When news of Christopher Meloni's sudden exit from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit hit the Web this week, fans weren't the only ones scratching their heads.
Meloni's costar, Ice-T, was just as surprised at how Meloni's contract negotiations turned out. "I'm sad," the Ice Loves Coco reality star told E! News two days after TVLine.com reported Meloni, 50, would not be returning to the NBC hit for its 13th season this fall. "Me and Chris have been together a long time."
Ice-T, who stars on the long-running sex crimes drama as Det. Fin Tutuola, says he wasn't aware of his costar's negotiation holdups until the deal was done.
"We all negotiate separately," says Ice-T, 53, who has appeared on the series since 2000. "I'm not somebody who's dying to leave the show, but at the end of the day you still have to sit down with the execs and hammer it out. So I guess with Chris, it didn't go his way."
Unfortunately for SVU fans, Meloni's departure is not the only shakeup happening on the series. Earlier this month, sources told Deadline that Mariska Hargitay was signed on for the upcoming season, but only for the first 13 episodes. After that, her character — Detective Olivia Benson — would be promoted to a higher position and a new detective, possibly played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, would take her place.
Tell Us: Would you watch SVU without Chris and Mariska?
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!