Fans were so sad when Rayna James, played by actress Connie Britton, was killed off Nashville in late February. And now, viewers are so curious why she left the CMT show after just five seasons!

Why did Connie Britton leave Nashville?

Shortly after her death episode, the 50-year-old actress opened up about her tough decision to exit the series. “It was something that had been percolating over time, and there were lots of different reasons behind it. But my priority was really making sure that the timing was right. My priority has always been Nashville,” she said.

When asked if she thought her character, Rayna, had accomplished everything she’d hoped on the show, Connie candidly replied, “Maybe that was part of [me leaving]. As I said, there were a lot of things that came into play. Some of them were personal… It was just the right timing.”

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Connie as Rayna on Nashville.

How did Rayna James die?

Episode number eight ended with Rayna getting into a car crash. In Connie’s final Nashville episode, she struggled to recover from the devastating accident. Following a heartbreaking, imaginary conversation with her dead mother, Rayna succumbed to her injuries and passed away surrounded by her family and friends. It was so emotional!

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Rayna James’ death scene

Watch her passing in the video below:

Why did they kill off Rayna James?

It seems like the decision to leave Nashville was Connie’s personal choice, however, it wasn’t up to her the way Rayna would ultimately leave the show. When asked if she chose to have her killed off, Connie replied, “No. [Producer Marshall Herskovitz] definitely shared his ideas with me. And I was so appreciative of that. It was so important to me, as I said, to do it in a way that felt like it was honoring the character. I really wanted to do justice to Rayna. And I felt like he really did that… I was not excited for Rayna to die though.”

Did Rayna James really die?

Sadly, yes. During Connie’s appearance on The Late Show on Monday, Feb. 27, host Stephen Colbert joked that Rayna could come back to the series as an evil twin or zombie — and she didn’t turn down his suggestions!

The Friday Night Lights star then confirmed that Rayna is 100 percent dead. “She’s really dead. I’m sorry, but I gotta tell it like it is. She’s really dead,” she said.

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Connie as Rayna on Season 3 of Nashville.

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Will Connie Britton return to Nashville?

Maybe! After Stephen’s joke, she added, “I think the twin sister idea is not bad. I mean, it’s Nashville, anything could happen.” One can only hope!

Is Nashville ending?

Connie previously opened up about her opinion on the fate of the show. “It was hard [for me to leave]. It was hard and sad for everybody. But people who are fans of the show love the show so much, they love those characters so much. Nashville is such a rich world that it can go on indefinitely,” she said on Tuesday, June 6.

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