After more than two decades playing troublemaker Samantha "Sami" Brady on "Days of Our Lives," actress Alison Sweeney is officially saying goodbye to her daytime TV roots.

The 37-year-old actress announced her decision to leave the venerable NBC soap opera on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Tuesday while guest-starring as a D.J. "I've been on 'Days of Our Lives' for 21 years," said Sweeney. "I'm celebrating my 21st year this year and I decided that it's going to be my last year with the show."

Sweeney, who has also hosted the hit reality series "The Biggest Loser" for several years, said she is ready for a change from the soap opera she joined at age 16. "I have never had more than a two-week vacation in that whole time," said Sweeney. But she added, "I love Sami, I love Salem, I love my job, I love daytime, I love the fans, I love everything about it." 

So why is Sweeney leaving "Days of Our Lives?" According to the actress, her husband, David Sanov, and her two children, Benjamin, 9, and Megan, 5, are the driving force. "I just have worked so much. … I just want to be with them," said Sweeney, who said she will also use the free time to write and possibly direct.  "I don't even know what happens next. I'm really just excited to be with my kids and be with my husband and have fun."  

Despite announcing her departure from "Days," Sweeney said she will remain on the program until the end of this calendar year. As for the fate of her vindictive character, that's up to the show's writers.  "My Sami deserves some sort of twisted, 'Breaking Bad' ending… She's caused a lot of people a lot of problems," she said.

Following her announcement, fans of the character have taken to social media to express their sadness over her departure. "Gonna miss Sami sooooo much watched Alison play Sami since her first day and DOOL since 1968 Salem will never be the same [sic]," posted Twitter user @TymothyC Tuesday. "Alison Sweeney just announced that she is quitting Days of our Lives after this year. I was in tears," said Twitter user @samantha_pai9ge.