The star co-hosted 'The Bachelorette' after Chris Harrison's franchise exit.
Kaitlyn Bristowe is opening up about her current relationship with Chris Harrison. On the latest episode of Dear Media's Not Skinny But Not Fat podcast, the former Bachelorette claims the franchise's longtime host ghosted her after she took over his job.
Harrison served as the host of The Bachelor franchise since its inception in 2002. Then, in 2021, Harrison sat down with Rachel Lindsay for an interview, during which he stirred up a racism controversy by defending eventual Bachelor winner Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions, encouraging people to offer her "grace," and speaking out against the "woke police."
Kirkconnell has since apologized for her past actions. As for Harrison, after the backlash, he apologized for "wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism." Then, in an interview with Good Morning America, Harrison categorized his comments as "a mistake."
"When all of that went down with him and Rachel, first of all, Rachel is a dear friend of mine. I didn't agree with how Chris was talking to her in that interview. But Chris was also a dear friend of mine," Bristowe explained on the podcast. "... When this all went down, I reached out to Rachel and I reached out to Chris. I said [to Chris], 'What you did was wrong. 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?' Then he called and we talked. He just said, 'I don't want anyone to get involved. It's hard. I understand you have to say what you have to say.' I was like, 'I don't agree with what you said, but you know that. Moving on.'"
"They offered me the position to come in and what they said, what the Bachelor franchise said, was to mentor Katie," Bristowe said of Bachelorette Katie Thurston. "I wouldn't be replacing Chris. So then all these articles started coming out saying, 'Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams replacing Chris Harrison.'"
When those articles began to surface, Bristowe said she messaged Harrison "probably 10 times without him responding," which, she said, "is so not like him to me."
"I just wanted him to know that he's irreplaceable and I didn't want to step on toes. I was like, 'You're irreplaceable. I don't know what my role is. They said it was mentor, but now I'm seeing articles about how I'm replacing you and that makes me feel icky,'" she recalled. "And then he didn't write back. And then I was like, 'Now I'm panicking. Why didn't you write me back?' And then he didn't write me back. And then I was like, 'I'm on my period. Am I being emotional? Do you hate me?' And then he didn't write back. I was like, 'Can you call me?' And then he didn't write back. And then I was like, 'OK, he hates me. We were best friends and now he hates me.'"
"I walked up to him and I was like, 'I miss you.' And he's like, 'Well, I've always been here.' And I'm like, 'No you haven't! You haven't responded to me in forever!'" Bristowe said. "That was tough."
Looking back on it, Bristowe, who has since been replaced as franchise host by Jesse Palmer, said she doesn't "think it was actually about me."
"I think he was going through so much in his life. He lost 20 pounds. He was depressed. I balled my eyes out about it because that friendship just felt like it went down the toilet," she said, before reflecting on how the controversy must've felt to Harrison.
"I think he was probably really crushed. He wanted to go out on top and then that's how people are going to remember him and that's really tough," she said. "I think it was all him going through his own stuff. I don't think it was my fault."
Bristowe first told the story of her and Harrison's downfall in an August episode of her Off the Vine podcast.
"Chris doesn't really get close to a lot of people in the Bachelor franchise, but there are a handful of people that he's really close with and I was one of them," she said on that podcast episode. "... I told Jason when he asked me to marry him, I was like, 'You have to ask my dad, my stepdad and Chris Harrison.' So this was a really sad thing for me. I was like, 'We're just not there anymore.' I felt really guilty."
In the same episode, Bristowe acknowledged that she and Harrison "probably won't" ever regain their relationship.
"That makes me sad," she said, before noting that the wedding interaction "kind of gave me closure from it."