Connie Britton is speaking out directly to fans following the emotional rollercoaster ride that was this week’s Nashville.
In interviews with both Entertainment Weekly and The Hollywood Reporter, the actress that played Rayna Jaymes on the country music drama answers the questions that remain after her character’s tragic death.
Here are the five things Connie wants the “Nashies” to know about her departure from Nashville:
1. Connie herself made the decision to leave Nashville.
“It was my decision. It was something that, for various reasons, had been percolating for me. What was really important to me was that it felt like the right time. This summer, when the show went to CMT, it felt solid and stable.”
2. She kept a belt from set.
“In the pilot, there’s a scene on the bridge between Deacon and Rayna and she’s wearing a leather embossed belt that says ‘I love you’ and I’ve always loved it. We’ve integrated it and I’ve worn it several times throughout the seasons. I took that.”
3. She will genuinely miss her Nashville family—and singing!
“I’m going to miss working with all those people because I really love them all: Chip Esten, the Stellas and every single actor and member of the crew. And I’m going to miss the crazy stress and then reward of singing because that part of it was a great challenge and I feel lucky that I got to do it.”
4. Will Rayna be back?
Connie returns to play Rayna in flashbacks in “at least a couple” of episodes in the coming weeks.
5. Nashville is continuing and Rayna lives on.
“The spirit of Rayna lives on forever and I’m always going to have a strong interest and love for the show. We never know what the future holds in terms of how a character can make an influence, so I would say, “Love this show, love these characters, and keep watching” — because that spirit is always going to be a part of the show, and these amazing Nashville characters are going to live on.”
Connie also took to Instagram to react to Rayna’s heartbreaking end, once again thanking the fans she calls “the power behind [the character’s] heart and soul and life.”
Nashville returns next Thursday at 9/8c.