Days of our Lives fan favorite Martha Madison has left the role of Belle Black Brady.
The actress was a recast, taking over for Charity Rahmer, who was briefly in the role after Kirsten Storms exited the show in 2004.
Now almost 20 years later, Martha has confirmed that she has opted to leave the hit Peacock soap opera.
Martha filmed her final day on the show in April, but since Days films so far in advance, Belle won’t exit until the fall.
There’s no word yet on if Shawn (Brandon Beemer) will leave Salem with Belle. Brandon has not indicated he will exit Days of our Lives too.
In a recent interview, Martha opened up about her decision to leave, which has everything to do with how Belle has been portrayed.
Days of our Lives star Martha Madison is ready ‘for more’
Speaking with TV Insider, Martha got candid about her decision to leave the hit daytime drama. Martha revealed that months ago, she was informed by then-co-executive producer Albert Alarr that Belle was being written out due to budget cuts.
However, when her last day of filming arrived, Martha received another script and soon realized something had changed. It turns out the show decided not to have Belle leave but rather keep Martha recurring so Belle could be on hand to deal with any legal drama.
That was when Martha made her decision to leave. Belle is the daughter of John (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena (Deidre Hall). Martha felt the character should be involved in major storylines, not sitting on the sidelines.
“In my opinion, Belle was never meant to be a peripheral character. She is the only child of Marlena and John, and, after 19 years of coming and going from the show, it just finally clicked for me that they were never going to showcase the character the way I felt she should be,” she shared with the outlet.
Martha went on to express her gratitude and desire to have more.
“So, I declined the opportunity to recur and shot that last episode in April. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful to have played Belle for two decades, but I’m ready for more. It was just time to leave,” the actress stated.
Martha Madison celebrates 19 years on Days of our Lives
On August 10, Martha celebrated her anniversary of playing Belle. One tweet acknowledged the day with several pictures of Martha from her debut in the role.
Martha alluded to her exit in a retweet of that tweet, reflecting on her time in Salem. She thanked fans for going along on this journey with her, ending her tweet with, “It was a wild ride.”
The final line has the rumor mill buzzing that Martha Madison had exited Days of our Lives, and it turns out that’s true.
There’s also speculation that Arianne Zucker is leaving as Nicole Walker, and of course, Camila Banus has already revealed she left the role of Gabi Hernandez.
Salem’s losing some of its pivotal leading ladies, that’s for sure.
Days of our Lives airs weekdays on Peacock.