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Competing at a horse show in Scottsdale. Courtesy of Alison Sweeney

Featured Article

Alison Sweeney

The Actress Talks About Her Career, Move to Scottsdale, and One Thing You'd be Surprised to Know About Her

Alison Sweeney has had a busy life. The award-winning actress, reality show host, director, and author (she’s written four books!) has played the character of Sami Brady on Days of Our Lives from 1993-2015, and then on-and-off ever since. In 2007, she also took over as host of The Biggest Loser, which she continued with until 2015. She also began working with the Hallmark channel in 2013, starring in such film series as Murder She Baked and Chronicle Mysteries for them. Her latest Hallmark movie debuts this month.

We caught up with the actress, who recently moved to Scottsdale, to chat about her career, her new movie, and what she loves about living here.

You’ve been acting and on television since you were very young. Since that first appearance at age 5, did you always have the drive to do this long-term?

Yes, 100%. I've always loved acting and thankfully had parents who were not pushing me to do it but supported my passion for it.

You have a new movie coming out this month. Can you tell us about it?

I'm really excited for fans of Hannah Swenson to see the next installment. It was so fun to shoot again with Barbara (Nivens), Cameron (Mathison), and Gabe (Hogan). We always have the best time when we're together, and this is a really fun story that celebrates what fans love about Hannah and all her mischief. Plus, we make sure there's plenty of romance!

You’ve done a number of Hallmark movies now … do you see yourself making more of these movies?

Absolutely! I love finding great content from books or original ideas and adapting them for television. We have a few projects in development that hopefully will be announced soon.

You’ve also played Sami Brady on Days of Our Lives since 1993 (both full-time and sporadically). What is it like to play the same character for so long?

It's really fun when I step back into Sami’s shoes and to laugh about her latest scheming. She’s been such an outrageous, exciting, and complicated character to play over the years. It’s always a new challenge for me as an actor. 

In what ways are you most similar—or dissimilar!—to Sami?

I would like to think I have Sami’s thoughts, but I know better than to act on them. Her heart is always (usually) in the right place … she just might not go about dealing with it in the right way.

Any favorite on-set memories?

There are way too many! One time I had a crazy story where Sami gets into a physical struggle with another character, and they end up in a river. They actually brought in a water tank and built a “river” set for us to film with underwater cameras and everything. It was a pretty cool day of filming. But of course, the many memories with Francis Reid, John Aniston, and so many daytime legends; the fun times in the makeup room with Deidre, Kristian, Lauren and so many other leading ladies; the decades of fun with Bryan; and so many great friendships with past and present co-stars that continue beyond Salem.

In 2007—while also still on Days of Our Lives!— you took over hosting The Biggest Loser. How did you get involved with the show?

Because I was part of the NBC family, and after I was so competitive that I was willing to eat worms on Fear Factor, I think I got the attention of network executives and producers. Plus, I’d hosted the MDA Telethon, so I had some experience, and I was public about my journey to better health and wellness growing up in the entertainment industry. It was such a tentpole for the network and I was honored they entrusted me with hosting, having never previously hosted a reality show.

Was it difficult to juggle both shows?

At the time, it seemed perfectly normal to do both, but looking back, especially going straight to the hospital to deliver my daughter after being on set, I realize what an ambitious schedule it was. I don't know how I did it but I'm glad I'm not trying to keep it up today.

What did you enjoy most about being part of this show?

I loved meeting the incredible contestants and learning about their journeys, as well as celebrating their milestone achievements while on campus and once they went home. They inspired me, as well as the millions who watch them on TV.

You recently moved to Scottsdale. What prompted the move?

My husband recently retired from the California Highway Patrol, and we wanted to take the opportunity to live somewhere else. Because most of my movies are filmed outside of California, it was the perfect opportunity to move.

How are you liking it here?

We love it, and so do our kids! We have found great new friends and are loving the adventure of living in a new state for the first time in any of our lives. So many great hikes for me to try—Dave and Ben are into mountain biking and dune buggies. There are so many restaurants and they’re all incredible. My son is in high school and driving so it’s fun for him to explore with his girlfriend, and he’s playing tennis and has a great part-time job. My daughter rides horses and loves her new barn, as well as her school and friends. 

Any favorite spots around town yet?

I love all the hiking we have found with incredible sunset views, and we definitely have our favorite restaurants for nights out. I find myself at AJs almost every day. Plus, it’s so fun and easy to go to a sports event or concert in Phoenix!

I’ve heard you love horses! Do you ride a lot?

Yes, I try to ride almost every day when I'm home. My mom was an incredible rider and competed in horse shows for many, many years, I love riding and showing horses, and my daughter definitely has the bug too as a third-generation rider. 

When you aren’t acting or riding horses, we’d find you …

Trying a new recipe in my kitchen, working in my garden, riding my Peloton, or curling up with a great book.

Ok, last question—what is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I love watching classic movies, especially those from the ’80s and the ’90s. There are only a few iconic films that I can't quote from.


  • Courtesy of Hallmark
  • With her husband, trying a new restaurant. Courtesy of Alison Sweeney
  • Courtesy of Hallmark
  • Enjoying a sunset and hike in Scottsdale. Courtesy of Alison Sweeney
  • Competing at a horse show in Scottsdale. Courtesy of Alison Sweeney
  • Courtesy of Alison Sweeney
  • On set. Courtesy of Alison Sweeney
  • Courtesy of Alison Sweeney
  • Courtesy of Alison Sweeney
  • Hiking with her son. Courtesy of Alison Sweeney