Harrison, a Dallas native, recently returned to his roots after moving out of Los Angeles. The move fueled rumors he’d be departing the “Bachelor” franchise months before he actually did after coming under fire in a racism controversy.
Fox News spoke to a Texas resident this week who stumbled upon the longtime “Bachelor” emcee at the Austin Proper Hotel. Not only was he joined by a few people for socializing over dinner, but Harrison was recognized by more than one person who gave him some celebrity treatment.
“I thought he seemed fine,” an eyewitness who interacted briefly with Harrison at the hotel’s restaurant tells Fox News. “He was polite and friendly.”
Harrison is not only out and about in his new city after his reported $9 million settlement with Warner Bros. became public, but he still appears comfortable with all eyes on him, the insider said.
“He took a photo with a fan and I also saw his waiter take a selfie with him!” the witness added.
The onlooker said Harrison was joined by “a few people” for dinner at the five-star establishment on Friday, June 18. The witness added that it appeared he was in good spirits.
Photos viewed by Fox News appear to show Harrison is enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle since leaving the franchise. He stepped out on Friday night sporting a casual look with light facial hair, a navy t-shirt and light shorts.
Harrison’s close family members also live in Texas and his son is currently a student at Texas Christian University.
News of Harrison’s official exit came just hours after the Season 17 premiere of “The Bachelorette” and days after it was revealed that the longtime host, 49, would not be returning to his duties on “Bachelor in Paradise.”
“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey,” Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
Harrison also posted a message to fans on his Instagram. “I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter. I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime,” he wrote.
Deadline reported that Harrison struck an eight-figure deal with the franchise and Warner Bros. to leave quietly.
He had previously stepped aside from his hosting duties for “The Bachelorette” after defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after it came to light that she attended an Antebellum-themed party prior to appearing on the show. Kirkconnell, 24, who appeared in Season 25 with Matt James, the show’s first Black lead, issued a lengthy apology after the photos resurfaced. She condemned her past actions which included attending an “Old South”-themed party in 2018 at a plantation and dressing up in a Native American costume.
Harrison appeared on Extra in an interview with former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay who was the show’s first Black female lead. In the interview, he defended Kirkconnell, arguing that times were different merely three years ago. The host caught immediate backlash prompting him to issue an apology of his own.
“I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday I took a stance on topics which I should have been better informed. While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf,” he wrote at the time.
“What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry. I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable,” Harrison said in his apology at the time. “I promise to do better.”
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