When the CW’s The Vampire Diaries first premiered, everyone tuned in expecting it to be just another Twilight rip-off. While it was similar in some ways, it couldn’t have been more different in others. The series was gruesome, ruthless, and at times, reminscent of an 1800s old gothic horror story. At the center of it all was relative newcomer Nina Dobrev. Where other actresses might have faltered or backed away from some of the challenges presented by the series, she made a name for herself on the small screen as one of the best up-and-coming actresses.

Since the series’ premiere, Dobrev has had the chance to work on a few feature films here and there like The Perks of Being a WallflowerLet’s Be Cops, and this year’s The Final Girls. However, a few months ago, rumors began swirling that Dobrev might be leaving Vampire Diaries (currently in its sixth season and going strong) after several tweets and Instagram posts were made by the show’s cast and crew included #ninawewillmissyou.

Well, it looks like the rumors were true. Today, Dobrev announced on Instagram that she’ll be departing from the series following the sixth season finale. Dobrev also included an image of herself and series’ showrunner, Julie Plec, along with a letter to the fans of the series detailing why she’ll be saying goodbye to Elena Gilbert and the rest of the characters.

Check it out below:

Dearest TVD Family, I've just spent the most beautiful weekend on Lake Lanier in Georgia with my own TVD Family, the cast and crew of The Vampire Diaries. I want to be the first to tell you that it wasn't just a holiday celebration, it was a goodbye party. I always knew I wanted Elena's story to be a six season adventure, and within those six years I got the journey of a lifetime. I was a human, a vampire, a doppelganger, a crazy immortal, a doppelganger pretending to be human, a human pretending to be a doppelganger. I got kidnapped, killed, resurrected, tortured, cursed, body-snatched, was dead and undead, and there's still so much more to come before the season finale in May. Elena fell in love not once, but twice, with two epic soulmates, and I myself made some of the best friends I'll ever know and built an extended family I will love forever. There's more to come before we wrap this up, and I promise you'll get to hear all about my experiences over the next month as we approach the season finale (I have given an exclusive interview for the June issue of SELF Magazine that I am excited for you to see!), but until then I invite you to hop on the roller coaster ride that is Elena Gilbert's life and join me as I celebrate her and prepare to say goodbye to her -- and to my work family -- as I move on to the next chapter of my life. I want to share this goodbye with all of you (this weekend's pictures were just the beginning). You, the wonderful fandom who gave more love, support and passion than anyone could have ever imagined seven years ago, when a young Degrassi girl from Canada showed up in LA to audition for 'that Twilight TV show.' ;-) I love you all. Fasten your seatbelts. If you think you know what's coming, you don't. Love, Nina

A photo posted by Nina Dobrev (@ninadobrev) on

Plec recently released a statement in regards to Dobrev’s departure, as well:

“Saying goodbye to Nina is both bittersweet and beautiful. After six-plus years together, the entire cast and crew of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ has reached a level of closeness that I don’t think any of us ever expected. Nina is excited to spread her wings, get some rest, travel the world and also take it by storm, and we support her a thousand-fold. We will miss Nina and the 400 characters she played, but we look forward to the insane and exciting challenge of continuing to tell stories of our Salvatore Brothers and our much-loved and gifted ensemble.”

Dobrev wasn’t the only actor rumored to be leaving this season. Actor Michael Trevino (who plays Tyler Lockwood) recently was released by the studio to work on a pilot for the ABC series, Kingmakers – meaning he’ll be able to leave Vampire Diaries if the pilot takes off.

Plec commented on Trevino’s future in the series with the following:

“Michael has been a beloved member of the ‘Vampire Diaries’ family since Day 1. Even though he’s also going to be out in the world exploring new opportunities, we look forward to finding creative ways to make sure he and his character Tyler Lockwood always remain a part of the show.”

Dobrev and Trevino are two of a number of series regulars to leave the series this season after the earlier departure of Dobrev’s onscreen brother Jeremy (played by Steven R. McQueen) as well as Marguerite McIntyre’s Sheriff Forbes.

The Vampire Diaries Nina Dobrev Leaving Series The Vampire Diaries Star Nina Dobrev Leaving Series


While this will most likely come as a disappointment to most fans, it might not be the kind of grave marker some might think. The series has managed to maintain strong ratings all throughout its six season run so far, but more and more of the storylines and character arcs have begun to feel recycled. Despite the fact that Dobrev’s performance and likability was one of the biggest draws to the series for a lot of viewers, her departure (and possible replacement?) could give the series a new kind of life some might argue it’s in desperate need of.

Dobrev remains one of the most interesting and intriguing young actresses working today and after proving her chops both on this and in other efforts, it shouldn’t be too hard for her to transition into this new phase of her career. Fans of the series certainly have a lot to look forward to throughout the rest of this season, and while it may end in a heartfelt and bittersweet goodbye to the show’s flagship character, it doesn’t look like the writers will be holding back with her farewell.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays @8pm on The CW.

Source: Instagram