera Digest “The couple will be happily reunited after a long period of angst and separation and will be off-screen after January for an unknown period of time. It was a very tough decision to make.” Whether this means that the two will be brought back at a later date is unknown.
We can also report that Jay Kenneth Johnson (Phillip Kiriakis) has left the show. Contract negotiations broke down between the two with money allegedly being the issue. The actor reportedly cleaned out his dressing room. Johnson first joined Days in 1999 and left in 2002. The role was recast with Real World alum Kyle Brandt but Johnson returned in January 2007.
The role will be recast however no word yet on if Brandt has been contacted to reprise the role of Phillip.