updated 04/15/2011 AT 9:50 AM ET
•originally published 04/15/2011 AT 10:25 AM ET
“All My Children was more than a job,” the actress said in a statement Thursday. “It was my family. It was there that I met my husband; it was there when my first two children were born; it was there where I met many of my life-long friends.”
Continued Ripa: “It was the greatest training ground ever. I feel heart sick.”
The actress, 40, who got her start on the long-running ABC soap opera in 1990, played Hayley Vaughan, a popular character. She left the show in 2002, one year after taking the co-hosting job on Live! with Regis and Kelly alongside Regis Philbin.
In the wake of Thursday’s news, other All My Children castmembers, including Susan Lucci, who’s played Erica Kane on the show since 1970, have reflected on the show’s contribution to pop culture.
Said Lucci: “It’s been a fantastic journey.”
All My Children’s final episode will air in September.