The tears were flowing and claws were out on The Bachelor's Women Tell All episode.
Almost immediately into the two-hour special, Britt burst into tears watching the highlights (and for many, lowlights), of the season play back. But her sadness quickly turned to anger when she accused Carly for being the reason she was sent home prematurely. From there, it was game on for attacks against Britt and later widow Kelsey whose controversial statements had the other women — and viewers everywhere — questioning her motives. Add in a mad Jade and a heartbroken and confused Kaitlyn and you had the makings for a dramatic, but also one of the best ever, Women Tell All episodes. Read on for host Chris Harrison's take on what went down and his own reveal (he penned a romance novel!) came about.
Were you surprised by how quickly Britt became hysterical?
Chris Harrison: Usually, we ease into these shows and throw some softball questions and I figured I would go to Ashley or Carly maybe, but I looked out and saw Britt was already crying! So there was no easing into this, it was an abrupt car crash. I was going to bring Britt up later, but I thought may as well do it now and rip the band-aid off. I know the emotions are there when shooting, but often by the time we get to the "Tell All" some of them have boyfriends or are even engaged, or have moved on. I felt this Women Tell All was still raw and people were still very affected. I thought at one point Britt would be like, "I still love you. Take me back!"
Jillian really got into it with her defense of Britt.
Harrison: I don't know if it was Jillian wanting her five seconds of fame or she really loves Britt that much, but like I said, "You need to simmer down. You're scaring the people and the children." Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't understand all the hatred from the women towards Britt. What I see is jealousy. I get she was probably playing the game a bit and was being strategic and you say things to other people that you probably wouldn't to Chris, but there was nothing that damming that you thought, "Thank God Carly stepped up and let Chris know such horrible things." There was nothing that bad she said or did. I think she got the first impression rose and had a massive target on her back and there were some comments where she wasn't that flattering about Arlington, but I never saw why they could be so angry at her.
Later on, Chris did reassure her that Carly had no part in her being sent home.
Harrison: That was the other thing I wanted cleared up. She was hanging everything on Carly and that just wasn't the case. She needs to look in the mirror a little more to see what went wrong with the relationship. Yes, Carly did her part to sabotage it and it didn't help, but it was the way Britt acted under the pressure and the situation she put Chris in. It said a lot about her and the type of girlfriend or wife she'd be and that was not attractive to Chris. I'm sure in relationships she's the only one and the star, which she should be, that's how it usually works. But here you have to swallow your pride and be understanding and be there for somebody else. In this situation, you're going to be tested, and she failed.
What are your thoughts on Kelsey after sitting down with her again?
Harrison: Honestly, my opinion didn't change much. I feel like after people come on the show, especially for the "Tell All," that I know them a lot better. I never get the impression that I know Kelsey or I'm seeing the true Kelsey. I don't mean to say she's fake, but I never felt like she opened up to me or the show. I found everything calculated or planned out and that's not to say what she said wasn't real, but it comes off disingenuous at times. I think she's often misunderstood and the feelings are there, she just has trouble articulating them. Instead she sounds disrespectful or condescending. I will take issue with the girls who get on her about how she's grieving and what she's gone through because I can't fathom what she and Juelia went through. Far be it for anyone to throw those rocks. That part bugged me a bit, if you want to say she wasn't friendly, fine, but the grieving and husband stuff is off limits.
Did you think Jade would be so upset with Chris?
Harrison: I understand Jade's position, I totally get it, but in my opinion this is a very sore subject for her. I think she sees things that aren't always there. I get there was a slip of the word [in Chris' People blog] and that he said it was awkward, but by the way, it's awkward to sit with your date and look at nude photos of her. But maybe he used a poor choice of words. Going into the hometown he saw a quiet, diminutive girl and he said that to the family who said, "No, she's a wild mustang, you have no idea." He thought, "How could I be so wrong?" I think that's what he was trying to say, but he's a farmer, not a writer. And by the way she is shy!
Kaitlyn was also pretty upset and confused. What did you think of her time in the hot seat? Harrison: I thought Kaitlyn was very articulate and good about making her points, but I don't think she got the closure she wanted. Again, Chris is not the best wordsman. A woman doesn't want to hear that picking them was like throwing darts. This is an issue every season when you get to the Final 3 because very rarely is something wrong with one of them. But often when you watch the show back you can see what went right [with others] and think, "My relationship doesn't compare to what he has with [who he ends up choosing]." In past seasons like Sean and Catherine or Andi and Josh you could see what they had was very different. With this you don't see a magical storybook romance with Whitney or Becca, and Kailtyn thought her relationship was just as good and it's confusing and watching back isn't helping.
What do you think of her as the next Bachelorette?
Harrison: I think Kaitlyn would be a mix between Jillian [Harris] and say if Michelle Money had been the Bachelorette. She has a great sense of humor, a quick wit, she's smart, I think she'd be very good. I'm torn because I think Britt would be phenomenal too. They would be very different seasons, but both very good. And Kaitlyn does have that emotional side people don't give her credit for because she carried a lot of the "funny" this season. But there's a lot more to her which you saw on Women Tell All.
On to the big surprise of the night; you wrote a romance novel! [You can pre-order it here.] How long has this been in the works?
Harrison: I've been working with Harper Collins on this for the better part of two years. Everyone wanted me to write a tell-all or a dating book or share stories from The Bachelor and none of that felt right or comfortable. But years ago I ran into Nicholas Sparks and we were having a few glasses of wine and we were talking about our similar fan base and out of that conversation the idea was born. I thought it's exactly what I needed to do. It's an extension of the brand and what fans already love; it's romance, action/adventure, drama and intrigue and has pretty good sex scenes.
Was it challenging?
Harrison: The story came naturally, and you write what you know ... but exposing that side of me to everybody is what's nerve-wracking. I've hosted for 20 years so whether or not you like me, I know what I can do. When you really write and put thoughts and feelings down it's scary. It's fun, but scary. But it's nice to feel something different for the first time in a long time.
Will there be more?
Harrison: Just one book for now, but my dream would be to do one a year and become a romance novelist as well as The Bachelor host.
Finally, give us a tease for the finale.
Harrison: We go back to Arlington, and his parents get involved and are the voice of reason. He sees the light in many ways after he talks to them, but they don't mince their words and it shakes Chris. I don't think there is a perfect choice or an easy choice, and he's clearly in love with both so it's an emotional one for sure.
The Bachelor finale airs Monday at 8/7c on ABC.
Re-watch part of the emotional Women Tell All below: