The longtime ABC host admits to getting emotional while watching Bachelor Nation love stories evolve

By Christina Dugan
July 27, 2017 05:17 PM


Chris Harrison has watched people fall in and out of love on television for 15 years, but the emotional journey of watching former Bachelors and Bachelorettes find the one still gets to him — especially Rachel Lindsay‘s journey.

“I host so many shows, but this show touches me,” the longtime ABC host told PEOPLE at The Bachelorette: Men Tell All taping. “That’s why I come back and do it, because I care about these people.”

Adds Harrison, 46: “Rachel and I went through this journey together. You can’t be this disengaged robot. When you’re going through it, I’m sitting across from this woman who’s bawling and putting her heart out, how do you not cry? I think being a dad myself, I just picture my daughter going through this someday. I just try and be the right person for them and support them. It’s a weird thing as a host. You’re not a typical host. I wear a lot of hats.”

FROM PEN: Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Making History as First African American (& ‘Oldest’) Bachelorette: ‘All Eyes Are on Me’

Lindsay is finally down to her three reaming suitors — Bryan Abasolo, Peter Kraus and Eric Bigger — but, getting there wasn’t easy.

After an emotional date in Dean Unglert’s hometown of Aspen, Colorado, Lindsay made the difficult decision to part ways with the 25-year-old.

“I cried on the entire flight to Dallas, and I cried all day leading up to it,” Lindsay wrote in her exclusive PEOPLE blog.  “I didn’t want to make a decision, I wanted to run and just go home and never have to break another heart again. But when my tears dried I realized that, while I do feel a love for Dean, I’m just not sure he’s in a place in his life where he’s ready to settle down and start a family in the near future.”

And Harrison, who has been right by Lindsay’s side throughout this process, knows a little something about comforting.

The host, who is father to son, Joshua, and daughter, Taylor, credits his ability to empathize with the Bachelorette to his experiences as a father.

“When I think of my daughter, when I come home and she runs and jumps in my arms, I cry like a baby,” he said. “I never cry. Probably the first 30 years in my life, I’ve never cried. All of a sudden you have a son and things change. But when you have a daughter, I know it’s a double standard and it even may be a little sexist, but it’s just different. They just get to you. They crush you in ways you never thought you’d be crushed.”

The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.