Bittersweet goodbye. Bachelor Nation’s Colton Underwood, Sean Lowe and JoJo Fletcher are just a few of The Bachelor alums sounding off on Chris Harrison’s exit from the franchise.
Us Weekly confirmed Harrison’s permanent departure as the longtime Bachelor Nation host on Tuesday, June 8, hours after Katie Thurston’s season 17 Bachelorette premiere on Monday, June 7.
“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” ABC Entertainment told Us in a statement at the time. “We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”
Us confirmed the details of Deadline’s story, which stated that Harrison reached an eight-figure settlement with ABC on Monday, following his temporary leave of absence after his controversial comments about season 25 Bachelor contestant (and winner) Rachael Kirkconnell made headlines earlier this year.
The TV host, 49, later confirmed his departure on Tuesday, sharing a statement of his own via social media.
“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. “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.”
The news comes after the Texas native made waves when he asked for “compassion” for Kirkconnell, 24, in February after her racially insensitive social media activity resurfaced. Both Harrison and the graphic designer apologized for their remarks twice and the Perfect Letter author took a hiatus as the franchise host for Matt James’ After the Final Rose special, which aired in March.
It was later announced that former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe would take over as the cohosts of The Bachelorette for season 17, while celebrities would rotate in as the hosts for season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise.
Despite his absence from the ABC dating series, Harrison revealed in March that he intended to return to his role somewhere down the line.
“I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change. I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others,” he said during an appearance on Good Morning America. “And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress. This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change.”
Us exclusively revealed earlier this month that Harrison would most likely not return to host Michelle Young’s season 18 of The Bachelorette.
James, 29, and Kirkconnell, meanwhile, rekindled their romance in May after splitting for a brief period of time amid the controversy.
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Scroll down to see which stars from Bachelor Nation wished Harrison well after his departure: