The Walking Dead star tells The Red Bulletin – which has shared these photos exclusively with PEOPLE – that his success is all thanks to a Hollywood Hills party.
Reedus recalls that he was drunk and "mouthing off" when someone asked him to be in a play. After an agent spotted him the show's first night, the rest is history.
Before picking up Daryl Dixon's crossbow, however, Reedus wasn't exactly living the glamorous life.
"I've never been spoiled before," says the actor, 46. "It wasn't in my game plan to ever think like that. And it still isn't. I still put potato chips and bread in the refrigerator because I'm used to my apartment having bugs in it. I'm still that guy."
"This is the first job where I'm making money and I know I'm going back," he tells the site. "I've always lived hand to [mouth] and job to job. It's nice to have a 9-to-5 instead of trying to find a job to pay the rent this month and doing an art show to pay the rent the next. I'm still that guy. But I made it."
Despite his more grounded lifestyle of late, the fan favorite says he's still not used to the show's popularity: "It's weird that the show is successful," he says. "I really like that idea of flying and making art. I'd still probably be doing that, to be honest. I really liked that time."
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The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Oct. 11.