‘Bachelorette’ co-hosts Tayshia Adams, Kaitlyn Bristowe on ‘father figure’ Chris Harrison’s exitJune 14, 2021
Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, the two former “Bachelorette” stars who took over co-hosting the reality dating show this season as Chris Harrison announced his exit last week, have nothing but kind words to say about the longtime host.
“Personally, he became a friend and father figure – I know he probably doesn’t like that because it makes him feel old,” Bristowe, 35, joked to USA TODAY on Thursday.
Adams added: “Chris and I actually do have a friendship and a relationship. So I think that I just really separate” that relationship from the controversy, “and I really just look back on the fond memories that I have with him.”
From left to right, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Katie Thurston and Tayshia Adams laugh together during a "Bachelorette" group date. (Photo: Craig Sjodin, ABC)
Following Matt James’ historical season last spring – he became the franchise’s first Black male lead – Harrison came under fire for defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who apologized for “offensive and racist” actions after photos surfaced of her attending a 2018 plantation-themed party.
The season sparked discussions about racism in the franchise and forced Harrison, 49, to “step aside.” He was replaced by Adams and Bristowe for Katie Thurston’s season of “The Bachelorette,” but expressed plans to return to the franchise.
The TV host announced last Tuesday that his exit was permanent, after hosting the franchise since the 2002 premiere of “The Bachelor.” Adams and Bristowe said they found out along with the rest of the world.
“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” Harrison wrote in an Instagram post. “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.”
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Bristowe and Adams both “liked” Harrison’s announcement on Instagram last week and Bristowe called him “irreplaceable” in a comment on the post. But Adams said she planned to wait before reaching out to Harrison privately.
“It’s a heavy week for him, I’m sure, and there’s a lot going on. And to be honest with you, there’s a lot to process right now,” Adams said. “So (I’m) allowing him a little bit of space and time. I’m sure eventually we will speak.”
Tayshia Adams (right) joined Chris Harrison last season to reflect on her season of "The Bachelorette." (Photo: Craig Sjodin, ABC)
Bristowe said she “jumped at the opportunity” to help mentor Thurston, noting she would have “loved to have someone stand by my side” when she starred on “The Bachelorette” in 2015, when she became engaged to winner Shawn Booth before their split in 2018. Last month, she was engaged to fellow franchise alum Jason Tartick.
“I think we both felt empowered to help Katie, give her confidence and validate her feelings and (let her know) that she’s not alone in how she feels – we’ve been there before,” Bristowe said.
“We’ve both been in that position to where you kind of feel like you almost might give up,” added Adams, who starred on last fall’s season of “The Bachelorette” and is engaged to winner Zac Clark. She says it helped Thurston to have “two women being there, being like, ‘I promise you, keep being in this and keep being vulnerable. You will make it through, because at the end of the day, you’re looking for your partner, your person, and it’s hard to get there.’ “
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Thurston concurred, opening up to USA TODAY earlier this month about having the two former Bachelorettes guide her throughout the season.
“It was just great having Kaitlyn and Tayshia there, because I really don’t think I could have done it without them.”
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