As the protagonist of the series, it was quite surprising to fans when Nina Dobrev announced she was declining to renew her contract and leaving the show after six seasons. Dobrev portrayed Elena through many ups and downs, including heartbreak over losing loved ones, a dramatic love triangle between her and two vampire brothers, and eventually becoming a vampire herself. She also portrayed Katherine Pierce, Elena’s vampire doppelganger and one of the series’ antagonists. She sometimes acted opposite herself, as both characters within one scene; Dobrev was, undeniably, integral to the show.
Dobrev took to her Instagram account to let fans know about her departure from the popular series. In the post, she explained that she always wanted Elena’s character arc to be a “six season adventure” and called her experience “the journey of a lifetime.” She also thanked the fans for giving her “more love, support and passion than anyone could have ever imagined seven years ago.”
In an interview with Self Magazine, she further explained her reasoning for leaving, which mostly came down to her wanting to grow as an actress by taking on other roles. She expressed how much she would miss the cast and crew, who she became close to over the years, and told Self, “I know this is a new exciting step in the right direction for me, but it’s going to be so strange not to be with them.”