Stunning Soap Opera Character Exits Of 2021Published on December 9, 2021.
If there’s one downside to the familiarity of daytime drama, it’s stomaching the news that a beloved character (maybe a personal favorite) has suddenly left the show. Some of 2021’s exits were speculated on for months in advance, while others were only confirmed after the character’s final scene. Covering Days of Our Lives (DOOL), General Hospital (GH), The Bold and the Beautiful (B&B) and The Young and the Restless (Y&R), these are the soap opera character exits that stunned viewers in 2021!
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12. GH’s Jordan Ashford (Briana Nicole Henry)
When Jordan Ashford was sent to Albany, New York, to receive medical treatment after inhaling a dangerous amount of carbon monoxide, fans didn’t know whether they’d ever see the police commissioner in action again. While Ashford may recover from her injuries and return to Port Charles at some point in the future, viewers won’t see Briana Nicole Henry in the role. Without elaborating on the reason for her departure, Henry thanked GH for “holding space for me to grow”.
11. DOOL’s Claire Brady (Isabel Durant)
When the news broke that Claire Brady was leaving Salem for a music opportunity in South Africa, many DOOL fans weren’t surprised. Although Claire had gotten her life together after a few years of turmoil (back when Olivia Rose Keegan played the role), her screen-time diminished significantly during Durant’s tenure. As the popularity of super couple Ciara and Ben (played by Victoria Konefal and Robert Scott Wilson) grew, Claire became a supporting character who lacked a story of her own.
10. Y&R’s Faith Newman (Alyvia Alyn Lind)
Faith Newman didn’t exit Genoa City storylines in 2021; rather, the role was recast. Still, the departure of actress Alyvia Alyn Lind deserves a mention here. Lind had been nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards during her ten years in the role, and many viewers couldn’t imagine anyone else portraying the troubled, young Newman. Luckily, recast Reylynn Caster has done a great job of filling Faith’s shoes, but Lind was a major loss for Y&R.
9. GH’s Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober)
While GH viewers still get a glimpse, here and there, of Cyrus Renault making collect calls from prison, viewers were surprised when actor Jeff Kober exited the role in June. Many felt that the extent of Renault’s criminal reach hadn’t been explored in enough detail, and surely, Kober’s nomination that very month for a Daytime Emmy Award reinforced the impact he made on the canvas. Thankfully, GH fans might get more of Cyrus in 2022!
8. DOOL‘s Sarah Horton (Linsey Godfrey)
The beloved pairing of Sarah Horton and Xander Kiriakis (Paul Telfer) was ripped apart — and on the eve of their wedding, no less — when Kristen DiMera (Stacy Haiduk) abducted Sarah and stole her identity. The whereabouts of Sarah (and portrayer Linsey Godfrey) have been a major sticking point for DOOL viewers since March, with some jumping to the conclusion that Godfrey left for mental health reasons (a notion Godfrey swiftly rejected). The good news is, Xander is finally about to learn what really happened to his true love. So, will Godfrey return to Salem for good, or only for a short stint?
7. Y&R’s Philip “Chance” Chancellor IV (Donny Boaz)
While Chance has just returned to the land of the living this past month, many fans are still mourning Donny Boaz’s exit in February. Boaz described his departure with remorse, stating that he hadn’t had a chance to fulfill his promise to co-star Melissa Ordway (who plays Abby) that they would attain super couple status. He also shared that Y&R had no plans to replace Chance. While recast Conner Floyd is just getting acquainted with the soap, it might take a while before audiences stop comparing him to Boaz.
6. B&B’s Zoe Buckingham (Kiara Barnes)
When prime time came calling for actress Kiara Barnes, B&B chose not to recast her character, Zoe Buckingham. So the impetuous model, whose obsessive streak had many viewers thinking she might snap upon learning that her fiancé and friend had an affair, instead… left town. The anticlimactic exit closed the chapter for Kiara Barnes, but Zoe is too mischievous of a character to stay off-screen forever… right?!
5. DOOL‘s Eric Brady (Greg Vaughan)
How many fans of Nicole and Eric (Arianne Zucker and Greg Vaughan) were crushed when their fairy tale romance went into a sudden spiral this summer? After living on different continents due to his missionary work in the Congo, Eric came home to Salem only to find out that Nicole had cheated on him. Their subsequent separation cheated fans out of seeing this promising super couple come to fruition. Also, fan-favorite Greg Vaughan (who appears on this list for the second straight year) was out after just a few days on the canvas.
4. Y&R’s Kyle Abbott (Michael Mealor)
Kyle Abbott’s departure from Genoa City was not part of some Y&R master-plan; rather, it was a casualty of the contract negotiation breakdown between actor Michael Mealor and the CBS soap. While Abbott and Summer Newman (Hunter King) are enjoying their new life in Milan, Kyle’s absence has left a noticeable crater in Jabot Cosmetics and the Abbott ranks. Still, if we’re looking for a feel-good angle on this exit, it’s pretty amazing that he and rival Ashland Locke (Richard Burgi) are not only on friendly terms, but technically family now!
3. GH’s Jasper “Jax” Jacks (Ingo Rademacher)
By the time Ingo Rademacher bid farewell to GH, fans had been expecting his resignation for months. If it wasn’t his stance against ABC’s health mandate, it would’ve likely been his sharing of a transphobic meme. Yet at the beginning of 2021, who would’ve guessed that Jasper “Jax” Jacks would leave the canvas after more than 25 years on the show? “I’m on the outs with everyone in Port Charles right now,” Jax told his ex-wife Carly (Laura Wright) during his final appearance last month. Many viewers would call that the understatement of the year!
2. Y&R’s Summer Newman (Hunter King)
While it’s tempting to pair Summer’s exit alongside Kyle’s, since Hunter King and Michael Mealor were equally responsible for their super couple chemistry, Summer had extra personality and presence on-screen. Even after a co-star broke the news that Mealor would be leaving the show, viewers held out hope that Y&R would compensate for that loss by keeping King. Alas, her eventual admission that contract talks fell into a stalemate stunned “Skyle” fans.
1. GH’s Jason Morgan (Steve Burton)
The most stunning character exit of 2021 has to be GH’s Jason Morgan, in no small part due to the publicity that followed actor Steve Burton’s choice to decline ABC’s health mandate. While his departure was far more graceful than a certain co-star’s, Burton’s firing placed Jason Morgan’s fate in a precarious limbo — the character’s demise has been confirmed in Port Charles, yet his body was never found. Will Steve Burton get his wish and return to GH someday?