“Ladies, this is the final rose tonight.” For the last two decades, this has been Chris Harrison’s signature line on The Bachelor. The long-standing dating show has been on since 2002 and spawned a slew of spin-offs – many of which have the same guy hosting. But what about the man helming the franchise? Well, let’s take a look. But be warned: he may not want you to know everything on this list!
40. He had his first hosting gig as a teen
Chris Harrison was a senior at Lake Highlands High School in the 1980s – long before many of today’s Bachelor contestants were even born. And it was during this time that he first got bitten by the hosting bug. He served as the announcer for his school’s homecoming celebration and was a natural at public speaking – infusing his bits with some comedy, too.
39. His first job wasn’t on TV
Of course, hosting a high-school talent show is hardly a professional gig, and it’d be a while before Harrison made his way onto our TV screens. Before then, though, he had his first job at an ice cream shop in Dallas, Texas. The talent told UsMagazine.com in 2010 that he also worked as a floor installer.
38. His first car wasn’t glamorous
UsMagazine.com notes that Harrison spent $100 on his first set of wheels. And that modest sum saw him pick up a 1971 Buick Centurion. We are going to guess that it was nothing like the limousines in which Bachelor contestants roll up to the mansion…
37. He was a frat boy in college
After high school, Harrison attended Oklahoma City University, and he versed himself in his extracurriculars. For one thing, The Things website claims that he joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity. And, on his recent visits back to his college, he has stopped by to see the frat’s newest generations of members.
36. He dreamed of covering his favorite sports teams
Harrison didn’t set out to become The Bachelor host – he never even dreamed of moving to Hollywood! The presenter had instead wanted to become a sportscaster on Channel 8 in his hometown of Dallas, Texas, according to The Things. That position would have allowed him to cover his favorite team: the Dallas Cowboys.
35. Harrison has a girlfriend, who he met through The Bachelor
Harrison has a longtime girlfriend in Entertainment Tonight reporter Lauren Zima. She revealed on the Handcuffs and Half Truths podcast in 2019 that they had met while filming Bachelor segments for ET. They caught up with each other again a year before Zima’s aforementioned interview, and the rest is history!
34. He thought a move to Los Angeles would be a fun diversion
Just before the turn of the 21st century, Harrison got a job offer that’d take him to Los Angeles. According to The Things, he and his then-wife Gwen thought the move would be a fun – albeit brief – adventure while it was just the two of them. The plan was always to move back to Dallas… but it didn’t quite work out that way.
33. You’ll find some acting credits on his resume
Harrison’s role on the Bachelor franchise has naturally made him a bit of a TV icon. So, it’s probably unsurprising that he has played himself in a slew of movies and on other series, too. But he has also acted as someone else on old-school shows like Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
32. He has hosted non-Bachelor shows
Harrison is known for standing next to bachelors and bachelorettes as they hand out roses. But did you know that he has held the mic on some other TV series, too? He used to host Designers Challenge on HGTV – a show that followed professional decorators, their clients and home renovation projects from start to finish.
31. He picked up his first wife in an uncouth way
By now, Harrison must know a thing or two about romance. But long before he became host of the Bachelor franchise, he was just a college kid who saw a beautiful girl across the way at a mixer. To get her attention, The Things notes that he whistled at her. And despite her usual protestations to such a move, she went and talked to him. Things must have gone well after that, because the duo subsequently got married in 1994!
30. He got a divorce back in 2012
Harrison and Gwen wed in 1994, but the couple sadly called it quits nearly 20 years later. Though there was a silver lining to it all. While they’re no longer romantically involved with one another, they remain good friends and get along well, according to The Things.
29. His career almost went in a completely different direction
As it turns out, Harrison was quite a talented soccer player, and it earned him a scholarship to play for Oklahoma City University. He even plied his skills in a semi-professional league for a time, too. And if his career had progressed, he may have been an athlete – not the famous host we know today.
28. OCU still has him on the record books
Harrison was apparently a truly standout soccor player at OCU. And the talent told UsMagazine.com that he remains on the school’s record books even today! Harrison said, “I scored the first goal in the history of my university at the national soccer tournament.”
