Andrew Lincoln Reveals Why He's Leaving ‘The Walking Dead’ and, Ugh, Fine

andrew lincoln rick grimes

Andrew Lincoln has been the face of The Walking Dead for nearly a decade. As we prepare to say goodbye to his character (Rick Grimes), the actor is opening up about his decision and, um, is someone cutting onions?

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln reflected on his Walking Dead career and the upcoming ninth season. When asked why he’s leaving the series, the 45-year-old referred to his wife, Gael Anderson, and his two children, Arthur and Matilda Clutterbuck, who live in England.

“The plain and simple answer is that it was the right time for my family,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, I can shut off my heart for a good distance, and I’ve had to do it for eight years, but I have to come home. It’s a very painful decision, but it’s the right decision.”

Although his departure came as a surprise to many fans, Lincoln confirmed it was his plan all along, saying, “I had a conversation during season four with [executive producer] Scott Gimple about this. We spoke about it and I said, ‘Eight sounds like a good number.’”

Of course, he ended up postponing his “funeral” for a few more episodes. But have no fear, because Lincoln isn’t going very far. In fact, he’s returning as the big man in charge, adding, “I’m going back to shadow a director, and my intention is to direct next year.”

Take that, Walkers. Season nine of The Walking Dead premieres on October 7.

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Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...