DeAnna Pappas was eventually chosen over the reality real estate agent 

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Chrishell Hartley
Chrishell Stause
| Credit: John Shearer/Getty

Before she made her mark as a reality star on Selling Sunset and Dancing with the Stars, Chrishell Stause almost became a lead on The Bachelorette.

Robert Mills, ABC's Senior Vice President of Alternative Series, Specials and Late Night Programming, appeared on Nick Viall’s podcast, The Viall Files, and revealed that he once had lunch with Stause to discuss her becoming the Bachelorette.

"I actually had lunch with Chrishell — this was about 10 or 11 years ago — to talk about being the Bachelorette," he told the former Bachelor on Wednesday.

Mills shared that the network was looking to do something different for their summer programming and landed on doing a new season of The Bachelorette. At the time, seasons of The Bachelor and Bachelorette didn’t alternate, he explained.

chishell stause
Chrishell Stause
| Credit: Tawni Bannister

"There was a time when Bachelorette was sort of done just, like, every so often when they decided to do it," he said, adding that there were about “four Bachelors for every one Bachelorette."

A casting director recommended Stause, an actress on All My Children at the time, for the gig. "We had this incredible lunch, I think it was at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and she was awesome. And I was convinced. I'm like, 'This is the Bachelorette,'" Mills said.

However, there was a big push at the time to give the role to DeAnna Pappas, one of the two women sent home by Brad Womack during the season 11 finale of The Bachelor. Ellen DeGeneres even called ABC to recommend Pappas, who ended up serving as the lead for season 4 in 2008.

"I remember Ellen DeGeneres actually calling the president of ABC at the time saying, 'This woman needs to be the Bachelorette,'" Mills said. "This was before we even said we were going to do a Bachelorette. And, at that point, it's like, 'Well how do we not do that?'"

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Though she missed out on The Bachelorette, Stause went on to star on Netflix’s real estate show, Selling Sunset and is currently a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.

She married This Is Us actor Justin Hartley in 2017, but the pair divorced in November 2019. Last month, she told PEOPLE she’s “excited to get back out” into the dating world.

"I’m a hopeless romantic, so I think it can still happen," Stause said. "It’s 2020, maybe you could meet your person through an Instagram DM. I don’t know. Crazier things have happened!"