Nina Dobrev Leaving The Vampire Diaries After Season 6: Read Her Sweet Message to Fans

Nina Dobrev (with costars Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, and Matt Davis) revealed via Instagram that she's leaving The Vampire Diaries after season six Credit: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

This bites! Nina Dobrev broke millions of hearts on Monday, April 6, when she announced that she'll be leaving The Vampire Diaries after the current sixth season.

The actress — who plays leading lady Elena Gilbert (as well as doppelganger Katherine Pierce) — addressed her fans in a post on Instagram after earlier photos from other members of the cast and crew sparked rumors of her departure.

"Dearest TVD Family," she wrote in the lengthy message. "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."

She went on to recap her nearly six years on the CW series, which was inspired by L.J. Smith's book series of the same name. 

"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," she wrote. "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."

Acknowledging the show's most famous love triangle — involving Elena and brothers Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Dobrev's real-life ex Ian Somerhalder) — she added, "Elena fell in love not once, but twice, with two epic soul mates, and I myself made some of the best friends I'll ever know and built an extended family I will love forever."

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 Apr 6, 2015 at 5:01pm PDT

That family includes costars Candice Accola (Caroline), Kat Graham (Bonnie), Zach Roerig (Matt), Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy), and Michael Trevino (Tyler), the latter of whom is also leaving to explore other opportunities.

"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," Dobrev wrote. "I want to share this goodbye with all of you (this weekend's pictures were just the beginning)."

She continued: "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 L.A. to audition for 'that Twilight TV show.' ;-) I love you all. Fasten your seat belts. If you think you know what's coming, you don't. Love, Nina."

TVD executive producer Julie Plec weighed in on the news, too, in a statement to Us Weekly. "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," Plec said. "Nina is excited to spread her wings, get some rests, travel the world, and also take it by storm,and we support her a thousand-fold. We will miss Nina and the four hundred 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."

Of Trevino, Plec added: "Michael has been a beloved member of the Vampire Diaries family since day one. 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."

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.