The real reason you don't hear from these soap opera stars anymore

Soap operas, though sometimes trashed by critics, are often praised by fans and have been an American television staple since the premiere of These Are My Children in 1949. Shows like this one paved the way for decades of popular and long-standing daytime dramas, including One Life to Live, which was renewed for its 55th season in 2019!

Some of today's biggest showbiz stars can be traced back to the small screen where — you guessed it — they found their start on a soap opera. Popular talk show host Kelly Ripa made her acting debut as Hayley Vaughan on All My Children, heartthrob John Stamos' first major acting gig was on General Hospital, and Academy Award-winner Julianne Moore spent some time playing twins on As the World Turns in the 1980s!

However, not all daytime soap opera actors have found that same fate. Whether by scandal, misfortune, or personal choice, some of daytime's most recognizable names have disappeared from both the television screens and our minds. But why? What are the real reasons you don't hear from these soap opera stars anymore?

Brenda Dickson was fired and couldn't make a comeback

Die-hard soap opera fans remember that it was Brenda Dickson who originated the role of Jill Foster Abbott on The Young and the Restless – the show's longest-running character, who has since been played by six actresses at the time of this writing. After Dickson's firing by producer William Bell in the 1980s (to which he reportedly cited creative differences), she was largely quiet about the details surrounding her seemingly swift dismissal. 

In 2008, however, Dickson came out swinging in a lengthy blog post (via WeLoveSoaps.net), saying, in part, "Many of my fans have expressed the concern about William Bell firing me. The answer is, 'No, I'm not alright.”

She kept her promise to fans and published a tell-all book: My True Hidden Hollywood Story. In it, she refutes former co-stars' claims that she was fired for poor behavior on set. Instead, Dickson says she was having an affair with Bell and that their eventual bad blood led to her unfair firing. She writes, according to The TV Page, "As a result of speaking to William Bell, bad press, and rumors, no agent in Hollywood will represent me," adding, "My career is ruined." 

She blames her firing for becoming broke and allegedly blacklisted from Hollywood.

Erik von Detten became a family man

Erik von Detten might be fondly remembered by younger generations as a '90s heartthrob, but it was his earliest acting role on Days of Our Lives that made him a star. A child actor, von Detten played Nicholas Alamain, a character with several complicated storylines and a main role. He proved his stellar acting chops at a young age, and he went on to voice infamous kid-villain Sid in 1995's Toy Story — a historic box office smash

With good looks, charisma, and some impressive Disney acting credits behind him, it's surprising to some that von Detten has mostly avoided the spotlight in his later years. His most recent acting credit dates back to 2010, and, outside of accounts created by fans, he has no presence on social media. Or does he?

Angela von Detten, his wife, offered fans a big clue about his whereabouts in a May 2019 instagram post: "Welcome to earth sweetie. Giving birth was the most magical experience of my life so far. I love you more than life itself my baby Claire Bear. Daddy and I are so blessed you chose us."  

With a new baby in tow, von Detten is presumably enjoying his greatest role yet as a father.

Misconduct allegations caused Michael Muhney to get canned

The news of Michael Muhney's firing came as abruptly to The Young and the Restless viewers as it did to the actor himself. A popular leading man on one of television's longest-running daytime dramas, Muhney tweeted the shocking news in a since-deleted post in December of 2013: "I'm so sorry. It breaks my heart to say this, but I was just let go from Y&R. My last day on set is this Thursday."

After his exit, he explained in an interview with HuffPost Canada that, while he was shocked, he believed his firing could have been due to his "outspoken" nature. He claimed that, while letting him go, producers indicated that his character (the adored Adam Newman) needed three to six months away from the show — and that he would be recast by a new actor.

There was another side of this tale being told by TMZ. The celebrity gossip site cited sources who claimed sexual misconduct allegations had been made against Muhney on set by his co-star Hunter King. The allegations were reportedly serious and included bullying, harassing, and groping. 

Though Muhney's firing was blasted by viewers, the actor's fate was sealed. He never returned to that soap opera — or any other one.

A cancer diagnosis has Ricky Paull Goldin focused on family

Ricky Paull Goldin could once have been considered a daytime drama king. He starred in five successful soap operas between 1991 and 2013. Best known for his portrayal of Jack Martin on ABC's legacy show All My Children, he saw the role through to the its series finale in 2011. Where has he been since?

After his final episode, Goldin announced in an interview with On-Air, On-Soaps (via SoapOperaNetwork.com) that he was retiring from daytime television. He told interviewer Michael Fairman, "Having had a great reign in daytime ... and kind of doing it my way, I think I did everything I wanted to do." 

In actuality, Goldin seemed to largely drift from television altogether. Living a quiet life in Massachusetts with his partner — style and fashion entrepreneur Gretta Monahan — he now has two children and seems faithfully focused on family. In May of 2019, Goldin revealed the devastating news that his beloved partner had been diagnosed with breast cancer. He wrote a loving Instagram tribute, "I will be by your side for every step of this journey. YOUR diagnosis will be OUR diagnosis."

Jessica Collins felt it was the right time to leave

The fictionalized Genoa City seemed complete once Jessica Collins came to town. Collins' portrayal of high-powered attorney Avery on The Young and the Restless was praised by fans and critics alike. Twice she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series — and she won in 2016 for her unrivaled performance the previous year.

It was that same year that she chose to leave the show. When interviewed by Soap Opera Digest, Collins revealed that she was satisfied with neither the story arc of her character nor her salary negotiations. "I've been disappointed with the story and the direction and integrity of my character for quite some time," she told the magazine in 2015.

Just because she's not making top headlines any longer doesn't mean she's not trailblazing. Married with one daughter, she currently runs and writes her own lifestyle blog, where she offers recipes and personal anecdotes. 

Matthew Borlenghi is a dad with a regular day job

An All My Children alum, Matthew Borlenghi played the determined love interest of Kelly Ripa's Hayley Vaughan in the early 1990s. His character, Brian Bodine, was played by another actor for a brief period until Borlenghi returned once more in 1996 to please fans by reprising the role. Success didn't stop there for the actor, as he steadily landed roles on various shows and made a name for himself in Hollywood.

After another successful soap opera stint on The Bold and the Beautiful in 2002, Borlenghi seemed to fall off the acting map. When interviewed by Soap Opera News in 2018, he chalked his quieter life up to family and work, saying, "I have [three] young kids and a regular day job as well, in the home improvement field, and I also head the Atlanta chapter of Gray Studios acting school, which is the most prolific school in Los Angeles." According to his LinkedIn profile, Borlenghi is an acting coach, the founder of an app, and, of course, an "almost-famous actor." His words.

Nicollette Sheridan dabbled in drama off screen

Before she became a household name (and began dominating ratings as a Desperate Housewife), Nicollette Sheridan played sultry Paige Matheson on the CBS soap opera Knot's Landing. The job landed her two Soap Opera Digest Awards. In 2004, she scored a dream role on creator Marc Cherry's hit primetime drama on ABC and skyrocketed to fame.

The Hollywood fairytale didn't last long for the actress, whose character was suddenly killed off the show in 2009. She later claimed that she was wrongfully terminated after Cherry allegedly struck her on the head while working on set and she spoke out against it (via Entertainment Weekly). Sheridan sued Cherry and ABC and hoped she'd come out on top. She didn't. The case spent five years in court, culminating in a hung jury in 2012 and a dismissal in 2017. 

Her personal life seemed to mirror her professional one. Twice married and divorced, she also intermittently dated famous singer Michael Bolton — once suspiciously on the heels of her divorce from actor Harry Hamlin in 1992. The divorce drama was resurrected in 2019 during a short twitter feud involving Hamlin, Sheridan, and Hamlin's wife Lisa Rinna. Sheridan dismissed Rinna's claims that she'd cheated on Hamlin with Bolton as "FAKE NEWS." Hamlin, however, asked, "What's it called when your wife of one year goes to bed with a pop singer?" Yikes.

Eileen Fulton is ready for more

For many, Eileen Fulton invented and epitomized the soap opera star. In 1960, she introduced villainous Lisa Grimaldi to As the World Turns. Hiring Fulton seemed risky initially, as she recalled to TV Guide in 2010, "Procter & Gamble was getting ready to fire me." She noted that Proctor & Gamble told her six months into the gig, "I want to tell you what a wonderful job you are doing, because when you first came on the show we thought, 'We can't keep her. She's not very good.'"

The joke was on them. She proved herself and her staying power — remaining with the show until its cancelation in 2010. Years later, Fulton may not be making headlines but she's enjoying the fruits of a job well-done and hard-fought.

Retired? Not exactly. When asked by The New York Times to outline what's next for Fulton in her 80s, she quipped, "Just show me the script. I'll travel." She added, "I want to do movies too. I've got all kinds of wigs."

Doug Savant left soaps to be a spokesperson

Doug Savant dug the drama. From daytime to nighttime, from noble social worker to doting husband, the characters he played were both fun to watch and easy to love. Savant seemed to be adored off-screen, too. In fact, soap opera Melrose Place asked him to return and reprise the role of Matt Fielding in 2010, but he gracefully declined, telling E! News, "The wonderful people at Melrose inquired about if I might come over and do something for the show, but I'm gratefully, gainfully employed."

Since the series finale of Desperate Housewives in 2012, Savant's acting has taken a backseat to other fulfilling ventures. Outside of the sporadic guest-starring appearance, he spends his time working for Swell Investing — a portfolio investment platform — as he is the company's spokesman. A family man on and off the screen, he has been married to actress Laura Leighton, whom he'd met on Melrose Place!

