Say It Ain’t So: Connie Britton’s Rayna James Says Goodbye To “Nashville”

Say It Ain’t So: Connie Britton’s Rayna James Says Goodbye To “Nashville”

Just when you thought Connie Britton, a.k.a. Rayna James, was in for the long haul on CMT’s hit drama, Nashville, the Hollywood actress is saying goodbye to the recently renewed drama, after four and a half seasons.

When CMT picked up the hour-long drama for a fifth season—after ABC cancelled the show at the end of four seasons—there had been much speculation that Connie would not return as Rayna. But the actress assured fans of her commitment when she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in January saying, “I’m in it. I’m in. I’m in for the duration, and we’re about to start a new season. And it’s an exciting new season because we have new showrunners, so we have new writers, and the stories, I think, are gonna be really — it’s gonna get us back to what Nashville is about and what the characters are and what the town is and the music is.”

Fast forward to Thursday night’s (Feb. 23) episode of Nashville—two episodes before the midseason finale—and Rayna James passed away, succumbing to injuries sustained in a car crash.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Connie opened up about her decision to leave the show. “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. When [showrunner] Marshall [Herskovitz] came in, we had a conversation and he came up with the way this story would lay out. We both agreed — and I said to him that what was most important to me was that we really do justice and honor the character and all of these characters and the world that we’ve been living in for these last five years.”

Connie also posted a heartfelt goodbye message to cast, crew and most importantly, her fans.

“Thank you Rayna Jaymes. For your magic and your dignity. And thank you to all the creators of Rayna Jaymes, for there were many. Callie Khouri, who gave her life. Deacon, Maddie, Daphne, who shaped her as her family. Teddy, Tandy, Lamar too. Juliette, Scarlett, Bucky and the ones who crafted her into a business woman. Along with countless other compatriots and combatants. And then of course the crew of “Nashville” who brought her to life, every crew member in every department who made Rayna live each week. And then there’s the music. T Bone, Buddy, Tim, Frankie and all the brilliant songwriters who gave Rayna a voice. There was no music, and no Rayna, without you. But finally and most importantly, the fans. You made Rayna. You supported her and loved her and gave her inspiration just as she was able to inspire you. You were the energy source, the power behind her heart and soul and life. Rayna lived for you. And, from the depths of my heart, I thank you, for her and for me. It has been an honor to be a part of that creation. And as I know she would want it, the show must, and will go on. Long live Rayna Jaymes. #RIPRayna #NashvilleCMT”

Time will tell whether the CMT show can withstand the loss of their beloved main character, Rayna James. But as Connie said in her post, “the show must go on.” The question is, for how long?

Nashville airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CMT.

Thank you Rayna Jaymes. For your magic and your dignity. And thank you to all the creators of Rayna Jaymes, for there were many. Callie Khouri, who gave her life. Deacon, Maddie, Daphne, who shaped her as her family. Teddy, Tandy, Lamar too. Juliette, Scarlett, Bucky and the ones who crafted her into a business woman. Along with countless other compatriots and combatants. And then of course the crew of “Nashville" who brought her to life, every crew member in every department who made Rayna live each week. And then there’s the music. T Bone, Buddy, Tim, Frankie and all the brilliant songwriters who gave Rayna a voice. There was no music, and no Rayna, without you. But finally and most importantly, the fans. You made Rayna. You supported her and loved her and gave her inspiration just as she was able to inspire you. You were the energy source, the power behind her heart and soul and life. Rayna lived for you. And, from the depths of my heart, I thank you, for her and for me. It has been an honor to be a part of that creation. And as I know she would want it, the show must, and will go on. Long live Rayna Jaymes. #RIPRayna #NashvilleCMT

A post shared by connie britton (@conniebritton) on

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