Actress Alison Sweeney and husband David Sanov arrive at the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 26, 2015 in Burbank, California.
Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Inside Hallmark Star Alison Sweeney's 20+ Year Marriage

Alison Sweeney may be one of the most familiar faces on the Hallmark Channel right now, but the actress has been regularly working on TV since she was a child. As a Los Angeles, California native, Sweeney grew up pursuing a career in show biz, which began at the young age of 5 years old. Longtime Sweeney fans should definitely recognize her from her successful soap opera career which spanned decades.

Her first big gig was in a Kodak commercial, followed by roles on Tales from the Darkside, Simon & Simon, St. Elsewhere, Family Man,  and Brand New Life, a miniseries from X-Files creator Chris Carter that aired within NBC's Magical World of Disney in October 1989. But her big break was playing Samantha "Sami" Brady on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, a role she booked when she was only 16 years old. Sweeney told Closer Weekly that it was her experience as a child actor that helped shape her as a person.

"Discipline and work ethic was always instilled in me as a kid. I was really lucky to have rock-solid parents who helped me through the industry and didn't pressure me to do it. It was my choice, and I always wanted to be a part of telling the story behind the scenes."

Sweeney seems to open the door every time opportunity knocks.

The actress played the role of Sami Brady from 1993 to 2014, though it was recently announced she'll make a brief comeback. During that time, she won a Daytime Emmy Award nomination and four Soap Opera Digest Awards. She also became the host of NBC's The Biggest Loser, a weight loss game show, in season 4 and stayed on until season 16. But working as a host and starring on the daytime drama were getting to be a bit too much for Sweeney (which is totally understandable). Ultimately, she decided that she wanted to have more time with her family so she left the soap opera and Biggest Loser contestants behind her and entered a new chapter in her life. Luckily for us, she has become the star attraction on Hallmark ever since, a network that has been known for offering an incredible work/life balance for working parents. 

'A Magical Christmas Village' and Hallmark Career

When Summer's mother Vivian moves in with her and her young daughter Chloe, her orderly existence is upended. Upon arrival, Vivian sets up an heirloom, miniature Christmas village resembling their town, and tells Chloe it grants Christmas wishes. As Chloe begins setting up the figurines, real-life events seem to mimic the scenes she creates. Photo: Alison Sweeney, Luke Macfarlane

Credit: ©2022 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Kailey Schwerman

Sweeney's first Hallmark movie was Second Chances, AKA Hearts on Fire in 2013 followed by playing Hannah Swensen in the Murder, She Baked mystery series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries opposite Cameron Mathison. Sweeney also starred in Love on the Air and The Irresistible Blueberry Farm opposite co-star Marc Blucas, in addition to numerous Christmas movies over the years like Christmas At Holly Lodge, Time For You To Come Home for Christmas, and Good Morning Christmas!. She recently even acts as executive producer for her newest mystery series, the Chronicle Mysteries, which follows the storyline of podcast host Alex McPherson. So far, four Chronicle Mysteries have been released with more in the works for the future. Can't wait!

Sweeney told Smashing Interviews Magazine that in addition to spending time with her husband David Sanov, she enjoys spending all of her off time with her children, even if it's just watching Netflix together. The couple has been married since 2000 and shares daughter Megan and son Benjamin. 

"I spend time with my kids, sometimes it's just as simple as staying at home with them because they've got school and stuff they need to do. For me, it's important to create that stability for them in their lives. I love being a mom, and I love everything that we do. It's been fun to spend time with them at home even if it's just making dinner or helping them with their homework. Sometimes we like to go away on the weekends or Megan and I ride our horses together."

According to Horse Daily, Sweeney's mother was a professional equestrian before she decided to take time off to raise her children. She only returned to the sport when her daughter expressed interest in learning to ride. The actress grew up loving horses so much that her current home in the Hollywood Hills even has a portrait of her childhood horse on display. It's so special that she is able to share this family activity now with her own daughter.

This year, Sweeney is back with another festive flick — A Magical Christmas Village. Per Hallmark, the film centers on "A Christmas Village [that] brings the magic of Christmas to the lives of Summer and her family, healing old wounds and bringing new love to Summer and her family." Sweeney co-stars with Luke Macfarlane  and television icon Marlo Thomas.

Earlier this year, Sweeney will re-unite with fellow Hallmark queens Lacey Chabert and Autumn Reeser for the next installment of The Wedding Veil franchise. The Wedding Veil Expectations will premiere on Jan. 7, followed by The Wedding Veil Inspiration on Jan. 14 and The Wedding Veil Journey, which focuses on Sweeney and Victor Webster's characters, on Jan. 21.

After discovering a long-lost painting, museum curator Avery and new board member Peter investigate the artwork's origins as they plan a gala to unveil it. Photo: Alison Sweeney, Lacey Chabert, Autumn Reeser

Credit: ©2021 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Sven Boecker

Sweeney told People that filming The Wedding Veil series allowed her to develop a close bond with her co-stars Chabert and Reeser.

"It was such a great female bonding time," Sweeney said. "You don't realize until you're away from all the normal comforts, you can really connect with each other, and we had so much fun."

Sweeney told Kelly Clarkson that she loves helping tell female-focused stories as part of the Hallmark family.

"I love reading stories, reading books, finding IP that I want to turn into movies," Sweeney said on The Kelly Clarkson Show in 2022. "I feel like I'm the Hallmark audience. I'm that person who wants to watch romantic comedies. They're not making them in feature films anymore or on the movie screen so come watch Hallmark on a Friday night."

Is Alison Sweeney Married?

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 04: Actress Alison Sweeney (R) and husband David Sanov attend a screening of Hallmark Channel's "Christmas at Holly Lodge" at The Grove on December 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

Sweeney is married to her husband of over 20 years, David Sanov. They married in 2000 after dating for nearly three years. The couple has two children, a son and a daughter.

During an appearance on Ellen, Sweeney shared a bit about how she and her husband encouraged honesty and communication.

"We kind of started the tradition toward the beginning of our marriage...your anniversary is such a lovely night and there's usually happy emotions so we kind of had the thought of talking about the good things we've been doing in our marriage — what we really liked about how it was going — and then also maybe a bit of a job evaluation — things that could use improvement, things we could work on. It's sort of a free zone where you're not going to get angry, you're not going to get sensitive and we both sort of have one thing that we want to work on."


Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 8, 2020. It was updated on Dec. 14, 2022. 

READ MORE: How Are Hallmark Christmas Movies Made? We Asked Screenwriter Karen Schaler