Andrew Lincoln Is Leaving 'The Walking Dead' for Family: 'It Was Time for Me to Come Home'

The star of the hit series finally reveals why he's leaving the show after more than eight seasons

After more than eight seasons, Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead for the same reason his character Rick Grimes has fought to stay alive for so long: Family.

While news of the actor’s departure first broke in late May, Lincoln, 44, confirmed the news at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this month. And now, he’s explaining his choice to step away from the character he’s played since the show premiered in 2010.

“I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older. It was that simple,” he said on EW Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105).

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Lincoln’s home base with his wife, Gael Anderson, and two kids, son Arthur and daughter Matilda, is in England, while The Walking Dead films in Georgia for more than half the year.

“It was time for me to come home,” he added.

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“Completing the show was like releasing air finally,” Lincoln said of his final days of filming. “And it was very satisfying the last two episodes in particular. But doing a panel and having to talk to [thousands of] people in Hall H [at Comic-Con] and then have all my friends hug me at the end? The s— got real, is the truth of the matter.”

Lincoln isn’t the only character who will go absent at some point in the season. Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie, will be stepping aside to film her new ABC series, Whiskey Cavalier, though she assures TWD fans she may not be gone for long. “Maggie’s story is open-ended,” she promised on EW Radio.

The Walking Dead season 9 premieres Oct. 7 on AMC.

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