Claire Holt (far right) takes leave from vampire series <i>The Originals</i>, which co-stars fellow Australian Phoebe Tonkin (left).

Claire Holt (far right) takes leave from vampire series The Originals, which co-stars fellow Australian Phoebe Tonkin (left).

It isn't an easy choice for anyone, but Australian actress Claire Holt has revealed she quit the hit The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals, because the time had come to choose family over work.

"It was a tough choice that I didn't fully make it right up until the end, because I was enjoying myself so much," she said.

"I realised I hadn't been home to Australia in years, I hadn't seen my family, and I hadn't spent time with the people I loved."

Holt was one one of the stars of the series, about ancient vampires living in modern day New Orleans. Prior to that she starred in the show's parent series, The Vampire Diaries, for three years.

Holt played "original vampire" Rebekah Mikaelson in the series. She was one of two Australians with roles in the series; the other is her former H20: Just Add Water co-star Phoebe Tonkin, who plays werewolf Hayley Marshall.

Both shows are filmed in Atlanta, a location which has kept Holt from seeing her family in Australia and Los Angeles.

"This show has been so amazing for my career, and I've had such unbelievable material, it was just never my intention to be away from home this long," Holt told the US entertainment news website BuzzFeed.

In the US both series air on The CW network. In Australia, they are owned by the Nine Network.

Holt indicated her departure from the series may not be permanent.

"I want to make it so clear that this show has such a special place in my heart. I am so glad I was able to do The Originals, and I want to be a part of that family for a long time," she said. "I am simply looking at this as a temporary absence."

Her comments come after speculation in the US media that she was frustrated with the material in the series, or that the show's producers had run out of ideas for the character.

"I want to be very clear that they didn't run out of material, I wasn't pushed out, I wasn't fed up with Rebekah, I didn't quit mid-season, there was no drama, there was no rift between cast members," she said. "It really came down to the fact that I completed my initial commitment and made a life choice, not a career choice."