Chris Harrison Addresses If Clare Crawley Was Forced Out of ‘The Bachelorette’ (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
ABC / Manly Bands
Clare Crawley's recent "likes" on Twitter seem to suggest she believes she was "forced out" of The Bachelorette, but according to Chris Harrison, she had "complete control" of the season. The Bachelor franchise host addressed Clare's headline-making social media activity in a new interview with ET's Lauren Zima.
"I would just say she has complete control," said Chris, who explained he hasn't spoken with Clare "for a few weeks now." "This season of The Bachelorette was completely about Clare. It's all about Clare, and she will decide where we go from here. It's totally, completely up to her."
Clare liked a series of tweets by user Marietou Sangare on Saturday, which defended the 39-year-old hairstylist's portrayal on The Bachelorette and speculated about how Tayshia Adams ended up replacing her on the series. ET learned on Aug. 3 that Tayshia was brought in as a new lead, after Clare fell for one of her men, and Tuesday's episode of The Bachelorette finally teased Tayshia's appearance for the first time, while previewing how Clare's connection with Dale Moss may lead to her exit.
"I think they were trying to force her out on some real. It was reported that she quit 12 days after filming and she locked herself in her room and wouldn’t come out, which was hard to believe considering how bad she wanted it," Marietou wrote in the first tweet Clare liked. "And I really feel like they are giving her a bad edit( just my opinion). They are feeding into the narrative and the rumors and making it seem like it was Clare's decision that this ended and i feel like that’s not the case."
Chris told ET that producers didn't go into Clare's season thinking about a Plan B.
"It was all really about Plan A, and it was all about, 'What do we do with this season with Clare, and where do we go with that?'" he said. "Really, it was about Clare and her decisions. It's her decisions that you're gonna see -- well, you saw obviously, in Tuesday's episode."
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‘Bachelorette' Clare Crawley on Her 'Electric' Connection With Dale and If She's Engaged (Exclusive)
Viewers will continue to see Clare's decisions on next week's episode, which will air on Thursday, Nov. 5, due to the election on Tuesday.
"I really put it in her court, it is completely up to her," Chris repeated. "And while I'm saying that, it really is something that you're all gonna need to see next week... I like for you to see everything and then you can judge, but in my humble opinion, I really feel like you'll see next week, it's her call where we go from here."
It didn't take long for the men to get a sense that Clare zeroed in Dale, as the guys considered walking out on the season during Tuesday night's episode. Clare told the camera that she was falling in love with Dale this week, referred to him as her "fiancé" while chatting with a producer, and joked to Deanna Stagliano that this may be the "shortest season ever." All this came just two episodes after Clare met Dale for the first time, and said she thought she "just met my husband."
"The first night, I went in more of just to capture that moment and lean into that moment,'" he said of his reaction to Clare's big declaration on Night One. "I kinda thought, 'This'll be good because we won't be going in this direction in just another week or two, and this'll be interesting that she was falling so hard for this guy and felt so strong, yet here we are on this other path.' That tends to be what happens."
"That's not what's happening here, and that was just the tip of the iceberg, and it's only gone more severe in that direction," he continued. "So, I go back to that and I wanna go, 'Wow, OK, maybe she was onto something and maybe she really did feel that strongly.'"
Chris had "never seen a lead fall that hard that heavy on Night One," he said. "I've had lead say, "Wow, I'm really blown away. I really like that person,' and end up with that person in the end, but it was not a just out and out, 'Let's just stop this right now'-type of a feeling," he explained.
So, taking all that into consideration, Chris says Clare was "certainly not" forced out of The Bachelorette. "But that's totally up to interpretation, and I think next week will be very enlightening," he teased. "I'll let everybody judge for themselves."
In the meantime, Chris is celebrating his new collection with Manly Bands. The partnership was a "no brainer" for the host, given how it aligns with his love of good love stories.
"I do love love. I love weddings. I love when people get engaged. I have seen so many amazing love stories and engagements and I know how hard it is and how special it is to find that," he said. "When Manly Bands came to me and asked if I would be a part of this... I was just excited because they really allowed me to be really involved in creating these rings."
"They are truly incredible quality, you will feel that when you get them, but they really allowed me to create this spectrum where you can find that ring that speaks to you," Chris added.
The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Due to Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3, next week's episode will air on Thursday, Nov. 5. See more in the video below.