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Nashville’s Charles Esten Dishes on the Final Season and His Friendship with Connie Britton

Keeping it country! Nashville star Charles Esten is gearing up for the final season of the CMT series, and fans can expect an emotional ride.

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“First of all, there’s so much left to come. We’ve shot about half of it at this point,” Esten told Us Weekly exclusively on Wednesday, January 3. “But there is a moment I can’t say too much about that … all I’ll say about it is that it’s utterly unexpected. You’re going one direction emotionally, with Deacon, and then all of a sudden you’re completely caught off guard. When I first read it, I was like, oh that’s 180 degree turn, and it’s going to be very difficult to do that.”

Charles Esten arrives at the 52nd Academy Of Country Music Awards on April 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Allen Berezovsky/WireImage for Fashion Media

The 52-year-old actor also teased that the aforementioned moment may include Deacon’s love interest, Jessie Caine (Kaitlin Doubleday). Keeping it coy, he told Us: “It might, that might be a good guess. That’s pretty good, she’s good.”

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He continued, “Kaitlin Doubleday is fantastic, and just wonderful. It’s very interesting because that character helped Deacon through the end of last season, in a way that he needed. They were friends for each other, they were there for each other, ’cause they’re both in a bad spot. It was clear that neither one of them was looking for that other person, which I think opened them up more to be there for each other.”

Esten also told Us that he still keeps in touch with his former love interest on the series, played by Connie Britton. The Friday Night Lights alum starred as country singer Rayna James until her character — spoiler alert — died during season 5.

Connie Britton and Charles Esten (ABC’s Nashville) performs during “Nashville for Africa” a Benefit for the African Childrens Choir at the Ryman Auditorium on February 15, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. Rick Diamond/Getty Images

“Yeah, we text a bunch,” Esten told Us. “We became just such great friends and I love her son so much, and just loved everybody on that show. Just loved hanging out with her, she’s just not only, obviously, one of the best actresses there is, there’s real truthfulness to everything she does. And that, I’m happy to say, got into our relationship, Deacon and Rayna, she brings that out in you. So whatever chemistry there was, I enjoyed every second of it. Plus, she’s just flat out funny. Always a good time.”

For more from Esten, check out Us Weekly’s Facebook live with the actor.

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Nashville‘s final season premieres on CMT Thursday, January 4, at 9 p.m. ET.

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