There was plenty of drama on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette in 2021, which is nothing new to Bachelor Nation. However, the most shocking developments took place behind the cameras.
Longtime Bachelor/Bachelorette host Chris Harrison left the franchise after 19 years. That development was followed by season 24 lead Colton Underwood‘s announcement that he was gay.
Harrison’s exit came after a backlash over racially insensitive comments during season 25 of The Bachelor, which starred Matt James, the first Black bachelor. The comments were made after old photos resurfaced online of contestant, and eventual winner, Rachael Kirkconnell attending an “Old South” antebellum plantation-themed party in 2018.
Harrison defended Kirkconnell in an interview with The Bachelorette alum Rachel Lindsay, the first Black bachelorette, saying Rachael was a victim of so-called “cancel culture” and asking for “some grace.” He later apologized. But the damage had been done, and producers showed Harrison the door. Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, two former bachelorettes, replaced Harrison for The Bachelorette‘s 17th and 18th seasons.
Meanwhile, the tumultuous relationship between Underwood and Cassie Randolph, who met on season 23 of The Bachelor in 2019, came to a head in October of 2020 when she filed a restraining order against Colton, claiming he was stalking her. Cassie dropped the restraining order a month later.
Then, in April of 2021, Colton came out as gay, telling GMA‘s Robin Roberts, “I’ve ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time. And I’m gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know.”
Earlier this month, Underwood released a Netflix docuseries, Coming Out Colton. He also introduced fans to his new boyfriend, 39-year-old Jordan C. Brown.
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