Kaitlyn Bristowe has claimed her friendship with Chris Harrison "went down the toilet" after she accepted a temporary position to host The Bachelorette and she thought he hated her.

"I balled my eyes out about it, because that friendship just felt like it went down the toilet and it was never the same," Kaitlyn, 37, revealed during Tuesday's episode of the "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast.


While Matt James' The Bachelor season was airing in early 2021, Chris sparked major backlash when he conducted an Extra interview with the first Black The Bachelorette star, Rachel Lindsay, and defended Season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's racially-ignorant and racially-insensitive actions in her recent past.

Kaitlyn said she "reached out" to both Rachel, her "good friend," and Chris, "who was also a dear friend" at the time, to offer her support, even though she "didn't agree" with how Chris had spoken to Rachel during that interview.

"To me, I always said, 'When [Jason Tartick] proposes, he has to ask my dad, my stepdad, and Chris Harrison,'" Kaitlyn shared.

"So when this all went down... I reached out to Chris and I said, '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?'"

Kaitlyn said Chris called her and they talked.

"He just said, like, 'I don't really want anyone to get involved. It's hard and I understand that you have to, like, say what you need to say.' And I was like, 'Well, I don't agree with what you said,' but we're moving on," Kaitlyn noted.

The racism controversy resulted in Chris announcing that he was leaving The Bachelor franchise for good in June 2021.

Kaitlyn, who had starred on The Bachelorette's eleventh season, and Tayshia Adams, who had starred on The Bachelorette's sixteenth season, stepped in as co-hosts of Katie Thurston and Michelle Young's back-to-back The Bachelorette seasons in 2021.

(And Wells Adams -- joined by a group of celebrity guest hosts, including singers and comedians -- helmed Bachelor in Paradise's seventh season that summer.)

"They offered me the position to come in, and what The Bachelor franchise said was to mentor Katie," Kaitlyn recalled of the new job opportunity.

"[They said] I wouldn't be replacing Chris. So then all of these articles started coming out, saying, 'Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams Replacing Chris Harrison.' And so I messaged Chris probably 10 times without him responding. And that is so not like him, to me."

Kaitlyn continued, "And I know it's not about me; I just wanted him to know that I thought he was irreplaceable and that I didn't want to step on his toes." 


Kaitlyn therefore said she actually told Chris -- presumably via text or voicemail -- that he's "irreplaceable" and she didn't know what her "role" was going to be on the franchise, which Chris had hosted for nearly two decades.

"[I told him], 'The articles about me replacing you, [they] make me feel icky.' And then he didn't write back. And then I was panicking, like, 'Why didn't you write me back?' And then he didn't write me back," Kaitlyn said.

"And I was like, 'I'm on my period, am I being emotional or do you hate me?!' And then he didn't write back. And then I was like, 'Can you call me?' And he didn't write back. And then I was like, 'Okay, he hates me. We were best friends and now he hates me.'"

Kaitlyn then apparently saw Chris at Wells and Sarah Hyland's wedding in August 2022.

"I walked up to him and I was like, 'I miss you,' and he was like, 'Well I've always been here.' And I was like, 'No you haven't! You haven't responded to me in, like, forever!' So yeah, that was tough," Kaitlyn shared.

But Kaitlyn said she doesn't think Chris was angry at her for hosting The Bachelorette or for not publicly supporting him during his crisis. In fact, Kaitlyn said she tried not to take Chris' snub personally.

"I don't think it was about me, if I could remove my ego... I think he was going through so much in his life. He lost 20 pounds, he was depressed," Kaitlyn reasoned.

Kaitlyn also pointed out how Chris had been hoping to retire around the age of 42 or 43.

"It was around this time, and that's his legacy now. So I think he was probably really crushed that, like, he wanted to go out on top -- and then [the scandal] is how people are going to remember him," Kaitlyn explained.

"That's really tough. So I think it was just him going through his own stuff, and I don't think it was my fault."


Kaitlyn concluded that while Chris answers her and they occasionally talk now, things will never be the same.

On the January 8 episode of "The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever with Chris Harrison," Chris revealed, "I know people coveted my job."

"I know people wanted my job, they'd be crazy not to! It was a great gig," Chris said, adding that with each passing year, he would "laugh" about how the show had just created another two or three dozen contestants who would love to take his place and host The Bachelor franchise.

