Before Chris Harrison departed “The Bachelor” for good, the longtime host was put on hiatus from the franchise amid controversy. During the time, while Harrison’s status was in limbo, former “Bachelorette” stars Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams were hired to step in as temporary co-hosts for two seasons.
Now, Bristowe — one of the most popular stars to come from “The Bachelor” franchise, who also won Season 29 of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2020 — says Harrison stopped communicating with her when she landed the gig, after a years-long close friendship.
“I messaged Chris probably 10 times without him responding, and that is so not like him to me,” Bristowe said. “I just wanted him to know that I thought he was irreplaceable, and I didn’t want to step on toes.”
Speaking on the latest episode of Dear Media’s podcast “Not Skinny But Not Fat,” hosted by Amanda Hirsch, Bristowe explained that when she was offered the position, she was told she would be coming in as a mentor to “The Bachelorette” star of that season, Katie Thurston, but knew she wouldn’t be replacing Harrison. (Bristowe and Adams co-hosted Season 17 with Thurston and Season 18 with Michelle Young.) When she started to see articles that said she was replacing Harrison, Bristowe felt “icky,” so she wrote to Harrison to let him know that she thought he was “irreplaceable.”
“He didn’t write back and then I was like, ‘Okay, well now, I’m panicking. Why didn’t you write me back?'” Bristowe said on the podcast. She continued, “I was like, ‘Can you call me?’ And then he didn’t write back. And then, I was like, ‘Okay, he hates me. We were best friends and now he hates me.'”
Bristowe said she bumped into Harrison at the wedding of “Bachelor” fan-favorite Wells Adams and “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland and told Harrison that she missed him. According to Bristowe, Harrison responded, “Well, I’ve always been here,” to which she replied, “No you haven’t! You haven’t responded to me in forever!'” She added, “So that was tough.”
“I bawled my eyes out about it,” Bristowe said. “That friendship just felt like it went down the toilet.”
Bristowe’s comments come after Harrison debuted his own podcast, iHeartRadio’s “The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever…With Chris Harrison.” On his podcast, he broke his silence on his departure from the franchise, and said he felt like some “Bachelor” alums were trying to take his job while he was down, saying many “saw the blood in the water and saw the opportunity of a job that would be really phenomenal.”
Bristowe said she’s reached out to Harrison to congratulate him on his new podcast and he has replied to her, but she says their relationship is not the same.
Variety reached out to a representative for Harrison, who did not immediately respond for comment. But a few days after Bristowe’s comments, she ended up joining Harrison on his podcast to clear the air.
“I hate headlines so much because they never tell the full story,” Bristowe said on Feb. 5, in conversation with Harrison on his podcast. “But what I was saying in it was not that you ghosted me.”
Recalling the time when she stepped in as a guest co-host on “Bachelorette” during Harrison’s hiatus, Bristowe reflected, “Obviously, I was not thinking about what you could be going through, so I’m only thinking about myself going, ‘He’s not texting me back, he must hate me, he’s not saying anything to me, obviously I did something wrong.’ I just went into a little self pity party and decided to put the blame on you for a minute. But what I was saying in that interview was it wasn’t about me. You were going through so much at that time…You’re not like me: You react with logic; I react with emotion. So I was like, ‘Hello,’ bombarding you with text messages. You weren’t responding to me, and I just needed to realize it wasn’t about me at that time. That’s what I was trying to say.”
Harrison responded, “That’s why I wanted to have you on because going back-and-forth based on clickbait headlines. I, for one, know when you’re on a podcast and you say a lot and you say things off the cuff, but when it’s put in print, it looks so different and it sounds so different.”
Bristowe also asked Harrison if he misses his job on “The Bachelor.” He said he misses being on television and misses the crew, but does not miss the franchise.
“I miss hosting television,” he said. “I miss people on the show…But the overall show, no. No, I don’t honestly. That ship has sailed. And it was wonderful. I don’t say that with any bitterness. There’s a time and a space from all relationships…It was a wonderful relationship that changed my life, and I will forever be grateful for that, but there’s a time to move on. And it’s time.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include Kaitlyn Bristowe’s Feb. 5 appearance on Chris Harrison’s podcast.