Arianne Zucker’s days on Days of Our Lives are numbered. The actress is leaving the NBC soap opera when her contract ends in late April, Entertainment Weekly has confirmed.
“Two years ago, I was contemplating making the shift,” Zucker, 42, told Soap Opera Digest, which broke the news. “I know there are a thousand girls who would take my job in a second, for me, it is my time to go.”
Zucker, who first started playing Nicole on the series in 1998, found herself in the middle of a political firestorm last fall when graphic remarks Donald Trump made about her while on the studio lot for a cameo in 2005 went viral during the 2016 presidential election. The infamous leaked tape features audio of the future president talking to former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about Zucker’s legs and noting that he wanted to “use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her.” Trump added: “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
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Zucker later addressed the controversy on social media, tweeting out a link to a note on the tape. “In understanding the magnitude of this situation,” she wrote in part, “I choose to stand tall with self respect and use my voice to enrich, inspire and elevate the best of who we are as people.”
“They are offensive comments for women, period,” Zucker said of the tape in a Today show interview in October.
Ultimately, Zucker wanted to use the scandal to teach her daughter to “hold her head high” in challenging circumstances and as a learning lesson for men. “I’m ready to use it in a proper way. I’m ready to use it for positivity,” she explained on TODAY. “I’m ready to use it for women to step forward and do good things in my life and for other people.”