The Bachelor's Chris Harrison is adjusting to his new life as a bachelor.
The affable host shocked fans earlier this month after announcing that he and his wife of 18 years, Gwen Jones, were separating.
Harrison, who's overseen 16 seasons of the hit show and its spinoffs, is no stranger to eyeballing second stabs at love (see: Brad Womack, Jake Pavelka, Ben Flajnik). But when it comes to his own newly single life, he's taking things slow.
The 40-year-old host chatted with E! News about his fears about bachelorhood, his relationship with his ex, and whether or not marriage is in the cards for him again someday.
"It's been the most difficult part of my life," Harrison tells us. "I keep a smile on my face because I have to, but Gwen and I, we've been together for 22 years, married for almost 19. So we grew up together and we have so much history, it would be foolish to not be friends."
The couple, who were high-school sweethearts, have reportedly been separated for some time. But they've continued to remain in touch despite the difficult circumstances—and for the sake of their two children: 9-year-old son Joshua and 7-year-old daughter Taylor.
"I've talked to her five times this morning," he says. "We spent Mother's Day together, and we had lunch and went to movies with the kids—she will always be my best friend, I hope, and I want her to be happy and she wants me to be happy."
And despite being surrounded by boatloads of hot-and-heavy bachelors on the show for over 10 years now, Harrison is himself petrified of what his newly single life holds.
"I guess I am a bachelor now, which scares the holy hell out of me—I'm not going to lie—because I haven't been one since the early '90s," he admits. "And I thought those days were over—and I was happy to have them over! I was never one of those married guys that was like, 'Man, I wish I was at the club at 4 a.m. with those guys! I am so happy to be home, I love my life at home."
Being a single dad does give him a unique kinship with this season's new Bachelorette, Emily Maynard, who is herself a single parent. Harrison says he and Gwen decided to initially keep the split private "to protect our family," and that Maynard didn't find out until the last two episodes of the show.
"When she found out she felt horrible and gave me a big hug," Harrison says.
Still, he has no regrets about his 18-year journey with Gwen, despite its sad ending.
"I still hold myself and my marriage up very high," he muses. "I look upon it with great pride, great honor and great memories. I have no regrets."
As for walking down the aisle again someday?
"I hope I have another great marriage ahead someday, and I hope she does, too."
And if there's anything we've learned on The Bachelor, it's that you should never count out a shot at a second chance.
—Reporting by Vanessa McDonald