Chris Harrison and Lauren Zima Share Their Thoughts on Bachelor Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan
Peter Weber was recently spotted with Kelley Flanagan, one of his former contestants, in Chicago
PEOPLE caught up with Harrison and his girlfriend, Entertainment Tonight correspondent Lauren Zima about their Group Date nightly series on Instagram amid the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, we had to ask about their reactions to Weber hanging out with Flanagan in her hometown of Chicago last week.
Zima, 32, recalled interviewing Flanagan, 27, at the launch of Harrison’s Seagram’s Escapes Tropical Rosé on March 11 in Los Angeles. The two chatted about Flanagan’s experience at the live Bachelor finale earlier that week and how she met Weber’s mom, Barbara, at the taping.
“Kelley said that Barb was so excited to meet her [at After the Final Rose] and said she loved her so much,” Zima said. “And I think if we know anything about Peter, we know that his family is very important to him. His parents’ opinions are very important to him. So, if Mom loves Kelley, then maybe that means something.”
Harrison, 48, said he just wants anyone associated with the franchise to find love.
“I would just say this, and not about any specific couple, but if any of these people can find love, if any of them find a great stable relationship that makes each other happy, then God bless them,” he said. “If you’ve learned anything from our show, it’s that love comes in crazy ways, and Lauren and I have found the same thing in our own private life.”
“So, however you find it, when you run into it, if everybody’s happy and safe, man, good on you,” he continued. “Because it’s tough to find. It’s crazy to find. And when you look at the Arie [Luyendyk Jr.]‘s of the world or the Jason Mesnick‘s of the world, and even Colton [Underwood], and how they found love in such an unconventional way, and all the twists and turns, there’s no one way. There’s no magic pill. So however these people find it, good on them and I wish them the best.”
Last Wednesday, Weber, who lives in Los Angeles, spent time with Flanagan in the Windy City. The two hung out along the Riverwalk, an eyewitness confirmed to PEOPLE. They were joined by Dustin Kendrick, Weber’s fellow Bachelorette contestant from Hannah Brown‘s season.
The eyewitness said Weber and Flanagan didn’t kiss but seemed comfortable together, with Weber resting his leg in her lap at one point.
Illinois is currently under a stay at home order in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, and Weber and Flanagan’s outing sparked some backlash from fans online. Harrison and Zima, who have been social distancing together for nearly two weeks, said everyone should be taking the virus seriously.
“I would say to anybody, no matter if you’re a part of my Bachelor family or any family, be smart, social distance,” Harrison said. “If you’re feeling any kind of symptoms, self-quarantine — you have to respect this.”
“I can only urge the governors, politicians, and local authorities and everybody to take this seriously,” he continued. “Take it more seriously than you think you should. And one of the best quotes I heard early on was, ‘If you think you’re doing too much and going too far, that’s probably just about right.’ This should be uncomfortable, how much we are self-distancing and quarantining.”
Added Zima, “It’s just about being smart.”
“Listen to what the CDC is telling you, and if you pick a group of people to quarantine with, and they’re your family and they’re going to be your group that you isolate with and stay safe with, then great,” she said. “As long as you’re doing what the CDC says, and you are being smart for yourself and for others.”
The couple’s new series allows them to get candid and interact with Bachelor fans — all while giving them a chance to give back. The two are using their platform during this time to donate to charities, as well as donating profits from their respective Cameo accounts.
“We just wanted to give people something fun to do at night, if they were going to stay home, which we wanted them to do,” Zima explained. “We all need a sense of community right now. We all need something to look forward to, and so we wanted to give people that and then at the same time raise money. So every single day, we’ve been making donations to different charities that can help fight everything that’s going on because of coronavirus.”
“I honestly thought we might do it once or twice and it would be this fun little thing and then it would go away,” Harrison added. “And then, there was this overwhelming response for it and the messages both Lauren and I have received, thanking us. I got a hat in the mail the other day from this firefighter who loves watching the show, and I just think it gives somebody a chance to escape and a little normalcy.”
As of Monday morning, there are at least 144,732 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. — the most worldwide — with at least 2,527 people having died from coronavirus-related illness.
Group Date can be found nightly at 9:30 p.m. ET on Harrison’s Instagram page.
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