On the January 9, 2023 episode of Harrison’s podcast, titled “The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever,” Zima broke down in tears as she recounted the horrible social media comments that were directed at her fiancé — and sometimes at her — in the aftermath of his scandal.
“I wish I’d read less comments,” Zima said on the podcast, noting that while she wanted to be aware of the situation and “hear” everybody, it also “kind of messes with your head.”
“This was the most stressful thing I’ve ever been through,” Zima said on Harrison’s podcast. “It wasn’t easy to have people DMing you or me to die, to kill ourselves, that we’re horrible.”
The entertainment host noted that even though some fans offered support, the nasty comments were the ones that stood out to her. “You can hear 10 nice things but if one person tells you you’re horrible or tells you to harm yourself, that hits you a lot harder,” she said through tears.
Lauren Zima Said She Regretted the Short Statement She Released Following Chris Harrison’s Controversial Interview.
On the podcast, Harrison opened up about how Zima got thrust into his scandal after he was slammed for defending “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s past attendance at a plantation-themed sorority party during a February 2021 “Extra” interview with Rachel Lindsay. The former ABC host said Zima was put on the spot due to her high-profile job as an entertainment reporter and producer.
“She was at ‘Entertainment Tonight’ at the time and people were wanting her to answer to it,” Harrison said of Zima’s position amid his scandal. “Again it was difficult because anything she did was held against her too, good or bad. If she didn’t speak, your silence is deafening. If you speak, you’re screwed so you’re damned if you do you’re damned if you don’t.”
According to The Daily Mail, Zima addressed Harrison’s controversy in a brief February 2021 Instagram post. “What Chris said was wrong and disappointing,” Zima wrote at the time. “Defending racism can never happen. Accountability comes first, what’s next is learning and growth.”
She revealed on the podcast that she was advised to issue the statement but to “keep it shorter” and “cut” out any defense of Harrison.
“I look back on statement that I put out at the time, and I wish I’d done of differently,“ Zima said. “There was a longer version of it, where I said ‘I know who Chris is as a person and I know that he did not mean to come across that way.’”
Chris Harrison Said the Scandal Challenged His Relationship With Lauren Zima
Harrison also revealed that in the months following his Extra interview, paparazzi followed him and his fiancée wherever they went. He noted that each day there were “new headlines, a new podcast, a new cast member had said something, and it started all over again.”
“Lauren and I had a very difficult time getting through this together,” Harrison admitted. “It was brutal. Because this happened to her as much as it happened to me. …Now that we’ve had time, we really don’t talk about this deeply anymore. Because it consumed so much of our lives, it impacted us so much, in the end, it brought us together more and made me love her more. She is unbelievably brilliant, wise, loving, caring. It made me see a side of her that I knew I loved even more. But it was a gut punch to her as much as it was to me. And that was the thing for me it made me sick to my stomach that I was hurting the woman I love. “
“My fiancé who, God bless Lauren Zima for being there every step of the way,” Harrison added. “She was the only human being that was there 24/7.”