Patching things up? Chris Harrison and Kaitlyn Bristowe sat down to break down their falling out — in front of podcast mics.
The 51-year-old former Bachelor host connected with the season 11 Bachelorette, 37, after Bristowe opened up about their strained relationship on the “Not Skinny But Not Fat” podcast late last month.
“What I took from this when I read the articles, listened to the podcast that she did, it wasn’t a cry for help, but I took it as a cry for something that she lost,” Harrison began on the Monday, February 6, episode of his “Most Dramatic Podcast Ever.”
He continued: “Something that she was sad that she lost and that was our friendship. And so instead of getting mad, or even disappointed, which I’m not, I was saddened that a friend of mine was mourning the loss of our friendship and that that friendship had changed. And yes, to a certain degree, it did change.”
Before the “Off the Vine” podcast host joined, Harrison noted that he and Bristowe had “texted several times over the last week” but were going to talk for the first time on the show. He recalled the Dancing With the Stars champ being on Entertainment Tonight amid the backlash of Harrison’s controversial defense of then-Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell (which led to ABC cutting ties with Harrison).
“I called you that morning and we talked a little bit, and you made the statements that you were going to make, and we talked about that and I supported you and said look, ‘I totally understand. Do what you got to do. That this doesn’t affect us.’ And then subsequently, you and Tayshia [Adams] were named [as mentors for season 17 of The Bachelorette],” Harrison said. “We hadn’t talked after that. … So you texted me after you got the mentorship.”
While Bristowe said on the “Not Skinny But Not Fat” podcast that she texted Harrison “10 times” with no response in March 2021, he claimed on Monday that “seven of [the messages] were just that day.”
“And I’m not going to read them to you, but it was one of those things where she missed a word and she’s like ‘Wait, I meant this, meant this.’ So it wasn’t like you were hammering me with text messages, [saying] ‘Call me, call me, call me.’ It was really this one strain of thoughts that came out on one day,” Harrison continued. “A week later [or] so you said, ‘Hey if you get a chance call me.’ And so there wasn’t ghosting. … And it had nothing — and I mean, nothing — to do with you and Tayshia hosting the show. It had to do with the fact that I was going through something extraordinary. … And I don’t mean this in a condescending way, it had nothing to do with you or Tayshia.”
Harrison added that “at that time” he “needed people” in his life that were “unconditionally loving and caring” and reaching out solely to check in on him, his kids and his fiancée, Lauren Zima.
“Perception is never the actual reality. And so to me, I was like, ‘I feel like I did reach out to you and I did feel like I did reach out to Lauren,’’ Bristowe replied. “And I feel like I cared so much, but I was also in such a weird position. And then I understand that you were also in a weird position. So when I didn’t get a text message back, I was like, ‘OK, it’s just this is what it has to be. The relationship obviously has to change.’ So then I feel like I wanted to continue to reach out and check in and talk, but then I felt like, ‘Well, he’s not ready to talk to me.’”
Bristowe said that in hindsight, she “totally get[s]” why Harrison wasn’t making it a priority to get back to her. In return, he noted that the dynamic between him and former leads may have played a factor too.
“I was the mentor — somewhat of a father figure — where I listened. And I asked questions, and I was all about you and your life, because that was my job and I care,” he said. “And I took a lot of pride in that and that’s how our relationship started. This time, I needed that flip of just the, ‘Hey, how are you? Are you OK?’ Not, ‘Are you OK with me taking the show and you’re irreplaceable.’ And I appreciated those words, but it was just at that time, I didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with all of that. … By the way, I really, truly just wasn’t worried at all about who was hosting and who was the next mentor or what the show was going to do.”
Bristowe and Adams — billed as special guests — hosted seasons 17 and 18 of The Bachelorette before ABC named Jesse Palmer the permanent replacement for Harrison, taking the lead of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.
Sign up for Us Weekly's free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
Scroll through for more from Harrison and Bristowe: