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Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s wife Hilarie Burton to play Negan’s wife in The Walking Dead

The actress will join the series as a walker when it returns in 2021.

Hilarie Burton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Former One Tree Hill star Hilarie Burton has been cast as Lucille, the wife of The Walking Dead character Negan, played by her real-life husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

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Burton revealed the unusual casting on Twitter, writing: “Been pretty hard to keep this a secret,” Burton tweeted Tuesday. “But I love working with @JDMorgan. I love watching him become #Negan and take on that swagger. And I love the @TheWalkingDead family. They’ve been a part of our family for ages and I’m so grateful for their kindness.”

Morgan joined The Walking Dead for the finale of season six in 2016. His character, Negan, became a primary antagonist in seasons seven and eighth, although now he’s more of an anti-hero than unmitigated villain.

Deadline reported that in Robert Kirkman’s original The Walking Dead comics Lucille is the wife of Negan before the zombie apocalypse occurred.

Lucille was diagnosed with cancer, a condition which forced Negan to abandon an adulterous relationship to care for her during the final days of her life.

At one point in The Walking Dead, Negan said of Lucille’s death: “The thing is, when she was gone… I just, I didn’t feel much of anything any more, you know? I didn’t feel scared, I didn’t feel happy, I, uh… I didn’t feel anything. I was just… here. And that is my strength.”

Lucille’s death came at the same time as the apocalypse and she was reanimated as a zombie in her hospital bed.

Burton will make her debut as Lucille in one of the six extra episodes of season 10 of The Walking Dead in early 2021.

Burton and Morgan have worked together before, hosting a half-hour video-chat show from their family farm in New York state in April for AMC channel, which is home to The Walking Dead.

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