Jen Lilley, who has played bad girl Theresa Donovan on the venerable NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives since 2013, is leaving show. Rumors of her exit had been circulating since last month, and the actress confirmed and explained the reasons on social media, saying, “Given the demanding production schedule a soap requires, that just wasn’t possible with the other commitments and opportunities I wanted to pursue.” (See her Instagram post below.)
Lilley’s character is the daughter of Shane Donovan and Kimberly Brady (Charles Shaughnessy and Patsy Pease). The Theresa character has been part of the show off-and-on since 1990, played by various actresses, but got her first major storyline since Lilley took over. The actress broke into daytime drama as Maxie Jones on ABC’s General Hospital in 2011, appearing in more than 100 episodes.
Her other credits include MTV’s Disaster Date and guest spots on Castle, Two and a Half Men, Rules of Engagement, Criminal Minds, iCarly and Hannah Montana. She next appears in the features Where Are You, Bobby Browning? and Crossing Streets.
Here is Lilly’s Instagram post about leaving Days of Our Lives:
View this post on Instagram
It is with bittersweet sentiment that I find myself making this statement 6 months too soon. First, I would like to say your comments, support, and well wishes regarding my recent departure from the iconic daytime drama, Days of Our Lives, have melted my heart. Second, I have never enjoyed playing a character so much. I absolutely love Theresa, and the idea of not playing her pains me. I once found a quote that perfectly describes her, “She’s a mess of gorgeous chaos, you can see it in her eyes.” Exploring Theresa, from her insecurities to her strengths, from her tendency to deflect emotional anguish with comedy to her firecracker spirit has been pure joy. I hate to dissatisfy our love for black and white explanations, but there’s no one to point your finger at here. Days of Our Lives and I are parting company on the best of terms. It came down to time and the sacrifices required to keep Theresa on the front burner. Given the demanding production schedule a soap requires, that just wasn’t possible with the other commitments and opportunities I wanted to pursue. As we all know in the world of soaps, good bye for now isn’t always good bye forever, who knows what the future has in store for Theresa. I am taking time right now to be with my family, advance the charitable causes I believe in, and pursue additional career opportunities. While I've missed so many moments in my family's lives back east, I have built a west coast family at Days of Our Lives, and they haven't seen the last of me! I'll be stopping by the set from time to time with baked goods and bear hugs. Lastly, cheer up! There are 6 more wonderful months of Theresa to enjoy. And I can honestly say that each month, the storyline gets better! My exit will have you on the edge of your seat, laughing, crying, cheering, screaming, clapping, and bewildered. And to the Theresa’s out there: I love you, I love you, I love you. You are not alone. You are beautiful and worthy of love and happiness and joy and success! May my storyline over the next six months inspire you.