"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," the actress announced on Instagram Sunday on a shot of herself hugging showrunner Julie Plec. "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," she continued. "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," she added.
"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."
Julie also issued a statement about Nina's departure, writing, "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."
As for why Nina is leaving the show, her decision to exit "has been in the works for quite some time," according to E! News, which reported that she is "ready to get some rest, reclaim some of her freedom and move on to other opportunities."
In addition to Nina's departure from the show, Julie also confirmed that Michael Trevino, who plays Tyler Lockwood on the show, will also be leaving.
In spite of both of their exits, the show will go on, since Vampire Diaries has already been renewed for a seventh season. But, it will be interesting to see how it continues on from here, and how Nina will make her exit from the show on screen.
Vampire Diaries fans...how are you taking the news? Will you still watch the show? Tell us in the comments.