Chandler Massey officially finished with the role of Will Horton on NBC’s Days of Our Lives today (23 August).
The 22-year-old actor tells Gay Star News that NBC has agreed to let him out of his four-year contract more than three months early so he can focus on school and pursue some other acting opportunities.
The role of Will is going to be recast, Massey said.
He will continue to appear in episodes of the show through the end of December because it is filmed several months in advance.
‘I’m done. It’s bittersweet,’ said Massey who won his second Emmy for the role in June. ‘These four years have been so amazing I’ve built a family here. I’m so grateful to NBC and everyone for these amazing four years. It’s been my privilege and honor to work there.’
The actor added: ‘I’m appreciative for Days and NBC for letting me out of my contract early so I can go and pursue these opportunities that I have not been able to pursue before.’
It was after his second Emmy win that Massey first indicated that he would not be staying on the show beyond his current four-year contract which ended in December 2013.
Days of Our Lives producers had initially said the role would not be recast. But the coupling of Will Horton and Sonny Kirakis (Freddie Smith) has proven popular with fans and managed to avoid backlash from advertisers.
‘I think it’s a good move (to recast),’ Massey said. ‘I’m biased because I fell in love with Will and Sonny and I want Will and Sonny to be together.’
The show released a statement late Friday on Massey’s departure.
"While Days of Our Lives is disappointed to lose such a talent, the show understands and supports him in his future endeavors. Due to current storyline and the timely discovery of new talent that the show feels is the right recast for Will Horton, a mutual decision has been made for the changes to taken place immediately.’
They added: ‘Chandler will always be a part of the Days family and we wish him nothing but continued success.’
While Massey and the show’s producers indicate all is amicable, actor Charlie Sheen, who has the same publicist as Massey, went on a Twitter rant Friday evening blasting the show for ‘firing’ the actor.
The character of Will had a dramatic coming out story that saw him learn to accept himself then come out to his family and then to the entire small town of Salem where the show is set.
Will then fell in love with Sonny but early on, the couple had to weather the fact that Will’s ex-girlfriend, Gabi, had become pregnant with his child. In current episodes, Will, Sonny and Gabi are sharing an apartment and raising the child together.
Massey said he is thankful to the show’s fans for making Will and Sonny such a popular pair.
‘We would not have a show without them and it is their love and support that keeps us afloat,’ he said. ‘I feel incredibly blessed to have received that love.’