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Chris Harrison Says ‘Bachelor’ Producers ‘Said No’ to Heather Martin Returning, But She ‘Kept Fighting’

Heather Martin seemed more than ready to return to the Bachelor world on the Monday, February 8, episode, but producers were not as convinced that she should crash Matt James’ season.

Related: ‘Bachelor’ Contestants Who Returned After Elimination

In a new interview, Chris Harrison confirmed speculation that Hannah Brown was secretly behind the latest twist as the former Bachelorette, 26, is friends with both Heather, 25, and Matt, 29.

“To be honest, I found out later — ‘cause the producers didn’t tell me she was coming — that [Heather] had reached out to producers, and Hannah B. was involved in all this too,” the host, 49, told Extra on Tuesday, February 9. “She had concocted this story and was helping produce this thing from the side. She thought Heather would be a good match for Matt. … But when they reached out, we said no.”

Chris Harrison Says Bachelor Producers Said No to Heather Martin Returning
Chris Harrison and Heather Martin ABC/Craig Sjodin (2)

However, the California native, who previously competed on Colton Underwood’s season in 2019, “kept fighting for this,” according to Chris.

“She said, ‘I want to come out there,’” he recalled. “One of our executive producers says, ‘Heather, do not come to Nemacolin. You’re not going to be on the show.’ Heather pulls up in a minivan. … We told her, ‘Do not show up on our doorstep.’ She did. I get a call, I walked out of the gate, Heather’s there.”

Related: Bachelor Matt James' Hottest Photos

At that point, Matt and his contestants were five-and-a-half weeks into filming, and all of them had already tested negative for COVID-19. Heather, on the other hand, still had to quarantine before she could gain entry.

“We discussed this as producers,” Chris said. “We said, ‘You know what? Fine. You want to come in? You guys want to do this? We’ll give you a shot.’ And she came in and talked to Matt, and then Matt had a very interesting dilemma. And that’s what you’re going to see play out.”

Us editors discuss Colton Underwood’s coming out in this Here for the Right Reasons podcast highlight!

Viewers only saw Heather at the tail end of Monday’s episode as she interrupted Matt’s conversation with one of the other ladies. After seeing her, he burst into laughter and gave her a big hug, sparking rumors that the pair already knew each other due to their mutual connection with Hannah.

Related: Biggest Bachelor Nation Scandals of All Time

However, the former football player set the record straight on the February 2 episode of Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast, saying, “I have met Heather before, [but] I had no relationship with her. … I was just as shocked to see her as everyone else was.”

Hannah, for her part, said via her Instagram Stories on Monday, “Lord bless the girls that are mean to my Heather. That’s all I have to say. That’s all I’m gonna say!”

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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