Andrew Lincoln opens up about his departure from ‘The Walking Dead’

The actor has revealed more information about why he felt it was time to leave the show

Andrew Lincoln has opened up about his departure from The Walking Dead.

Earlier this month (July 20), the actor announced that he will leave the show after the next series. Making the announcement at San Diego’s Comic-Con, the news came as the post-apocalyptic zombie show approaches its ninth series.

The actor has played police officer Rick Grimes, the shows leading character, since 2010.

Addressing the Comic Con audience, the 44-year-old said: “There seems to be an elephant in the room and I think many of you want to ask a question whether or not it is my last year. This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes.”

He continued: “I love this show, it means everything to me. I love the people who make this show. I’m also particularly fond of the people who watch the show. It has been the most extraordinary, beautiful experience of my career, largely because of you guys.”

Asked about his plans after the show ends, the actor said he intended to take a break and spend time with his family. “It’s been so much a part of my life, I breathed it for 10 years,” Lincoln added.

Speaking to Entertainment Weeklythe star has now confirmed that he had concluded work on the series and said leaving the show was like “releasing air, finally.”

He added: “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 and then have all my friends hug me at the end? The shit got real, is the truth of the matter.”

Lincoln also spoke in more detail about his young children saying: “I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older…it was that simple. It was time for me to come home.”

Meanwhile, a survey of Walking Dead fans recently revealed that 44% of them said they would stop watching the show once Lincoln left.

72% of the people who completed the poll also believe that The Walking Dead should end after season nine.

Rumours of Lincoln’s departure had been known for some time. Whilst bosses were still to confirm that Lincoln would leave after season 9 by the time San Diego’s Comic-Con came around, a director on the show recently let slip about the actor’s expected exit after he posted a farewell message to Lincoln on his Instagram, while maintaining that the show “will still be great” after Rick’s departure.

The ninth series is due to air on 7 October.