Chris Harrison recently sparked wedding rumors with a new photo of his girlfriend Lauren Zima, but Bachelor Nation may want to hold the "congrats" messages. On Tuesday, the 49-year-old Bachelor host shared a black-and-white photo of himself and Zima locked in a kiss. Harrison is wearing a suit and Zima is wearing a white dress that appears quite matrimonial, which is was set off the rumors.
Many began commenting "congratulations" messages, as they presumed the photo was a wedding reveal. Even some past Bachelor contestants were surprised by the photo. "If you got married, I'm here for it and huge congratulations!!!!" exclaimed Bachelor Season 1 runner-up, and first-ever Bachelorette star, Trista Sutter. "If not, I'm here for it too!! You two are a beautiful pair!" Former Bachelorette contestant Jason Tartick added, "I just went full CSI mode on this pic and every word in caption and I still have no conclusion other than this is a beautiful picture of you two." Zima eventually clarified in a comment that she was wearing a "bridesmaids" dress in the photo — not a wedding gown — which she was part of recently.
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The new photo comes after Harrison announced he was taking a hiatus from hosting the Bachelor, following a controversy that emerged earlier this year. Bachelor star Rachael Kirkconnell was revealed to have attended an antebellum-themed party some years ago, and Harrison seemingly defended the situation. This led to a significant backlash, which prompted Harrison to stake a step back for a little while.
In a statement announcing his hiatus, Harrison wrote, "By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term 'woke police,' which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong."
Harrison added, "The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special. I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before."
Finally, Harrison issued a direct apology to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), expressing his remorse over his comments. "My words were harmful," he said. "I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you." In Harrison's absence former Bachelorette contestants Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will host the upcoming season of the spin-off reality series.