Showing support! Kaitlyn Bristowe rallied behind Hannah Brown after the latest Bachelorette lead was announced as part of Dancing With the Stars season 28 cast — despite Bristowe’s own alleged ban from competing on the show.
“I couldn’t be more excited for Hannah Brown to compete this season on Dancing With the Stars,” Bristowe, 34, said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday, August 21. “I’ve spoken out in the past about how Bachelorettes haven’t gotten the same love as Bachelors when it comes to the chance to complete in the ballroom. The fact that it’s finally happening again for a emale franchise lead is long overdue.”
Bristowe noted that she “will be watching, glass of wine in hand, and cheering” for the 24-year-old former pageant queen.
In February 2017, the “Off the Vine” podcast host accused Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss of blocking her chance to appear on the dancing series. At the time, she tweeted: “I was offered it, had the contract & Mike Fliess told me I wasn’t allowed. He said he didn’t want people wanting fame after his show.”
After slamming Fleiss, he tweeted the next day: “@kaitlynbristowe has my total support if she wants to appear on DWTS!!! #TheBachelor.”
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight thereafter, Bristowe defended her choice to call out the showrunner on social media.
“I believe men and women should be afforded the same opportunities,” she said at the time. “That has not been the case with the Bachelorettes and the Bachelors. I had an offer to do Dancing With the Stars and was told by Mike I could not. I was told by Mike that it is bad for his brand, and that he is sick of people wanting fame from his show.”
Unlike many of the show’s contestants, Bristowe has a background in dance. The reality TV star, who appeared in the Christmas-themed Broadway concert show Home for the Holidays in 2017, reiterated to ET that she is “a dancer and wanted to do it.”
Bristowe also claimed that her then-fiancé, Shawn Booth, “wrote Mike emails” and she told Fleiss that this “was my passion.” However, Fleiss allegedly said that “Shawn should be my only passion.”
Brown, meanwhile, has her priorities set on dance only after being cast on the show. The Alabama native, who ended her turn as Bachelorette as a single lady, exclusively told Us Weekly that she is “not talking about relationships” and only “talking about my dance skills.”
“I don’t think I can … nope, not there right now,” Brown continued on Wednesday. “I have blocked [romance] out right now.”
Brown is the first Bachelorette to appear on Dancing With the Stars in nearly 15 years. After the final rose, Trista Sutter became the first Bachelorette to join the competition show in its premiere season. Melissa Rycroft, who wasn’t a franchise lead, appeared on the dancing series in 2009 and again 2015, when she won.
Season 28 of Dancing With the Stars premieres on ABC Monday, September 16, at 8 p.m. ET.