Victoria Principal is a passionate philanthropist

After nearly a decade of portraying the unrefined yet innately lovable Pamela Barnes Ewing on the iconic 1980s drama Dallas, Victoria Principal turned down an offer that would have reportedly made her the highest-paid actress on television at the time. 

Seven years into her Dallas role, Principal informed executives that she'd be leaving at the end of her contract. They ignored her, figuring they could convince her to stay. CBS offered her a colossal pay increase, but the actress refused. "What they didn't understand was how committed I was to leaving," she told Entertainment Weekly in 2018. She noted, "There are moments in life when you discover your true character. That night I slept like a baby, because I wasn't for sale."

That good character remains today. After leaving behind a 28-year career selling skincare products in 2019, Principal announced to Entertainment Tonight that she'd be concentrating on issues closest to her heart. "I am stepping down to devote myself full time to my philanthropic work through The Victoria Principal Foundation for Thoughtful Existence and my rescue work with animals," she shared. 

Principal's foundation also substantially supports research and aid for environmental causes and natural disaster victims.

Andrew Shue became a media mogul

Andrew Shue stumbled into acting following the footsteps of older sister, Academy Award-nominated actress Elisabeth, and played professional soccer before landing his big break. Shue had gravitas and talent — which didn't go unnoticed by Aaron Spelling who eventually cast him in the hit series Melrose Place, as noted by Celebrity Net Worth.

After six years on the show, Shue made an unlikely but profitable pivot: He co-founded a website for moms. CafeMom was a one-stop shop for all things motherhood, including advice, conversation, and information. By 2007, CafeMom was the most-visited website by women on the Internet. Now running an umbrella company, CafeMedia, Shue continues to grow his outreach each year through continuous development and funding. 

Shue makes lots of money, and he gives much of it back. He is the chairman and co-founder of the national non-profit youth leadership organization Do Something, which encourages young people to take action in their communities. 

While Shue is no longer acting, his wife, Amy Robach, is successfully holding down the TV fort as an anchor for ABC.

Jensen Buchanan was charged with a DUI

Jensen Buchanan was once somewhat of a soap opera maven, having starred in five daytime shows between 1987 and 2015. The TV star was nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards for her famous portrayal of twins on NBC's Another World in 1996 and 1997.

Shortly after her return to daytime in 2015, The Young and the Restless actress took a literal turn for the worse. While driving her Mercedes on a California highway, as People reported, she crossed the double yellow lines and crashed into another driver head-on. According to a police report, Buchanan's blood alcohol level was above 0.15 percent, and the victim of her recklessness reportedly suffered severe injuries.

Buchanan pled guilty during the trial, after which she was sentenced to one year in county jail followed by five years of probation. She was remorseful during the ordeal, saying (via Noozhawk), "I'm the drunk driver who caused tremendous emotional pain and suffering to your entire community and family. I made the tragic choice to drink and drive, changing the course of your life forever." She continued, "What I did is wrong."

Renee Jones left acting for a quiet life

Days of Our Lives might be the longest-running daytime drama on NBC, but Renée Jones has set some impressive records of her own. While playing Lexie Carver on the classic daytime drama, she reportedly broke the broadcasting record for the longest-running African-American female character on television! 

Still, Jones decided to leave the show after 20 years on camera, asking in an interview with TV Guide in 2012, "What really makes me happy? What really brings me joy in life?" She answered, "And it's not acting. I just don't want to do this anymore. I was raised on a farm in Georgia and I want to get back to that silence, that solitude."

And solitude she found. Since calling it quits on her acting career, Jones has not been credited in a single acting or media project, according to IMDb. One can assume she returned to the quiet life she came from, and did it with a proud career in her rearview. 

Julie Berman took a day job after leaving daytime

It's hard to imagine a three-time Emmy Award winner working at a restaurant between gigs. Alas, such was the case with talented General Hospital actress Julie Berman. Best known for her portrayal of the troubled Lulu Spencer, Berman decided to exit the role after nearly eight years in 2013. In an interview with ABC Soaps in Depth (via SoapOperaNetwork.com) Berman explained her reason for leaving: "I always have a desire to grow and challenge myself in other mediums. And there are enough reasons now that my gut is telling me this is the right time to finally let go of GH."

Berman humbly offered insight into the sometimes-struggling life of an actor when she tweeted in 2018, "Got a job as a hostess when I left General Hospital. Many didn't understand why I'd leave #GH without another acting gig waiting for me. (If only we could all be so lucky)." While not involved in the awards circuit after 2013, Berman has returned to TV in the years since. The soap opera star's had roles on dramas and sitcoms, including Chicago Med and Casual

And, in 2019, she announced the arrival of her baby boy.