Actress Alison Sweeney knew it was time to quit her longtime role on U.S. soap opera Days Of Our Lives after her young son started waking up before 6am just to see his mum before she disappeared for work.

The 37 year old announced in January (14) that she was bowing out as Samantha 'Sami' Brady, a character she had portrayed onscreen for the past 21 years, and she filmed her final scenes in May (14).

Sweeney, who also serves as host of U.S. reality show The Biggest Loser, has since revealed the guilt she felt over leaving her kids Ben, nine, and Megan, five, with her husband Dave for the whole day ate away at her - so she made the choice to take a step back from her career and focus on her children.

She tells People magazine, "Ben would wake up really early just so he could have breakfast with me before I went to work, and that sat with me.

"I'd like to be there for them and not feel like I have nine other things going on in my head. Committing to two full-time jobs and being a wife and mum has been challenging and exhausting. It's been weighing on me for a long time."

Her husband adds, "I was thrilled (when she first told him the news), actually ecstatic. (The kids) were jumping up and down. They don't watch Days, but knowing the character of 'Mum' will actually be taking them to school in the mornings is super cool."