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Outlander star Caitríona Balfe reveals why she and co-star Sam Heughan spend less time together off-camera

Season seven of the drama arrives on June 16

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in Outlander season seven
Nicky Morris
Nicky MorrisTV and film writer
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Outlander stars Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heugan have made no secret of their heartwarming off-screen friendship over the years. 

The pair have played on-screen husband and wife Claire and Jamie Fraser on the show since it first premiered back in 2014 and while they've maintained a strong relationship since series one, Caitríona has admitted that they don't hang out off-camera as often as they used to. 

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in Outlander© Starz!/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Sam and Caitriona star as Jamie and Claire Fraser

While speaking at the 2023 Austin Television Festival over the weekend, the actress confessed that their lives have become "much more complicated and busy" and so they haven't been able to see each other as much as they'd like to. 

MORE: Outlander: everything to know about Jamie's secret son who appears in season 7

Describing their firm friendship, the Irish star revealed that while she and Sam have "definitely irked each other," they've never fallen out, which Caitríona said was a "very conscious decision" they made when they first signed onto the drama, according to Showbiz Junkies

caitriona balfe sam heughan© Photo: Getty Images
The actors are friends off-screen

"He and I went for a walk in Hyde Park," she continued. "We were just talking and we were like, 'Look, don't know what this is going to be but we're going to be the only two who know what it's going to be like in this. So, we have to have each other's backs. And we did."

SEE: Outlander's Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe beam in sweet new behind the scenes photo – see here

The 43-year-old went on to explain how their lives have differed in recent years: "We made that decision and it's always been that way. As the years have gone on, our lives have become very different. Your lives become much more complicated." 

caitriona balfe sam heughan© Photo: Getty Images
The co-stars made a decision to "have each other's backs" early on

She added that when they first began working on the show, she and Sam "were very similar in our personalities". "We like to be very prepared and focused but then we like to have a lot of fun. We like to not take ourselves too seriously even though we take the work seriously," she said. 

"But as our lives have gotten more complicated and busy, we may not see each other as much as we used to, but that core and that friendship and that base that we have has never changed."

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in season seven
Sam and Caitriona have spent less time together off-screen due to their increasingly busy lives

Both actors have been very open about their off-screen friendship over the years and often praise one another in interviews. Caitríona told Elle: "Sam's just so kind. He's a really good friend. He always checks in. I don't know, he has one of the biggest hearts and smallest egos that I know.

MORE: Who is Outlander star Caitríona Balfe's husband Tony McGill?

"I feel very lucky. Sam and I have an amazing bond, we're really great friends."

WATCH: Inside Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe’s real-life friendship

Meanwhile, Sam previously told PopSugar: "Caitríona and I get on very well, and I'm very lucky. She's extremely talented and an extremely nice person, and we have a lot of fun."

As for their on-screen relationship, fans can expect to see "a maturity" in the couple in the upcoming seventh season

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe embrace and stare at each other as their characters in Outlander Season Seven© Starz
Season seven premieres on June 16

"There's a lot of things that happen, a lot of bad things that happen, some great things that happen," Caitríona teased at the festival. "But through it all, they are really strong. Jamie as a character is incredibly wisened this season.

"There's a maturity to both of them this season and their passion never goes away but it does evolve," reports Nerds and Beyond.

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