The most controversial, indeed. Longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday, March 6, the morning after the country witnessed one of the most jarring moments in franchise history. In the season 22 finale, lead Arie Luyendyk Jr. broke off his engagement with Becca Kufrin on national television in pursuit of his runner-up Lauren Burnham.
“That was wild,” Harrison said on GMA of the uncomfortable, unedited footage. “Sixteen years of this and that was breathtaking. It was a lot even for me. It’s a lot to take in.”
Even Harrison—who’s witnessed basically everything while hosting all aspects of the franchise including The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Pad and recently, the Winter Games—had to unpack Luyendyk’s sudden swap about 6 to 8 weeks after the engagement.
“That’s when he came to me,” Harrison explained. “And [he] said, ‘I can’t fake this for another weekend. I know I really care about Lauren and I want to give this a shot.’ That’s when he made the choice.”
In the interim, Luyendyk told The Knot and other reporters that the ending of his season was, in fact, the toughest portion of his journey. “I mean, it’s the hardest decision of your life, really. It’s a forever decision,” he told us in December. “So, it’s not taken lightly, and I think that was probably the hardest thing.”
At the time, he also shared the attributes he seeks in a wife. “Man, for me, I just really wanted someone, first and foremost, who is ready for marriage,” Luyendyk said. “[Someone] who had somewhat of a past and they knew what they wanted in a partner as much as I knew what I wanted in a partner. [I wanted] to be a team with someone. That’s a big thing with me and to have someone who has her own independence, who doesn’t just depend on me, but who I can also root for in their career, in their life, just as much as they root for me.”
Kufrin opened up to People on Monday about the heart wrenching and “embarrassing” split that was documented for national broadcast. Many former Bachelors, Bachelorettes, and finalists on the show, in addition to fans of the franchise, have also spoken out in support of Kufrin—as opposed to the producers and crew, who filmed the moment.
“I expect to catch some heat for this,” Harrison said on GMA Tuesday. “In my opinion you don’t just get to tell the fairy tales. That’s not real life, that’s not how this works. That’s not how my life worked… But then there’s stuff like this, this real life that happens. I think it’s something we can all relate to and I think that’s probably what’s going to stir everybody up. It draws something inside of all of us that we can all… We’ve all been there.”