It was just time to move on. That’s the message from Adam Levine in a lengthy, emotional essay posted on Facebook just hours after The Voice host Carson Daly announced that the Maroon 5 frontman would be leaving the reality singing show after 16 seasons.
As the only other original judge — alongside his BFF Blake Shelton — Levine is leaving after first taking his seat in a giant red chair on April 26, 2011, and leading three singers to the winner’s circle over eight years.
“About 8 years ago, [executive producer] Mark Burnett convinced us to sign up for this show where you sit in a big red chair with your back turned away from the singers on the stage,” wrote Levine. “First thank you must go to Mark. We had no idea what we were doing or where it was going. After the first day of shooting, I sat there, stunned. I said to myself ‘theres some magic here. Something is definitely happening.’ It went on to be a life shaping experience that will be close to my heart forever.”
Levine had many thanks to share, including for his manager and NBC for allowing him to be part of something “I’ll always cherish for the rest of my life.” He tipped his hat to all the other coaches who’ve sat alongside him over the years, sharing a singular experience that they will all have for the rest of their lives, as well as to all of those who supported him on what he termed a “long strange and amazing left turn into a place I never thought I’d go.”
The show’s “backbone” Daly got a nice shout-out, as did executive producer Audrey Morrissey, as well as musical director Paul Mirkovich, everyone behind the scenes, and the “amazingly talented vocalists who competed on the show and blew my mind on a daily basis.”
The biggest string of hearts, of course, went to “BLAKE FUCKIN’ SHELTON,” the country star who became Levine’s favorite punching bag and twice-weekly foil on the show, making for one of primetime’s most delightful bromances. “I couldn’t hide my love for you if I tried,” Levine wrote. “Seriously. I tried. Can’t do it. Our friendship is and always will be one for the books. Whatever this whole surreal experience was, Im just happy I got to experience it with you. You’re my brother for life.”
Levine’s split comes just two weeks after he retweeted a promo from The Voice in which he was announced to be returning along with fellow coaches John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Shelton. He will be replaced in the upcoming fall season by Gwen Stefani.
Check out the full essay below.