Andrew Lincoln, who has been the face of "The Walking Dead" since the zombie drama's debut, is preparing to depart the series sometime during its upcoming ninth season. Now, the star is finally addressing the reason behind his decision to turn in his sheriff's badge.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln and several other "TWD" cast members dished out some scoop about season nine. Lincoln also took the opportunity to discuss his impending exit from the series -- which he confirmed at Comic-Con earlier this month -- and reveal why he's walking away.

"I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older,” the actor explained to EW. “It was that simple. It was time for me to come home."

Home to Lincoln is England, and it was apparent to his former co-star, Chandler Riggs (who played Lincoln's son, Carl, and was killed off in season eight), that that was where the star needed to be. In an interview last month, Riggs said he was surprised by the actor's exit, but that it would "be good for him to get back to his family and raise his kids."

Just how Lincoln will be written out is a heavily guarded secret, though the actor did tell EW that he had already filmed his swan song.

"Completing the show was like releasing air finally," the star said. "And it was very satisfying the last two episodes in particular."

Fans will have to wait to see those installments, but in an earlier interview, "TWD" creator Robert Kirkman promised that the series had "something amazing planned."

"I wouldn't want to spoil anything," Kirkman continued, "but anybody who has been a fan of his journey, who loves Rick Grimes, who loves the world of 'The Walking Dead,' you're going to want to see what we do."

Season nine of "The Walking Dead" premieres on AMC on October 7.

[via: Entertainment Weekly]