Matthew Ashford, Days of our Lives
Back in December, Matthew Ashford departed from the Days of our Lives canvas when his suicidal character, Jack Devereaux, drove his car off an icy bridge. Despite this, the NBC sudser insists that Ashford — who has "died" and returned to Days before — is still under contract. Here, TVGuide.com gets answers from the fan-fave himself.

TVGuide.com: Days says you're still under contract. True?
Matthew Ashford:
Yes. I was back [on Jan. 26] shooting a scene where Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) finds a pair of Jack's cufflinks. It wasn't specified, but I think I'm not [there as] a ghost. I think I'm just a figment of Jen's imagination. I just say, "Jennifer, get on with it. If you want to give Frankie a kiss, go ahead, move on." It wasn't maudlin, it was very upbeat. [Editor's note: An NBC rep confirms that this scene will air Feb. 15.]

TVGuide.com: So you're presumed dead, but they'll bring you back alive like before?
Ashford:
I imagine that's it. Because I said, "If it's going to be a Ghost and Mrs. Muir story line, tell me! I can come back and haunt Jen ad infinitum." [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: Jack was already dying of an unspecified soap-opera illness when your car plunged into the river. That's like double death! What if Days decides to leave Jack in a watery grave?
Ashford:
I feel like I've done very good work and it hasn't ensured that I'd stay in the past. I've been on and off the show, and I cannot let that rule my life. So I'm going to continue to do the best work I can do and hope for the best. If it turned out that I was not going to be back, that would have been a sad farewell to the character, my cast mates and the audience. But I don't see that happening. I don't think that's the case.

TVGuide.com: Your name went missing from the show's credits in some recent episodes.
Ashford:
Oh, I see. I wasn't aware of that. It's a very funny television world we're living in right now, where these kind of things are going on. The show had eight or nine actors leave [during the serial-killer story] and then come back, and then said those actors were never really gone. They were gone. You kind of can't tell the audience the same thing twice.

TVGuide.com: What do you say to soap fans who are truly worried about you?
Ashford:
They always ask, "Are you dead? Are you off the show?" I say, "Well, not really." You're not seeing me on screen very much, so it's really hard to give the audience a clear answer. I just want to thank all the fans for their support. They have been incredible. I also want to ask them to hang on a bit longer and hope for a juicy story, because that's what I've been asked to do.

TVGuide.com: Maybe Days will get Jen cooking with Frankie, then have Jack return healthy and regret pushing them together so hard.
Ashford:
I check in with Missy Reeves and Billy Warlock (Frankie), and they're saying [their characters are] getting a chance to get a little closer. Billy's concern is that this couple is given a real shot at moving on with their lives. All I can say is stay tuned. Hopefully, we're going to have a really nice payoff at the end of this. My only hope is that the stakes are really high.

TVGuide.com: You deserve better than that depressing stuff you played toward the end. Was that hard?
Ashford:
It was. For months, I was playing one note: "I'm getting out of here. I'm dying." That was hard for me as an actor. But I applaud the Days writers and producers for the story line about Zack's death. Kristian [Alfonso, Hope] and Peter [Reckell, Bo] have been doing great work. That's got to get our show some attention next year, around Emmy time. I'm hoping [my costars and I] will also have something like that.

Keep reading to learn what Ashford's working on while he awaits his Days comeback! And don't miss his very special photo in today's Caught in the Act.