Leading up to the proposal Ashley not only had to endure her sister's disapproval of the man she loved, but also break another guy's heart. The Bachelorette host Chris Harrison defends Ben's angry reaction to the rejection and wonders — just as viewers did — how someone could not like J.P.
How could Ashley let Ben propose?
Harrison: Even if he knew at the back of his mind [Ashley would say no], he wanted to go through with it [and] even if she had said, "Don't get down on one knee," that's not going to make it better. He was still about to propose and still had a ring in his pocket. I don't think it would've softened the blow any at all.
Were you surprised at how angry he was when she said no?
Harrison: I expect them all to get angry. Wouldn't you? That was the most refreshing reaction we've ever had because that is how a real human being would act if he got dumped. I don't know how you pat someone on the back and say, "OK, thanks," when you were in love with her and just down on one knee. He didn't call her names, it wasn't vindictive, it was very heartfelt.
Did you ever doubt J.P. would be the last guy standing at the end?
Harrison: I don't think Ben was ever out of the running. I think it was J.P. all along, he was the front-runner, but at the same time if there was anyone else with a chance it was Ben. She genuinely loved the guy, but what she and J.P. have is different.
J.P. certainly didn't have it easy when he met Ashley's family.
Harrison: Not to rip on Ashley's sister, I don't know if it was a way to grab attention, but it was very strange. You can't have that negative of a reaction to J.P., it's like hating a puppy. How do you hate a puppy? Maybe it was jealousy of Ashley's life, I don't know. There's much more underlying issues that goes beyond just not liking J.P. but she did have a mea culpa at the "After the Final Rose."
What's your best piece of advice for the couple?
Harrison: Go live your life. I like that she's going back to finish up dental school, move to New York and set up shop. Those that get caught up in the Hollywood limelight and spotlight, it catches up to them. Take advantage of all the great things to come, but don't let it change what you are.
Watch our interviews with Ashley and J.P.: