Kristen Alderson opts to exit General Hospital

Posted Saturday, January 11, 2015 8:29:34 PM
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Kristen Alderson has literally grown up on ABC -- but the next phase of her life apparently won't be broadcast by the network. The Emmy-winning actress has opted to leave General Hospital.

After a 17-year run on ABC, Kristen Alderson (Kiki Jerome) is leaving the network. The One Life to Live turned General Hospital star has opted to exit the show.

According to an insider, Alderson was asked to take a substantial pay cut, and the actress balked at the request. Subsequent to the initial posting of this article, Alderson called her decision "spur of the moment" and said the decision was "not because of the cast and crew."

A complete video statement from Alderson on her reasons for leaving GH can be viewed below.

Alderson began her daytime run as Starr Manning on One Life to Live in March 1998 when she was just six years old. In 2001, she was placed on contract and remained with the show through its network finale on ABC in 2012. Though One Life to Live continued in an Internet form in 2013, Alderson's alter ego had already been written into the storylines on General Hospital. That is one of the complaints in a lawsuit filed by Prospect Park against ABC. The litigation is ongoing.

As a result of the lawsuit, Alderson was given a new role to play: Lauren "Kiki" Jerome. Though the character was initially promised to be something different than Starr, the character never quite fit into the canvas and was often referred to by fans as a watered-down version of Starr.

In 2013, Alderson received her very first Daytime Emmy nomination -- and win -- in the Outstanding Younger Actress category.

Alderson will be taping scenes for about another week, which means she will likely make her final on-screen appearance during February Sweeps. There was talk of recasting Kiki, but an upcoming storyline twist may change those plans.

Alderson has not commented on her exit, but her real-life boyfriend confirmed that the exit "was her decision" in response to a Twitter post by Soap Opera Digest.

On Tuesday, January 13, Alderson posted a video to fans explaining why she opted out of General Hospital.

"It's not because of the cast and crew, I can tell you that right now," she begins in the video. "Everyone has been so lovely to me. I've had the best time over the past three years. And this decision is purely spur of the moment, kind of an epiphany that I had that I have been in this amazing little soap bubble since I was six years old, and now I'm 23, and I have never done anything else, I've never pushed myself, I never challenged myself to do other things -- and not necessarily in the industry, but just things in life like taking a class here or there for something other than acting, and getting back into singing, which you guys know I love to do, so that would be really exciting."

Alderson continues, "Who knows where this road is going to take me. But this has all happened very quickly, but I am prepared for the worst, and I am prepared for any failures. I am prepared for all the excitement that it will bring. And it's just a new chapter in my life, and I couldn't be more grateful for the support you guys have given me, for all of the love. I love you guys so much. I've always cared about you. I've grown up with you, you've grown up with me, and I am always going to be a part of your life. I will be tweeting and Instragramming my little heart out to make sure that we are still [connected] -- and you know I will! So thank you again. Thank you to [head writer] Ron Carlivati and [executive producer] Frank Valentini and everyone at ABC for all of your support. And thank you to the fans. You are the best in the world. Soap fans are family, and you always will be."

What are your thoughts on Alderson leaving GH? Do you think that Kiki could have found a place in story -- or would it have been better if she'd remained Starr? Share your thoughts in our Comments section below, on our message boards, or by submitting Feedback.

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