Nina Dobrev thanks Vampire Diaries fandom as she quits after six seasons

The CW show's star has announced the news on Instagram, shocking fans of the long-running supernatural series

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Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev is quitting the long-running supernatural series. 

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The 26-year-old actress, who has played lead Elena Gilbert since the show’s first episode in 2009, announced her decision to depart the drama on Instagram yesterday. 

Saying “I want to be the first to tell you”, Dobrev broke the news to shocked fans on the photo sharing site. 

“I always knew I wanted Elena’s story to be a six season adventure,” she said, “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.” 

“I want to share this goodbye with all of you,” Dobrev 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 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.” 

It’s not the end for The Vampire Diaries. The show, also starring Ian Somerholder and Paul Wesley, will return for a seventh run, sans its leading lady. And it’s not quite the end for Dobrev either.

“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,” she posted. 

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

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The Vampire Diaries follows Elena, a teenage girl from Mystic Falls – a town with a strange and supernatural history – who falls in love with a 163-year-old vampire named Stefan Salvatore, and later with his brother Damon. 

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The Vampire Diaries airs on ITV2 in the UK