Next stop: “I do!” Chris Harrison and Lauren Zima felt the love from Bachelor Nation as news of their engagement made headlines, despite his rocky exit from the franchise.
The 50-year-old Texas native revealed the major milestone via Instagram on Monday, October 25, writing, “I love you @laurenzima The next chapter starts now!”
Harrison shared a series of photos from his romantic proposal in Napa Valley, California, wiping all other posts from his account.
Zima, 33, celebrated the news with an Instagram upload of her own. “We tell each other this all the time, and we said it again in an unforgettably beautiful moment this weekend: I didn’t know love could be like this,” she gushed on Monday. “You are the most incredible partner. Thank you for loving me, championing me and asking me to marry you. Here’s to the next amazing chapter, and all the rest .”
The Perfect Letter author was previously married to Gwen Harrison, with whom he shares son Joshua, 19, and daughter Taylor, 17. The former couple called it quits in May 2012 after 18 years of marriage.
Chris began dating the Emmy winner in August 2018, making their red carpet debut together the following January at a pre-Screen Actors Guild awards party.
Earlier this year, the newly engaged couple sparked rumors that they may have secretly tied the knot when the former Bachelor host shared a black-and-white photo featuring Zima in a gown that seemed fit for a wedding.
“‘I’d stop the world and melt with you’ @laurenzima there’s no one I’d rather celebrate love with and I’ll be your plus one anytime,” Chris teased in April.
After fueling marriage rumors, the former ABC personality clarified in the comments, “Wow you attend one wedding together … do one chicken dance and your hitched! I do love this bridesmaid though.”
The longtime TV presenter’s engagement comes several months after he faced backlash from many Bachelor Nation members and fans for his apparent support for season 25 winner Rachael Kirkconnell, who came under fire while Matt James‘ journey was airing for her past racially insensitive social media activity. Both Chris and the Georgia native, 25, have since apologized.
After initially taking a temporary leave of absence from his hosting duties in February, Chris didn’t return for season 17 of The Bachelorette, with Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams taking over as cohosts. The dynamic duo are currently guiding season 18 Bachelorette Michelle Young on her search for The One.
Though he previously stated he wanted to make a comeback, Us Weekly confirmed in June that Chris reached an eight-figure deal with the network and officially exited the franchise. Former lead Jesse Palmer was tapped to host the 26th season of The Bachelor.
The former sportscaster is “not ready to retire just yet,” a source exclusively revealed in August, adding, “Although [Chris is] not the host anymore, he still loves Bachelor Nation and isn’t one to hold any grudges, especially [with] the fans, after what went down.”
Scroll down to see how Bachelor Nation reacted to Chris’ engagement: