Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes has been tied to the hit drama show, The Walking Dead since its pilot in 2010.

In the first season, the former Georgia sheriff goes out into the zombie-infested world on a mission to find his wife and son. Since then, Lincoln’s character has faced many challenges in the world of the walking dead.

As much as Lincoln’s character was a centerpiece of the TV series, he left at the show's height. 

When the actor confirmed that he was leaving the show, it was a major shock for the fans and the franchise. However, Lincoln also answered the burning question of why he left during the announcement. 

Andrew Lincoln’s Exit and the Reason behind It 

Lincoln confirmed his departure from the show in July 2018 at San Diego Comic-Con. 

The actor emotionally announced that “this will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes,” to the shock and dismay of the crowd.

Lincoln likened his co-stars and cast members to his family, but he said, “I have a real family, and it’s time to go home.” 

In an interview with EW, the actor explained that The Walking Dead shoots for over half the year in Georgia. It kept him away from his wife and kids, who lived in England for prolonged periods.

Lincoln added, “I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older.”

Dailymail reported that Lincoln had planned to leave the show after season 8, but his exit didn’t come until the fifth episode of season 9.

The actor also teased that his relationship with Grimes was far from over.

And later, in the November 2018 episode of the after-show Talking Dead, it was revealed that the actor would return as Grimes in a trilogy of Walking Dead films.

Andrew Lincoln’s Life with Wife and Kids 

Lincoln is notoriously private about his personal life. He has said that the longer he’s been in the public eye, the more he’s wanted and fought for an ordinary life.

“I'm fiercely proud of my work, and fiercely proud of my privacy, as well.”

In real life, the actor still goes by the name Andrew Clutterbuck which gives him a bit of anonymity. "Everything in my life is Clutterbuck. So I can fly under the radar."

However, information about the actor’s personal life has trickled out. 

As of this writing, Lincoln has been married to his wife Gael Anderson for almost 16 years. He allegedly met Anderson on the set of Teachers when she was working as a floor runner. 

In a 2010 interview with The Scotsman, the actor talked about his decision to settle down as a simple one, “I saw someone that I just fell for, it was amazing.”

“Ours is a very ordinary love story, I suppose. We met, we spent time together, and then I proposed and we got married and had children,” added Lincoln.

Andrew Lincoln's wife and daughter

Andrew Lincoln's wife Gael Anderson and daughter Matilda Clutterbuck. (Source: Twitter)

Lincoln’s wife grew up in the limelight as the daughter of the famous rockstar, Ian Anderson. She is an actress who formerly worked as an assistant to Gwyneth Paltrow. 

As aforementioned, Lincoln and Anderson have two kids, Arthur, 11, and Matilda, 13. He said that being a husband and father gives much-treasured structure to a life that could easily spiral into chaos.

"It's family first. It makes me more efficient. Work is work time, then I come home – and there is nothing more grounding."

Lincoln’s principle has remained the same over the years. He left The Walking Dead to be with his wife and kids.