The Bachelor host Chris Harrison spoke to reporters via conference call today and shared his thoughts on the re-engaged Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson.
Chris paints a fair portrait of the controversial couple, and sympathizes with Courtney (though he concedes he and his family were Team Lindzi from the start).
Will the couple make it? Will we see them on TV again? And what was it like whipping out that ring on the After the Final Rose special? So many questions.
Excerpts from his lengthy interview on all of that and more below:
On whether he's rooting for rooting Ben and Courtney:
"Of course I'm rooting them on. You know, why wouldn't you?"
"I mean, I know that she wasn't the most popular choice and that if you put it to America's vote maybe she wouldn't have been in it, but I think the important thing and the great thing about the show is that was Ben's choice."
"Why not respect that? Who am I not to respect that? And so of course I wish them the best and the million dollar question, will they make it? Who knows? Who's to say which couples make it in life? But I wish them the very best.On pulling out the ring on ATFR:
"Yes, in 10 years of doing this show that's never happened before. Usually, the couple’s either broken up or they're together and you know definitively one way or the other, and really for the first time I did not know how that show was going to go."
"So, it was very awkward holding that ring and handing it to him and even in handing it to him I wasn't sure it was going to happen. It was a really awkward moment, but I think it was a pivotal moment, showing them their proposal again."
"Getting them back in that space and remembering what it was all about and how happy they were and then putting the ring back on her finger turned out to be a beautiful moment. But I guess it could have gone the opposite direction."
On how Ben and Courtney actually click:
"They're both kind of quirky people and in a weird way they very much fit. He really liked the way [Courtney Robertson] challenged him and she never took what he called 'The Ben pill' and just went with the status quo."
"She always challenged the whole thing and he really liked that. I think that it was something that didn't quite come across on TV and obviously we were all kind of caught up in the emotion of Courtney, in what she was doing."
On the audience booing Courtney ravenously:
"I felt kind of bad for her and - not that maybe she didn't deserve it to a certain extent and she didn't bring it on herself, but you still feel bad when this happy couple or supposedly happy couple walks out and people are booing them."
"It was - it's tough and it just goes to show what a chord this show strikes and how emotional it is for everybody involved. Not just people on it but the viewers as well."
On the softer, gentler, vulnerable side of Courtney:
"I do see a genuine side of Courtney. I see a very vulnerable side and, again, I know like I can hear the fans in my head right now booing and saying, 'oh, you're drinking the Courtney Kool-Aid.' I'm not. I'm not justifying anything."
"I'm not saying she's Mother Teresa, and I'm not saying she's the greatest woman in the world. But what I do know is, this situation got the best of her."
"I do know that, you know, that there was definite real emotion there and she does care for Ben. Good or bad that's the most important thing that I can see as far as Ben and her leaving and going off to live their life."
On watching Ben Flajnik cry on stage:
"This sounds weird, but I was actually happy to see it. It was kind of nice to see both he and Courtney let down their guard and show very real emotion."
"I was happy to see that they have that in them together and that when they were together that's when it happened because that means a lot."
"That it happened when they felt safe together and they came together and that's when that real emotion came out. I know that maybe a little deep and little too psychological to get in an interview but I was relieved to see that."
On why he didn't press Ben about the obvious kissing photos:
"I never saw the pictures. I don't really, I didn't care. I've seen them since. Someone gave them to me when I hosted Access Live the other day and it [looked bad]."
"It looked very compelling and it looked - it... put him in a bad light. I mean I see why everybody was so upset. But I also know that and I don't know the explanation - whether it's true, false or not - and I'll take Ben at his word."
"She's apparently a very good friend of his, is what he said and whatever explanation he gave. So I'll take his word for it. But no, I just saw it well after the show."
On Lindzi Cox being cut out of the AFTR special:
"We need to keep the story going and that story was Ben and Courtney, and we kept that story going forward, you, especially the audience I'm talking about."
"And I talked to Ben, I talked to Courtney and then when we brought them out together and you had that emotional scene and they're crying. To go then back to Lindzi would - it just made no sense and it left her nowhere to go."
"And so we talked to her and she understood and so she felt she really didn't have any questions unanswered. She really didn't have any issues and so all that being said, why put her out there in kind of a no-win situation?"
On being a card-carrying member of Team Lindzi:
"Yes, it's impossible not to be a Lindzi fan. She was my daughter's favorite too. So I kind of have this other fan at home, my little eight-year-old girl who doesn't watch the show and really has never known a character on the show ever."
"But for some reason she must have been walking through that first night and she saw Lindzi ride up on a horse and that was it. So all of a sudden she was a Lindzi fan and then my family was in Belize and met Lindzi and fell in love with her."
"Lindzi was kind of a family favorite for us throughout, just so sweet and so easy to get along with - not so much to say that Ben made the wrong choice."
"Ben made the right choice for him and I had my times where I got along fine with Courtney as well, but Lindzi was just such a loving, lovable person."
On whether we'll see a Ben and Courtney update:
"We haven't talked about it. The great thing about this show is that it really is the modern day soap opera. And these stories will continue to play out."
"And so, of course, if there's something big whether it's a proposal or I guess a marriage because there are already engaged, or anything significant then, yes."
On whether they're moving in together:
"They're not moving in together per se. They're going - he's keeping his place. Obviously he works up in Sonoma in San Francisco and she's down in Santa Monica."
"And so they're going to go back and forth when she's in Santa Monica he'll be down a lot and when he's up in San Francisco and has to work she'll be up there."
"So they're going to kind of split between the two cities. And again, the big question is... are they going to put in the work and actually be together in the end?"
"So again, it's up to them to kind of write their own story. Only time will tell."
Indeed. What do you think: Will Ben and Courtney last?