The fan favorite, as a former contestant on The Bachelor, former Bachelorette, and winner of Season 29 of Dancing With the Stars, seemed a natural choice for the co-hosting gig alongside fellow former contestant Tayshia Adams.
But it still, apparently, was hurtful to the franchise's longtime host Chris Harrison, who Bristowe says she once considered a close friend. "I always said when Jason proposes, he has to ask my dad, my step-dad and Chris Harrison," Bristowe said.
While appearing on the podcast Not Skinny But Not Fat, Bristowe said that after she was publicly announced as a temporary host for the ABC reality dating competition, Harrison stopped replying to her messages.
They'd been in touch over Harrison's remarks to former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay regarding a controversy surrounding contestant Rachel Kirkconnell attending a plantation-themed sorority party. Harrison's remarks defending Kirkconnell ultimately led to his exit from the franchise.
"He called and we talked and he said, 'I don't want anyone to get involved,'" Bristowe recounted. "Then they offered me the position to come in and what they said was it was to mentor 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. So I messaged Chris, probably 10 times without him responding."
Rick Rowell/Disney General Entertainment/Getty Chris Harrison, Kaitlyn Bristowe
Bristowe admitted she spiraled a bit, hoping to make sure Harrison knew she felt he was "irreplaceable." She explained, "I just wanted him to know I thought he was irreplaceable and didn't want to step on any toes. What I said was 'You're irreplaceable. I don't know what my role is. They said I was a mentor, but now I'm seeing articles about how I'm replacing you and that makes me feel icky.' And then he didn't write back."
From there, Bristowe said she panicked, writing Harrison to ask why he wasn't responding to her and whether he hated her. "I was like okay, he hates me. We were best friends and now he hates me," she added.
Bristowe finally spoke to Harrison again several months later when they both attended the wedding of Bachelor fixture Wells Adams and Modern Family's Sarah Hyland. She approached the former host to tell him that she missed him. Harrison responded, "Well, I've always been here," to which she replied, "No you haven't! You haven't responded to me in forever!'"
She added, "I bawled my eyes out about it. That friendship just felt like it went down the toilet."
Bristowe also had her own heartbreak over the Bachelor hosting gig. Though she and Adams co-hosted both Katie Thurston and Michelle Young's seasons, they were then replaced by former Bachelor Jesse Palmer, who is the current host. She revealed that she found out about the decision while on tour with Dancing With the Stars, when producers called her to inform her that she wasn't getting the gig permanently, and they were instead going with the "more consistent host" in Palmer.
Though she has her own podcast, wine label, and has released a single, Bristowe was disappointed not to be offered the job on a full-time basis. "I loved it," she said. "I felt like that's where I was supposed to be in life. I thought I was going to do it for a long time."
Representatives for Harrison did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.
Though he did recently address his exit for the first time on his new podcast The Most Dramatic Podcast... Ever, calling out "certain cast members" who were campaigning to take over his job and detailing the grueling physical and mental impact of the situation.
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