27. He prefers golf nowadays
Harrison’s soccer-playing days are behind him, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t compete in another sport. The presenter loves golf so much that he wants to play on the PGA Tour. In fact, he joked during an interview with UsMagazine.com that he would “consider trading one of [his] kids to play golf at Augusta.” For reference, this is where the Masters tournament takes place each year.
26. He keeps things spicy on the show – but prefers his food less so
Harrison oversees all of the love connections that take place on the Bachelor franchise. And, while that’s nice and fiery, he likes to eat food that’s much less hot. He put it simply to UsMagazine.com, saying, “I hate spicy food.”
25. He has two children
Behind the scenes, Harrison has a robust personal life – just like his professional one. He and his ex-wife Gwen share two children together: a boy named Joshua and a girl called Taylor. Interestingly, their son is the same age as the Bachelor franchise that made his dad a household name.
24. Joshua’s name has an unexpected story
Harrison had a pretty interesting story to explain why he named his son Joshua. The host told UsMagazine.com that the best concert he ever saw was in 1987 during U2’s Joshua Tree tour in Cardiff, Wales. That experience, in turn, inspired the choice of his first-born’s moniker.
23. Christmas doesn’t come early in the Harrison household
Unfortunately for Joshua and Taylor, any dreams of opening their Christmas presents early are dashed by their father’s traditions. Harrison didn’t give an explanation as to why, but he included the following tidbit in an interview with UsMagazine.com. The host divulged, “I don’t believe in opening gifts on Christmas Eve.”
22. He likes a good birthday celebration
The patriarch is strict about Christmas day festivities, but he stretches out the party when commemorating another trip around the sun. Harrison told UsMagazine.com, “I celebrate a birthday season rather than just one day.”
21. He has gone to great lengths to watch the Cowboys play
Now that enough time has passed, Harrison can admit that he basically broke the law to watch the 1996 Super Bowl, according to The Things. That year, his favorite team the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers during a championship game – one which many consider to be an iconic victory for the franchise. So, he is probably glad he broke in to see it in real life!
20. He has chased tornadoes in the past
Storms brew constantly on The Bachelor, but those deal only in relationship drama. Turns out that the show’s host likes to see real ones go down, too. Harrison revealed that he has chased tornadoes in the past – highlighting an adrenaline-junkie side that isn’t particularly obvious when he coolly hosts his show.
19. You can find him at your local bookstore
Sure, we know that Harrison is a TV host. But were you aware that he has written a romance novel, too? He penned The Perfect Letter after a hangout with Nicholas Sparks – the famed love-story writer of The Notebook and other classics. The presenter said he found it hardest to write the book’s love scenes, so he had the women in his life read them and give him the green light pre-publication.
18. He doesn’t just host The Bachelor
You’d think Harrison wouldn’t have spare time to do anything but gigs related to The Bachelor. Yet it turns out that he occasionally pops up to lend his talents to other programs. For example, he has hosted the Miss America pageant in the past, as well as the American Music Awards pre-show. He also helms the Pop channel’s Emmys coverage and has done so since 2009.
17. He’s a seasoned game show host
If you caught an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? between 2015 and 2019, then you already know who the show’s host was: Chris Harrison. Those four years weren’t his only ones spent hosting TV competitions, though. He and model Brooke Burke also helmed the short-lived game show called You Deserve It in 2011.
16. He’s not great at dating
It may come as a shock, but the host of a dating show is not great at hooking up himself – especially if things are just casual. Harrison admitted to People, “I would love to say I’m the guy who sleeps around, but I’m just not. That’s not my thing. Tried. I’m not good at it. It’s exhausting.”
15. His first job covered sports – and a national tragedy
Naturally, few of us get our dream job from the get-go. And after Harrison graduated from OCU, he became a sportscaster – but in Oklahoma City. His time there overlapped with the tragic bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995. This meant that the future Bachelor host had to do some hard-hitting news coverage as well.
14. Harrison says he has never dated a contestant
Harrison hosts a dating show replete with gorgeous, accomplished women on the cast. As such, you might assume that he may occasionally date the ladies who don’t end up stealing the bachelor’s heart. But Harrison claims that he has never had a romantic relationship with anyone who has ever been on the show.
