LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Karina Smirnoff is departing Dancing with the Stars.
The 37-year-old professional dancer announced the news Tuesday on Instagram. Smirnoff has been with the ABC reality competition for 16 seasons, but said she will not return for season 20 in order to pursue other ventures.
"I wanted all of my incredible family to hear it directly from me," she wrote. "After a lot of thought and prayer, I've decided to focus my energies on some other exciting endeavors including adding author to my resume. I have absolutely loved dancing for you all these years and feel blessed to have been given a platform to put my passion for dance, choreography and creativity on display."
"DWTS has been a huge part of my life for the last 10 years and I will always have a special place in my heart for it," she declared. "I am thrilled that now you will be seeing more of me in new arenas in the days and weeks to come ... I love all of you so very much and couldn't feel more grateful for your support in all that I do!"
Smirnoff made her debut on the program with actor Mario Lopez in season 3. She went on to partner with such celebrities as country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and won the competition with actor J.R. Martinez in season 13.
Smirnoff released her first book, We're Just Not That into You: Dating Disasters from the Trenches, this week. The narrative was co-written by friend and manager Lindsay Rielly, and sees the pair humorously recount their dating escapades.