No rose left to give! Kaitlyn Bristowe opened up about her friendship with Chris Harrison — and why it stalled after she was offered the hosting gig for season 17 of The Bachelorette.
“They offered me the position to come in and what the Bachelor franchise said was to mentor Katie [Thurston],” Bristowe, 37, said during the Tuesday, January 31, episode of the “Not Skinny But Not Fat” podcast. “[They said] I wouldn’t be replacing Chris. Then all these articles started coming out, saying, ‘Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe replacing Chris Harrison.’ And so I messaged Chris probably about 10 times without him responding. I just want him to know that I thought he was irreplaceable and I didn’t want to step on toes.”
The Canada native explained that she “didn’t know” what her “role” would be, but rumors swirling of her replacing Harrison, 51, made her “feel icky” about the situation. After running into him at Wells Adams and Sarah Hyland’s nuptials in August 2022, the Dancing With the Stars alum realized that things weren’t going to be the same.
“Then I was like ‘OK, he hates me.’ And we were best friends and now he hates me,” she shared. “And then I saw him at Wells and Sarah’s wedding and I walked him to him and I was like, ‘I miss you,’ and he was like, ‘Well I’ve always been here.’ … So yeah, that was tough.”
Harrison, who hosted the dating franchise for 19 years, exited in 2021 amid racism allegations. After the Texas native defended photo’s from Rachael Kirkconnell’s plantation-themed party, he was asked to step down from his role.
“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” Harrison wrote via Instagram at the time. “I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”
Bristowe, for her part, reached out to Harrison to offer her support — while still staying true to herself.
“When this all went down, I reached out to Rachael and I reached out to Chris and I said, ‘What you did was wrong and you know that. I understand there’s so much more to it but what do you want me to do to support you while also standing up for what I believe in,’” she explained. “Then he called and we talked and he said he didn’t want anyone to really get involved. [He said,] ‘It’s hard and I understand that you have to like, say what you need to say.’”
However, when Bristowe and Tayshia, 32, took over the hosting gig for seasons 17 and 18 of The Bachelorette and became frontrunners to take over the role permanently, her friendship with Harrison hit a snag. (The “Off the Vine” podcast host ultimately didn’t land the gig and said the network wanted a more “consistent” host, choosing Jesse Palmer instead.)
While Bristowe revealed that she “balled” her “eyes out” after the duo’s bond “just felt like it went down the toilet,” she added that she’s tried not to take the snub personally.
“I don’t think it was actually about me if I can remove my ego. I think he was going through so much in his life. He lost 20 lbs he was depressed,” she explained, noting that Harrison was “probably really crushed” about having to exit the series in such an abrupt way after wanting to “go out on top.”