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Nina Dobrev revealed she was leaving The Vampire Diaries back in April, and during Sunday night’s Teen Choice Awards, the actress told fans that her departure was just a necessary part of life.

“The last few months have been a big change for me,” Dobrev said after winning Choice TV Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy. “Change. It’s a scary word, or I used to think that, because it meant new beginnings. New beginnings with a future that was unknown. But change is necessary. Necessary for you to grow up and learn and to better yourself, because everything in life comes to an end.”

Dobrev spent six seasons playing Elena on the hit show, and said she looks back on her time as part of The Vampire Diaries “with a grateful heart.”

“Just like Elena, I started the show as a young girl, and together we grew up,” Dobrev said. “We’ve grown up and over the last six years we’ve become women. These were six incredible years that I’ve had the pleasure of sharing with all of you guys. I wouldn’t be here with you. I wouldn’t be here without Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson. They changed my life with this role. Sorry. Three roles. Four roles. It’s hard to keep track these days.”

Kidding aside, Dobrev closed her speech with a plea to the teenagers in the audience to keep a level head about the future. “So remember, change is coming! So hold on and enjoy the ride, all right?” she said. “It’s going to be fun.”

“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,” executive producer Julie Plec said when Dobrev revealed she was exiting the series. “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. 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.”

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The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.

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