“I told him, ‘Look, before I even really dove into any of these issues, there’s going to be times when you want to just punch me in the face. We’re going to be angry. We’re going to hate each other. We’re going to love each other. We’re going to cry together. These are all these things that are about to happen. I know you don’t believe it now, but trust me,’” Harrison, 49, told Us Weekly exclusively while promoting the new season. “And low and behold, it all happened!”
James, 28, was named the first Black Bachelor in June and filmed his upcoming season this fall in Pennsylvania. Although the show usually films in California and Harrison can go home to his family while filming, this season didn’t allow that due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, his bond with James was even deeper — and they had their ups and downs.
“We would be strong with each other. At times, we had words with each other. We also hugged and loved each other at times,” the Texas native told Us. “He’s a terrific man. I loved going through this [with him]. I told him, ‘If you don’t go through that, you’re not doing it. You can’t fake your way through this. If it works, you’ve got to go through this.’”
And the model definitely went through it, Harrison noted. At one point, he even admitted he thought James may quit.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say yes. It’s a wild ride,” he teased. “There is a depth and layers to him — the likes of which we’ve never seen on this show. There are issues that we need to dive into, issues that he realizes along the way, that if we don’t face head-on, we’re not going anywhere. It is contentious at times, it’s emotional at times, it’s gut-wrenching, it’s anger. You’re going to get it all. Bless him for going through this because he went through the wringer.”
The Bachelor premieres on ABC Monday, January 4, at 8 p.m. ET.
Listen to Here For the Right Reasons to get inside scoop about the Bachelor franchise and exclusive interviews from contestants