Nick Viall and Kaitlyn Bristowe chatted off-camera before her season of The Bachelorette began filming in 2015 and that fact created controversy among her other suitors. Fans of the long-running franchise will watch that storyline unfold again tonight in a recapped version of the season. ABC’s The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever! airs Mondays at 8 p.m.
Here’s what you need to know:
Viall & Bristowe Became Friends Over Social Media While Chris Soules’ Season of the Bachelor Was Airing But Never Met In-Person
Viall and Bristowe connected before her season of the Bachelorette but the details of the situation were not as juicy as some fans may have thought at the time. The two chatted over social media but never met in-person. Viall has explained on his podcast, the Viall Files, that he struck up a friendship with Bristowe over Twitter.
Viall said he first reached out to Bristowe to ask her a question while her season of the Bachelor with Chris Soules was airing on ABC. On the debut episode of his podcast, Viall explained that he messaged Bristowe about halfway through the season to ask her whether the contestant named Kelsey Poe was “for real.” Poe was the woman who often talked about her late husband, who had passed away from congestive heart failure the previous year.
Viall said he and Bristowe began chatting on a regular basis over social media and FaceTime before she learned she was in the running to be the next Bachelorette. He said that early on, the conversations were more friendly as opposed to romantic.
Viall & Bristowe Tentatively Agreed to Meet After She Was Done Filming the Bachelorette Because She Didn’t Know If She’d Be Selected Over Britt Nilsson
Viall explained that when Bristowe learned she and fellow contestant Britt Nilsson would be vying for the top spot that season, Bristowe shared with Viall how upset she was over that situation. On his podcast, Viall said he and Bristowe had been chatting for about three weeks at that point and he encouraged Bristowe to continue with the process despite the risk that she could lose out to Nilsson.
But Viall said the conversations became more flirty the closer Bristowe got to the start of filming. He added that Bristowe suggested that he join the cast of her season and that he was not initially interested in being part of the show for a second time. He explained on the podcast, “The big X factor was, there’s two Bachelorettes. I remember saying to her, ‘I’m going to be honest I hope you don’t get picked.'” Viall said they agreed that if she was not selected to be the Bachelorette during night one, Bristowe would visit Viall in Chicago.
When entertainment sleuth Reality Steve revealed that Bristowe had been selected over Nilsson, Viall said he was taken off-guard by how “bummed” he felt about it. Around the same time, an ABC producer reached out to him about joining the Bachelor in Paradise cast. However, Viall expressed interest in Bristowe over the phone. Viall said the following day, a network executive called him again to ask whether he was interested in meeting Bristowe in-person and he ultimately decided to go for it.
In November 2019, Bristowe made an appearance on Viall’s podcast and confirmed his account about her tentative plans to visit him in Chicago after filming wrapped. As Viall pointed out, “No lead knows what to expect. So everything that was said between us– Shawn didn’t [yet] exist in your mind.” Bristowe added that her instant connection with Shawn Booth took her by surprise. “I remember night one when Shawn came out I was like, ‘Oh. Uh-oh.'” Viall and Bristowe also laughed about a conversation they had in Ireland when Bristowe admitted that Viall was in her “top two.”
Bristowe Admitted to Viall She Had Developed a Connection With One Contestant, Shawn Booth, Before Viall Joined the Cast
Before joining the cast of Bristowe’s Bachelorette season, Viall was informed that he had serious competition for her heart. Viall explained on his podcast that he flew to New York City two days after an ABC executive asked if he was interested in joining the show, which had been filming for 12 days at that point. The night before he was scheduled to surprise Bristowe, he received a direct message from her over Twitter and that led to a phone conversation.
Viall said Bristowe was not aware that he was in New York and had just wanted to talk to him about how filming was progressing. She’s talking to me and she’s like, ‘It’s going really well, and the guys are really nice but, like, I miss you and I feel like it’s different from what we had,'” Viall explained. He said they spoke for the entire night and that Bristowe asked him to come on the show, even though it was late into the process by that point.
Viall said he chose not to spill the beans about the upcoming surprise. But on that phone call, he said Bristowe did, in fact, warn him that she was developing feelings for one of the contestants. She didn’t share Booth’s name but admitted to Viall, “There is this one guy. I do like him. I have this connection to him. He reminds me of my ex-boyfriend.”
Fans of the show, of course, know how the rest of the season played out. Viall and Booth ended up being Bristowe’s final two men and both picked out engagement rings. During the finale, Viall was preparing to take the ring out of his pocket at the rose ceremony when Bristowe stopped him and informed him that her heart belonged to Booth. Viall shared that awkward clip to social media the day before the Greatest Seasons episode was scheduled to air. He wrote on Instagram:
It was like waving at someone who’s waving at the person behind … but million times worse. TBH I look back on this time of my life and have nothing but positive memories. I just didn’t think ABC would make us relive the entire failed proposal tomorrow night..It really was a season for the ages. You never know how you view things as time passes. Glad to be able to call KB a good friend!
Viall has also explained that he stayed quiet about he and Bristowe’s interactions before her season because he wanted to respect her relationship with Booth. He decided to talk about it only after she and Booth called off their engagement. Bristowe has since moved on with fellow Bachelor nation alum Jason Tartick.
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