News & Rumors

Jen Lilley Dishes DAYS Return and Shares Theresa Has Been Recast

Jen Lilley says hello — and goodbye — to Theresa Donovan on DAYS.

days of our lives jen lilley had a surprise during her recent return.Jen Lilley talks her return.

As previously reported, Jen Lilley is reprising her role as Theresa Donovan on Days of our Lives next week. The actress reached out to the Peacock serial because she wanted to pay respects to the late John Aniston, who played Victor, as the Kiriakis patriarch has died. Lilley has quite the tale to share about her return — and exit — from DAYS.

Jen Lilley Pays Tribute to John Aniston and Victor

In an interview with’s Kristyn Burtt, Lilley shared that her return to DAYS all started when she was doing an interview with Soap Hub last year in which she paid tribute to the late Aniston. She reached out to DAYS to see if there was interest in her reprising Theresa for a memorial for Victor. The show actually planned about 12 weeks of material for the character.

Originally, she didn’t think it was going to work out so she composed an email to her agent and asked them to forward it to the show’s casting director, Marnie Saitta, in which Lilley revealed how much being on DAYS has meant to her and how from top to bottom she enjoyed the DAYS team. Lilley says it was proposed to her that she’d come back for approximately three to four weeks and would tape three months of material in that time.

DAYS Plot Twist

Lilley returned to the Burbank Studios and set out to shoot her storyline, including Victor’s memorial, in a concentrated amount of time. As her Salem stay continued, Lilley noticed that she was not receiving as many scripts as she thought she might need to get to complete the story arc. “I’m getting nervous. This is so strange,” Lilley said as she wondered how months’ worth of material would fit in with the number of scripts she received.

Lilley realized her role had been recast, and nobody had told her. At least one cast member told the actress that couldn’t be the case. “Truthfully, [the show] did tell me they were going to [initially] recast me,” a thankful Lilley acknowledges. “I’m grateful that they gave me first right of refusal. I just don’t like how the situation was handled.”

Next, she went to the office of then-co-executive producer Albert Alarr to find out what was going on. She asked him if more scripts were coming or if the show had recast the part. That’s when she learned that Theresa’s story would continue with a new actress. The show had chosen another performer to continue Theresa’s tale.

Lilley didn’t reveal the name of the performer taking over her role (we hear she’s someone very familiar to DAYS fans), but she did share that the actress is brunette and that she’d known for a few weeks that she was becoming Theresa. Ironically, Lilley says that she had offered to dye and cut her hair back to the familiar shade and length she had when she played the part, but the show asked her to go blonde. (Lilley says that that brunette recast will wear a blonde wig to help with the visual transition).

Jen Lilley Clears the Air

Lilley says she sought out NuTheresa, gave her a hug (again, we hear she didn’t have to go far), and apologized for any awkwardness she may have been feeling over the recasting and how it was kept a secret from her. Having gone through scrutiny from viewers when she stepped in temporarily for Kirsten Storms as Maxie on General Hospital in 2011-2012, Lilley knows how blunt and vocal fans can be. She offered to sit down and do a joint interview with her successor to help facilitate a peaceful transfer.

“I don’t have any ill will,” maintains Lilley, who says the primary feeling she’s experiencing is confusion. “I’m so grateful for the two weeks and one day I had [this time around].” Is the DAYS door closed for good in light of this casting change? Maybe not. Lilley shared that the show told her that she’ll always be Theresa and that this other actress is going to finish up this current arc.

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