The TV personality confirmed his permanent departure from The Bachelor series on social media on Tuesday, June 8, following months of uncertainty about his future with the franchise.
"I've had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I'm excited to start a new chapter," Chris wrote, adding, "I'm so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we've made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I've made will last a lifetime."
After he defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's controversial photos in February, he stepped aside from hosting Matt James' After the Final Rose special and, more recently, from hosting The Bachelorette this season.
Though his new social media post focuses on all the happy memories, a source close to Chris tells E! News how he really feels about his unceremonious exit.
"Chris is saddened to leave The Bachelor franchise," the source exclusively shares. "It was his whole life and identity for many years and he was hopeful he would continue his contract."
The insider says he wanted to keep hosting in 2022 and "has been in tough negotiations for weeks." However, according to the source, "Ultimately, the studio decided this was what's best."
Chris was optimistic that he would be forgiven in due time, the source reveals. "He knows he made a mistake but was hopeful forgiveness would be granted."
He apologized one day after he defended Rachael's pictures from a 2018 Old South party. Three days later, he issued another apology when temporarily stepping down from his role as host, writing on Feb. 13, "Now, just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same. By excusing historical racism, I defended it."
Throughout the turmoil, Chris "had an idea that his end was coming," the source explains. "[Chris] had a feeling months ago and really came to terms with it."
He has no plans to return to hosting at the moment, according to the insider, who adds, "He is grateful for the conclusion and payout... He wants to focus on other business ventures."
Several familiar faces commented on Chris' goodbye post to wish him well. Arie Luyendyk wrote, "Love you brotha. On to bigger and better things," while Colton Underwood said, "Love you Chris. Thank you for your friendship."
Chris was replaced by Bachelorette veterans Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe as hosts for Katie Thurston's Bachelorette season, which kicked off on June 7. And David Spade will reportedly step in as the host of Bachelor in Paradise this summer.
As for Matt, he appears to have forgiven Rachael in the months following the scandal. The pair reconciled and were recently spotted on a couples' retreat in the Hamptons. "Matt and Rachael are in a really good place right now and are getting serious. They are inseparable and talk all day, every day," another source close to Matt exclusively told E! News last month.
E! News has reached out to Chris' rep and ABC for comment.