Chris Harrison has a solid support system in girlfriend Lauren Zima amid controversy over comments he made about racism. Zima, 33, who covers the hit ABC show as an Entertainment Tonight correspondent, has been dating Chris, 49, for nearly three years. And, she’s sticking by his side through the good and tough times.
“Lauren is such a doll and she’s been a total rock for Chris through all of this,” a source close to the situation told HollywoodLife, exclusively. “She is the type of person who always looks on the bright side of things and always has a smile on her face. Even though this is a challenging time, she’s been by Chris’ side through it all, making him laugh, and telling him to keep positive,” the insider said, noting that she’s received an outpouring of support from her colleagues at ET, “which has been a huge help.”
The source added, “Knowing that the people who know her best have their backs means the absolute world to her and helps keep her spirits high.”
Chris came under fire after a February 9 interview aired with Rachel Lindsay, via Extra, in which the pair discussed season 25 Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, (who went on to win the final rose) and the controversy surrounding resurfaced photos of her attending an Old South-themed party in college. Chris’ controversial comments about racism sparked outrage, which led to the longtime Bachelor host “stepping down” from his position. Additionally, he released two public apologies to social media.
As for Chris and his future with the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise? — Despite his previously announced exit for what he said would be “a period of time,” ABC revealed on March 12, that the television personality will not return to host the new season of The Bachelorette, which premieres this spring.
“Chris Harrison will not be hosting the next season of ‘The Bachelorette,'” Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment confirmed to HollywoodLife in a statement that read: “We support Chris in the work that he is committed to doing. In his absence, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will support the new Bachelorette through next season. As we continue the dialogue around achieving greater equity and inclusion within ‘The Bachelor’ franchise, we are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks. These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world,” the statement concluded.
Following her boyfriend’s controversial interview, Zima broke her silence on February 13, via Instagram Stories. “What Chris said was wrong and disappointing,” she wrote. “Defending racism can never happen. Accountability comes first, what’s next is learning and growth.”