"You don't run into this on Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol or The Amazing Race. Our show is very particular about creating influencers and creating people who want to go on to do TV. So many of them end up moving to L.A. and have those aspirations."

Chris therefore said "there was that element" during the controversy and "people who used the situation for their benefit, for their podcast, for their book tour, or for a media took, or it helped them with their 15 minutes of fame."

"The people who did that, I'm not mad at -- and I'm definitely not shocked by their behavior. It's the people you would expect. I would always say, 'Hope for the best from people, just don't expect it.' Because by nature, we're selfish," Chris explained.

"If I had been in the same situation, would I have had my agent call? I knew about it. I knew about certain cast members that were calling in. It was hilarious. And the funny thing is, the people that were calling in I knew had no chance to get the job."

Chris elaborated, "But there was blood in the water, and in Hollywood, it's a tough gig. It's a tough business. So I don't begrudge those people for doing that."

Kaitlyn called out Season 21 The Bachelor star Nick Viall during the "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast for being the person who allegedly went after Chris' job in early 2021.

"I wasn't Nick where I was smelling blood in the water," Kaitlyn said. "They came to me... I never reached out to [producers]."


During Chris' February 2021 Extra interview with Rachel, Chris had adopted a dismissive attitude towards photos of Rachael that resurfaced during Matt's The Bachelor season and were circulating online from an antebellum-plantation themed "Old South" fraternity party at Georgia College & State University in 2018.

Chris had called for "grace" and "compassion" for Rachael and also criticized the "woke police" and the "unbelievably alarming" response of anger and frustration to the young woman's actions.

Chris' strong defense of Rachael, who tearfully apologized for the racially-offensive photos, enraged many Bachelor Nation fans.

Chris therefore announced in February 2021 he'd be "stepping aside" from his hosting duties with The Bachelor franchise "for a period of time" to educate himself on racism in society in a "profound" and "productive" manner.

Chris issued a total of three public apologies for his offense, two on Instagram and then one verbal apology during a March 2021 appearance on Good Morning America.

On GMA at the time, Chris had said he hoped to come back to The Bachelor franchise, explaining, "This is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it. I plan to be back and I want to be back."

Rachel even accepted Chris' apology in March 2021, but other people weren't so lenient.

Katie, for instance, refused to star on Season 17 of The Bachelorette in March 2021 if Chris was going to participate, and several sources told E! News in April of that year that "many" The Bachelor and The Bachelorette alums from seasons past were "apprehensive" about signing up for Bachelor in Paradise 7 or even declined their invitations in the wake of Chris' racism controversy.

One insider told the website at the time, "A lot of people are removing themselves from the franchise."

The Bachelorette Season 16 bachelor, Ivan Hall, for example, told E!'s Daily Pop, "If they have future shows and if they were to ask me to be on Bachelor in Paradise or something like that -- and I'm sure a lot of other contestants feel this way as well -- I wouldn't feel comfortable if Chris is there, to be quite frank."

Ivan added, "[I'm] not saying he can't make a recovery, can't learn from all of this, but, you know... it would just be too soon, really."

ABC and Chris publicly announced in June 2021 that Chris' voluntary leave of absence from The Bachelor franchise would become a permanent one and he would not be returning as host for any future seasons.

Chris wrote in a June 8, 2021 statement on Instagram how he was "excited to start a new chapter" and "so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories."

After Kaitlyn and Tayshia hosted The Bachelorette for two seasons, ABC hired Jesse Palmer, a sports analyst who starred on The Bachelor's fifth season, to replace Chris in early 2022, starting with Clayton Echard's season of The Bachelor.

"I think they just wanted a more consistent role [for the three spinoffs]," Kaitlyn said on the "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast, "and I don't think they wanted me to."

Chris publicly announced in January he had been hoping Wells would get his job, but Jesse has hosted every season of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise since he joined the show as its new host.

Multiple sources told E! News in 2021 that Chris was "saddened" and "frustrated" about his The Bachelor departure, adding that the show was his "whole life" and he really wanted to come back.

Deadline reported in June 2021 that Chris, who began hosting The Bachelor franchise back in Season 1, which premiered in 2002, reached a mid-range eight-figure settlement with ABC to exit The Bachelor franchise for good.

But Variety subsequently reported Chris only received $9 million as his supposed payout.


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.