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Former Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison finally broke his silence on the aftermath of losing his iconic 19-year-long hosting role during today’s debut episode of his new podcast, The Most Dramatic Podcast...Ever.
“I was heartbroken. I was gutted,” he said, via Entertainment Tonight. “I was embarrassed. I was mad at myself. I was disappointed in myself. The last thing in the world I ever wanted to do was be an agent of anything negative—whether it had to do with race or anything.”
ICYMI, Chris made several insensitive remarks during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. During the interview, Chris defended Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell for attending an Antebellum South–themed party, saying, in part, “These girls got dressed and went to a party and had a great time."”
Fans were pretty outraged by Chris’s comments, so much so that some made a petition to remove him from the role. Once he stepped away on his own terms though, his overall health took a toll, he said.
“I lost 20 pounds. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat,” said Chris. “It was just one gut-punch after the other, and mentally and physically, I deteriorated pretty bad.”
A big bulk of Chris’s shock came from the continued backlash even after he apologized. “My apology was warranted. I had no problem putting out that first apology,” he said. “But there was just so much noise at the time, it just didn’t matter. Apologies didn’t matter. Even after that apology, we were still at ground zero. It was confusing and it was scary.”
During the peak of his “ordeal,” Chris said he and his fiancée Lauren Zima couldn’t escape the paps. “There were people parked outside of my house for weeks, following me everywhere we went,” he said. “I would sneak down the hill of my house through my neighbor’s backyard and my buddy would pick me up.” Ultimately, Chris said he decided to leave the series because he had reached his “breaking point” and needed to “step away and get my life back.”
In a now-deleted Instagram post, Chris announced his departure from ABC and The Bachelor franchise. At the time, he wrote in the caption:
“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter. 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.”
Earlier that same day, Deadline first reported that Chris was leaving the franchise and was paid a big ol’ severance package to do so: “Harrison will receive a rose of his own in the form of mid-range eight-figure payoff and promise to keep his mouth shut,” read the report.
In all, Chris said he “will forever be grateful” to the longtime series and that he has “no animosity” toward it or the people who make it happen. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, no, he doesn’t watch the show anymore at all. Welp!
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