Following months of speculation and strange signs on social media, it happened: ChoA has left AOA.

The 27-year-old girl group member, who debuted in 2012 with the then-eight member troupe, caused fans to speculate about her fate in the girl group after an enduring absence from promotions and, at one point, the deletion of all her Instagram posts.

Last month, ChoA became the unwanted subject of dating gossip after being linked to the CEO of an electronics company, which her agency denied and she herself apologized for being unintentionally entangled in drama.

Now, ChoA opens up about the real reasons behind her absence: insomnia and depression.

"I tried taking medication and started decreasing my work two years ago. However, because the problem didn’t stem from being tired, I ended up stopping all of my activities," she explained in a revealing Instagram post today (June 22) announcing her decision to leave the group.

"I tried hard to get back to work while thinking of those who were waiting for me, but I felt that if the negative attention of my hiatus continued, this would be even more detrimental to the team members."

For now, it seems, she's just trying to live as a normal twentysomething outside of the spotlight: "I am 28 years old this year, and going forward, I will be reflecting on my chaotic self. For the remainder of my 20s, I would like to fill them with different experiences that are befitting of my age."

ChoA also says that, perhaps, she might even return to music one day.

"Someday, when I no longer feel scared and feel that I can show a better side of me, and if there are still people who cheer me on, I would like to return. I am a lacking person, but to those who keep cheering me on and worry for me, I would like to give my sincere thanks."

Oddly, her agency — FNC Entertainment — is unwilling to confirm the news themselves.

“In terms of leaving the team, we are in the process of talking about it. It has not been decided. We will be deciding on the future steps after more discussion," they told Mydaily News (translation via Soompi). (It's an odd statement to make given that ChoA herself said she's leaving, but perhaps there are some final promotions still left in her contract that need to be ironed out.)

One year ago, AOA member Youkyung left the group after her contract with FNC expired. They're now down to six members.

We wish ChoA the best of luck on her new journey.

Read a full translation of ChoA's sign-off message, courtesy of Soompi, below.

“Hello, this is Choa.

I was very grateful and sorry that so many people took interest in my sudden hiatus. This is a bit late, but I want to tell you the reason why I had to rest and the decision that I came to after lots of deliberation.

Since AOA wasn’t a team that immediately received a lot of love when we debuted, I had always been grateful for the love we got and I think preciously of it.

Although I was the oldest on the team, I’m still very young and I wanted to cry a lot of times while working. However, I know that the reason you like me is because of my bright image. Although I was crying in my heart, I had to look happy. This happened repeatedly, and the more I forced myself, I found myself becoming sicker and sicker.

To treat my insomnia and depression, I tried taking medication and started decreasing my work two years ago. However, because the problem didn’t stem from being tired, I ended up stopping all of my activities.

I tried hard to get back to work while thinking of those who were waiting for me, but I felt that if the negative attention of my hiatus continued, this would be even more detrimental to the team members.

After speaking with our company, I am leaving the team called AOA today, and I’m going to be cheering on my fellow members.

Over the past eight years while I prepared to become a celebrity and worked as one, I learned a lot of things. I think that even this difficult moment is a process for me to grow. I am 28 years old this year, and going forward, I will be reflecting on my chaotic self. For the remainder of my 20s, I would like to fill them with different experiences that are befitting of my age.

As of now, I am not thinking about doing any work outside of my individual work that was already planned. Someday, when I no longer feel scared and feel that I can show a better side of me, and if there are still people who cheer me on, I would like to return. I am a lacking person, but to those who keep cheering me on and worry for me, I would like to give my sincere thanks. To the members who I have been with for so long, and to those who helped me overcome what I lack so that I can be loved, and to those who loved me and AOA, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.”

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