Will The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus exit with Andrew Lincoln? 'Oh, hell no'

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Jul 26, 2018, 11:11 AM EDT

While it’s become apparent that The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln had been contemplating his exit from the AMC zombie drama for a while, we didn’t know that co-star Norman Reedus was also once in on the plan.

The two actors have been close for years (“He’s made me a better actor, a friend, a father, all the way down the line. He’s a very, very important person to me,” Reedus said of Lincoln) as they’ve become the breakouts of the series, at one point vowing to stick together even if it meant not being on the show anymore.

In an interview with EW Radio, Reedus explained that he and Lincoln “made a pact” to quit at the same time out of solidarity. “I think it was like Season 3 or 4,” Reedus said. “We’re like, ‘If you leave, I leave. Right?’ And that was the thing.” Lincoln, whose exit has already been announced for the middle of next season, ribbed his co-star.

“Are you leaving?” asked Lincoln of his once pact-mate. “Is this an announcement? Is this breaking news?” To which Reedus, pleased to renege, replied, “Oh, hell no.”

But despite the oral agreement’s breach, the two remain very close. Reedus still speaks highly of his best friend on set and still manages to keep Lincoln involved with the show past his departure. “I still sneak him scripts,” Reedus said, with Lincoln confirming. Lincoln has gone from leading the show to becoming its first sneak-peeking fan, all thanks to a friendship that almost led to a double exit.

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