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Colton Underwood Says Kelly Ripa’s ‘Bachelor’ Criticism Was ‘Blown Out of Proportion’ (Exclusive)

Feuding for the right reasons? Kelly Ripa didn’t hold back when criticizing The Bachelor franchise earlier this month, but according to Colton Underwood, it’s all good between the ABC stars.

Related: Celebs Weigh in on Kelly Ripa vs ‘The Bachelor’

“I obviously know that Kelly doesn’t like the show. I don’t know. I was on there. I think there’s some mutual level of respect. We’re all, we’re both on ABC, so I don’t take it too personal,” the 27-year-old former Bachelor told Us Weekly exclusively at Tacotopia’s Grand Opening Taco ‘Bout a Good Night on Thursday, May 23. “It really isn’t that big of a deal, it just got blown out of proportion.”

Colton Underwood on Kelly Ripa’s Bachelor Criticism
Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images; John Lamparski/WireImage

Ripa, 48, made headlines on May 14 after she told her Live With Kelly and Ryan cohost, Ryan Seacrest, that the ABC dating series “disgusts” her.

“I can’t stand the idea of 25 exceptional women fighting over one ordinary fella, in my opinion,” the All My Children alum explained. “You know how I feel, ladies, we are too special to be arguing over a guy.”

Related: 12 Times ‘The Bachelor’ Made Our Heads Explode!

Several members of Bachelor Nation, including Underwood, fired back at Ripa for her remarks.

“How mad is Kelly Ripa going to be when The Bachelor wins an Emmy this year? #ThankYouForYourConsideration,” the former football player tweeted on May 15.

On Thursday, however, Underwood told Us that his clap back “was all in good fun.”

“I mean, I knew going into the show that she didn’t really agree with what The Bachelor is, but that’s OK,” added Underwood, who appeared on Live with girlfriend Cassie Randolph in March. “It’s OK to have opinions and to stand by them.”

Ripa, for her part, stood by her convictions when current Bachelorette Hannah Brown visited her talk show on May 16.

“I am very against women fighting over a guy. I don’t believe in it. I think it’s — you know, weird and sets us back,” Ripa said. “But now, you are in the power position. So take me through that. How does that work?”

Brown, 24, argued that the series is not about “women fighting against each other.”

“Some of my best friends came from the show and were really supportive. When you have a group of 30 people together, there’s going to be people who don’t like each other. That’s just simple facts,” the former Miss Alabama said. “It was one of the most empowering things that I ever did because I had to grow as an individual. That is why I decided that I wanted to be the Bachelorette. That’s why I wanted that so bad.”

Related: Bachelor Nation Is Divided on Bachelorette Hannah Brown

A source told Us, meanwhile, that Ripa is shrugging off the backlash for her comments, including creator Mike Fleiss’ claim that The Bachelor “pays her salary.”

Live With Kelly and Ryan is one of the most lucrative shows on TV. Claiming that The Bachelor pays for Kelly’s salary is amusing, to say the least. If anything, her success in syndication and promotion of these shows pays their salaries,” the source said. “These guys can’t handle a little lighthearted criticism from a successful woman who has been on TV longer than their contestants have been alive.”

With reporting by Emily Marcus

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