updated 01/21/2014 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/21/2014 AT 9:40 AM ET
The days of her life suddenly became years. And after spending 21 of them as Sami Brady on the soap opera that made her famous, Alison Sweeney is getting ready to say goodbye.
Sweeney, 37, is leaving Days of Our Lives at the end of this season, she reveals in an interview airing Tuesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show – quite a milestone for an actress who was just 16 when she made her debut on the NBC program.
“I’m celebrating my 21st year and I decided that it’s going to be my last year with the show,” she says. “I have worked so much, and my daughter just turned 5 and my son is 9, and I just want to be with them,” she adds.
There’s no specific timetable for Sami’s sendoff, nor does Sweeney know what will happen to her character.
“It would be awesome to have some kind of happy ending,” she says. “But then, I also think Sami probably deserves some sort of very twisted, like Breaking Bad ending.”
Sweeney says she’s never had more than a two-week vacation since joining Days in January 1993. And of course, things have gotten even more hectic since she became the host of The Biggest Loser in 2007.
“For seven years I’ve done both shows,” she says. “I’m really just excited to be with my kids and be with my husband and, I don’t know, have fun. And I write. My second book’s coming out. I love directing and just, you know, finding things to do.”