By Stephanie Guerilus, EnStars | May 22, 2013 10:58 AM EDT
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Michelle Stafford confirmed that she will be leaving The Young and the Restless after being on the CBS daytime drama on and off for 16 years.
Stafford released a statement to Soap Opera Digest on Tuesday about her decision to vacate the role of Phyllis Newman. She called her time spent on the top rated soap operas as one of the best in her life.
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"I would like to personally confirm to the fans that yes, I have decided to leave THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS. It has been a glorious 16 years and one of the greatest rides of my life. The constant support and love from the fans is not lost on me. I think I'll miss you the most," Stafford said.
Angelica McDaniel, head of CBS Daytime, thanked the Emmy winner for her years of dedication to Y&R in a tweet on Tuesday. McDaniel expressed support for the actress.
Stafford also took to the social media site to thank her many fans for their outpouring of love and support since her decision to the soap was first revealed by E! News on Monday. Stafford wrote that she was overwhelmed by the response and left speechless. However, she did have to remind her loyal fanbase that she was not dying.
"I can't respond to all of you. I would be up all night! Pls know I have read ALL of ur beautiful Tweets and I am lovin on all of u!!" Stafford tweeted.
Stafford originated her role in 1994 and left the show in 1997 after winning her first Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and joined Aaron Spelling's short lived drama, Pacific Palisades. She returned to the show in 2000 and received an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category in 2004. She is nominated once more in the same category this year.
Soap Opera Digest reported that Stafford will wrap up filming in mid-June and that the magazine will have an interview about her decision in a future issue.
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