"Today i finish my 15 year gig at my job... Wow!! I'm excited and sad. I so LOVE the people I work with! I suppose if I was a person who didn’t believe in future I would think that this was it for me... but i don’t feel that way. There is SOOOO much out there. I am very excited to live a new life," Stafford wrote. "I am so grateful that these guys employed me for so many years. Honored and humbled that Bill Bell hand picked me to play this crazy, funny, damaged woman by saying in the meeting, 'I want the one in the red dress.' I suppose i should thank Calvin Klein as well. It's been a wild ride that has finally come to a stop. I feel nothing but love man. Nothing but love..."
In May, Stafford shocked the daytime community by confirming a rumor that she was, in fact, exiting Y&R. A short time before the announcement, Stafford chatted with soapcentral.com contributor Lynda Hirsch, and the actress gave no indication that she would be stepping away from the CBS soap.
Michelle Stafford joined Y&R in 1994, but exited the show three years later. Y&R recast the role briefly, with actress Sandra Nelson stepping into the role until 1998. Stafford returned in July 2000 and has been with the show ever since -- and she even had the opportunity to play a second role, Sheila Carter, for several months.
"[Michelle Stafford] has been a huge part of the Y&R family," CBS Daytime vice president Angelica McDaniel said on Twitter. "Respect her decision to move on, but will miss her. Wish her the very best always."
A final airdate has yet to be announced, though the actress' final scenes are expected to air in late July.