Days Of Our Lives Star Jones To Retire

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April 2, 2012 | 5:56pm EST

Renee Jones, who has portrayed TV’s longest-running African-American character, has quit the daytime soap she has been a star of for over two decades.
Jones has announced she’s walking away from her Lexie Carver role on Days of Our Lives.

She tells TV Guide magazine, “I am so excited about this decision. It’s been on my mind for over a year. I am so grateful to Days for 20 years of steady employment… but I finally had to stop and ask myself, ‘What really makes me happy? What really brings me joy in life?’ 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. I want to spend all day enjoying nature, experiencing God. Every so often production at Days will go dark for a couple of weeks and I feel relieved. I feel free. I’m like, ‘Wow, there’s a whole other world out there!’ Acting now feels like a chore and I need a break.

“I want to hike, read books, take yoga classes. And then I’ll think about what I want to do with my life. I would love to do charity work, especially something where I’m working with sick babies, holding them, just giving them love, helping them heal. That would be a dream. If something really, really great comes along acting-wise, maybe I would consider it. But I don’t think so.”