'The Walking Dead' Star Faced Backlash Over Comments Made After Being Killed Off

Former Walking Dead star Tom Payne faced criticism for admitting he wasn't upset Jesus was killed off in November's mid-season finale.

"All of the different actors on the show have had slightly different experiences with the fans, I think, depending on what happens with each storyline. And, also, how you conduct yourself outside of the show. So if you don't show the show absolute reverence, then sometimes they might attack you," Payne told France's OCS Story.

"I've basically said that I was kind of okay with leaving and I had done three years, and that was enough for me, and I think some people are like, 'Well, who does he think he is?'

"And I'm like, well, I'm just being honest. I'm a human being as well, and I'm an actor, and I want to do lots of different things and three years is enough for me."

The star previously acknowledged Jesus' death was a mutual decision, born in part by Payne's disappointment the character went underserved in his three-year run on the show when compared to his comic book counterpart.

In that time, much of Payne's real-life training regimen and martial arts prowess went largely unused, and the star expressed regret the show neglected to adapt two of Jesus' standout comic book moments.

Asked if exiting The Walking Dead was following a gut instinct, Payne said it was.

"I think if you're honest with yourself, then you know what's best for yourself. You can make certain things which are business decisions, so you can go, 'Oh, I should take this job, because I'm gonna get paid this much money.' But then if you know that you're not gonna be happy, then you shouldn't do it," he said.

"You shouldn't make decisions based purely on finance or things like that, because if you yourself are fundamentally unhappy, then things just won't work out, in my experience. So I always try to do what I feel is the right thing to do."

Payne recently addressed his comments in an interview with Huffington Post, where he had to clarify he's "never talked sh-t about the show" after THR shared Payne's "frustrations" in an oft-quoted exit interview.

"I don't have anything to say badly about the show," Payne said.

Jesus, who was buried in the mid-season premiere, is expected to reappear later this season when The Walking Dead explores drama that occurred during a six-year time jump. Recently leaked episode synopses suggest Jesus could be involved in episode 914.

The Walking Dead Season Nine premieres new episodes Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

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