*Apparently news of Christopher Meloni’s abrupt exit from “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” was just as shocking to his co-stars as it was to fans.

Cast member Ice-T says he was surprised at how Meloni’s contract negotiations turned out.

“I’m sad,” the “Ice Loves Coco” reality star told “E! News” two days after reports surfaced that 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.”

The one-time rapper, who stars as Det. Fin Tutuola on “SVU,” 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.