Chris Harrison and Lauren Zima Deny Getting Married After Instagram Photo Sparks Fan Speculation
Bachelor host Chris Harrison and Entertainment Tonight's Lauren Zima began dating in 2018
The couple, who began dating in 2018, sparked wedding speculation on Tuesday when Harrison, 49, posted a photo featuring him sweetly kissing Zima, 33. In the black-and-white picture, Harrison is dressed up in a suit while Zima wears an elegant floor-length gown.
"'I'd stop the world and melt with you' @laurenzima," he captioned the snap, quoting the song "I Melt with You," by Modern English. "There's no one I'd rather celebrate love with and I'll be your plus one anytime."
Fans and friends of the couple immediately began issuing their congratulations, thinking that the pair had gotten married, but both Harrison and Zima quickly headed to the comments section to clarify that they had simply attended a wedding — not had their own.
"Love you so much and appreciate all the 'congrats'! This *bridesmaids* dress is really living above its potential," Zima wrote.
"Wow you attend one wedding together...do one chicken dance and your hitched!" Harrison replied. "Congrats Christine and Kevin on a beautiful wedding and the start of a wonderful life together. I do love this bridesmaid though❤️."
Zima, a full-time correspondent at Entertainment Tonight, met the Bachelor host through interviews. After appearing as a reoccurring guest on ET's Bachelor segments, Harrison previously told PEOPLE he came to find "she's as much as a grinder as I am" and "loves, admires and respects" that about her.
"It's been easy and I think that's how it all starts," he continued. "We started dating and, like any relationship, she made me happy. She was kind, nice, we got along, she blended in great with my friends, and just all those steps in the relationship where you start checking those boxes off and it gets better and better and better."
Harrison has recently taken a step back from his post as the Bachelor franchise host for a period of time after he received backlash for his response to contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's past racially insensitive actions.
The controversy began when photos surfaced of Kirkconnell, a contestant on Matt James' season, attending an antebellum plantation-themed party in 2018. (She has since apologized and said that she is "learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist.")
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In an interview for Extra with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, Harrison defended Kirkconnell and questioned the "lens" of 2021 compared to 2018 and said that people should have "a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion" for Kirkconnell.
Last month, Harrison apologized for his comments in the interview with Linsday on Good Morning America and said, "I plan to be back and I want to be back" on The Bachelor.