As shows age, actors and actresses begin to leave or, depending on the nature of the series, get their characters killed off. Apparently, The Vampire Diaries is no exception. This week, series lead Nina Dobrev announced she will be quitting the longtime CW show at the end of this TV season to take a break and pursue other projects.

The actress, who plays Elena Gilbert (as well as a variety of other characters) on the CW drama, broke the news on Monday to her slew of Instagram followers in a lengthy message that looked back on her time on the hit show.

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's been a huge presence on The Vampire Diaries since it first began airing back in 2009. As she notes in her farewell speech, a lot of things have happened to her character(s), and before she leaves, showrunner Julie Plec says she will have a few more things to tackle, telling THR that Damon and Elena will need to figure out some stuff before Dobrev can make her big exit.

There is quite the doozy of a storyline coming for Damon and Elena, which is all about their relationship, and how it will work, and how they want to make it work.

The whole thing is a bit hilarious, considering Dobrev and Ian Somerholder actually dated in real life before breaking up. The fact that they might end up together on the TV series is all kinds of weird. Still, we'll be sad to see Dobrev go, especially considering she's not the only person who will or has left The Vampire Diaries. Recently Steven R. McQueen, who is known for playing Elena's brother Jeremy on the drama, left the show. In addition, Michael Trevino, who plays Tyler Lockwood on the series, is also saying goodbye to sign on with the pilot The Kingmakers on ABC.

Regardless of all of the exits the series has been dealing with over the last few months, The Vampire Diaries is still a pretty big performer for the CW. With that in mind, it's should be no surprise that the CW has already renewed the drama for the 2015-2016 TV season. Expect it to look very different without Nina Dobrev, but perhaps, her departure will allow others to step up and flourish.

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