13. There was one rumor once, though…
Harrison has negated any hint that he’s dated a contestant on The Bachelor. But there was an Instagram photo of him with Andi Dorfman – who served as the tenth female lead in the series – that caused heads to turn. The pair looked extra close, but they were apparently never an item.
12. He uses his show as a parenting tool
It’s hard to believe, but Harrison claims to have used The Bachelor as a resource while raising his daughter Taylor. He watches the shows with her and uses the drama as a way to open conversation between them on topics a dad and daughter might find hard to discuss. According to The Things, Harrison says that he uses the show to talk about how she can conduct herself in future relationships.
11. He still hangs out with his high school buddies
Despite being a Hollywood man nowadays, it appears that Harrison hasn’t forgotten where he comes from. The host maintains a tight-knit group of friends from his hometown, and the pals love to apparently act like kids when they hang out. He told People, “They don’t care what you do. It’s like we’re back in high school giving each other crap.”
10. He enjoys parodies like the rest of us
Harrison can laugh at parodies of The Bachelor – so long as they’re done in good faith. For example, the presenter said that he appreciated the Ben Stiller-led spoof Burning Love, because he thought it was well-made. But the host wasn’t as much of a fan of UnReal – arguing that the show was made sans respect for the franchise that inspired it.
9. He has a brewery in Dallas
Harrison wears many hats, though we still don’t understand how he has the time! Nevertheless, one of his side projects has been opening the Steam Theory Brewery in his hometown of Dallas, Texas. The bar has had its fair share of The Bachelor tie-ins, too. They also hosted live watch parties there for previous seasons of the show, according to Insider.
8. Producing is also on his resume
Hosting is just part of what Harrison does for The Bachelor and all of its spin-offs. He has co-executive produced episodes in the past – including a back-to-back set of Bachelor in Paradise installments in 2014. Obviously, he knows what works for the show since, you know, he has been at the heart of it for two decades.
7. He almost didn’t get the job
It’s hard to imagine any iteration of The Bachelor without Harrison at the helm, but that was almost the case! The show’s creator Mike Fleiss didn’t like the Texan when the latter first auditioned for the role, according to The Things. In fact, he opted for another candidate who had a flashier, more Hollywood vibe. But in the end, Fleiss realized he needed someone with down-home charm – something Harrison has in droves.
6. Harrison never expected The Bachelor to go far
Harrison didn’t quite know what he signed up for when he got the gig on The Bachelor. He told Guide Live that he accepted the offer to further his career and didn’t expect longevity. The host explained, “My second thought [was], ‘I hope it lasts a couple of episodes so I can meet someone at the network and maybe get a real job out of it.’” Little did he know, he already had one.
5. Supposedly, he has a least-favorite bachelor
Rumor has it that Harrison has a least-favorite lead from The Bachelor. And, no, it’s probably not the guy you’re thinking! According to The Things, it was Charlie O’Connell, who simply didn’t gel with the show’s host while he searched for love on it. The east coaster – whose brother is actor Jerry O’Connell – didn’t get along with the southerner who hosted the series.
4. He’s worth millions
With a two-decade career hosting The Bachelor on the books, it’s no surprise that Harrison is worth a healthy chunk of change. Between all of his hosting gigs, books, his brewery and more, the star has an estimated fortune of $16 million, according to Insider. Not bad for a guy who didn’t want the job in the first place, wouldn’t you say?
3. The show makes him cry, too
If you find yourself blubbering over the emotional moments on The Bachelorette, know there’s someone in your corner: Chris Harrison. The host finds it especially hard to watch the show’s female leads go through emotional turmoil, The Things notes. When they start to cry, he often does, too.
2. He hopes to pass his hosting gig onto his daughter
Harrison has been with The Bachelor from the beginning, but he’s planning for the future. After all, the presenter knows he won’t be helming forever. Harrison still hopes to keep the gig within his family, though. According to The Things, he wants to hold onto the job until his daughter graduates from college – at which point the host dreams of passing the torch to her.
1. When buying flowers for the women in his life, he skips this one in particular
The Bachelor franchise revolves around roses – the lead hands them out to men or women who they want to get to know further. As such, Harrison’s job revolves around the prickly blossoms, and that may be why he avoids them at home. He told UsMagazine.com, “When I bring my wife flowers, I rarely – if ever – give her roses.”