The former Bachelorette, 35, told Us Weekly and other reporters after the season 29 finale on Monday, November 23, that she got so caught up in celebrating her big win with pro partner Artem Chigvintsev that she did not have a chance to speak with Inaba, 52, in the ballroom.
“There’s so many people, ‘cause you think of all the people that work so hard behind-the-scenes — lighting, crew and judges. I mean, everyone involved,” Bristowe said. “I almost wanted to turn it around on them [at the end of the show] and be like, ‘OK, we wouldn’t be here without all of you.’ And they’re all standing there, including the judges, but six feet apart of course, and you don’t really get a chance ‘cause there’s so much action going on. But I’m sure I will at some point.”
Inaba raised eyebrows earlier in the season for seemingly being tougher on the Bachelor alum than the other celebrity contestants. The choreographer was previously harsh in judging another former Bachelorette, Hannah Brown, who won season 28.
“I love Artem, I respect him, I love him and Nikki [Bella] together. I love that they just had their little baby, Matteo,” the Talk cohost told Us Weekly earlier this month. “I’m a huge fan. There’s nothing but love. I thought [the backlash] was hysterical.”
Chigvintsev also denied that his ex-girlfriend had a “personal agenda,” telling Us, “I don’t think my previous relationship has anything to do with it, I’ll be honest with you, because she’s been judging me for the past however many seasons I was on the show.”
As the season went on, Bristowe and Inaba had a chance to talk it out and put their differences aside. The reality star even defended the judge for simply doing her job.
“Don’t go bullying her because she’s being hard on me,” she said on her “Off the Vine” podcast. “That’s her decision and she’s a judge. That’s why she’s paid the big bucks to be a judge on that show, right?”
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe