Why Ben Higgins Says He & Ex Lauren Bushnell Were Like Work Associates

Why Ben Higgins Says He & Ex Lauren Bushnell Were Like Work Associates
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Originally appeared on E! Online

Ben Higgins is looking back at one of the most dramatic seasons of his life.

Seven years after his split from Lauren Lane (née Bushnell), The Bachelor alum detailed the moment he knew their relationship was over.

After getting engaged on his season of The Bachelor in 2016, Ben and Lauren starred on the spinoff series Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever later that year. Former Bachelor host Chris Harrison even asked the couple on the show if they'd be up for a televised wedding. However, Ben admits the bloom was already coming off the proverbial rose at that point.

"We had already been struggling for about a month," the 35-year-old said on the May 28 episode of the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast. "We were in couples counseling. We were really trying to make it work. I mean, we were butting heads."

In fact, Ben said he and Lauren weren't really talking beyond the show.

"We were kind of more work associates," he explained. "We were living in the same house. We weren't really speaking to each other off-camera because the cameras would leave at 9 o'clock, we'd be exhausted. I might have to go into work the next day. She'd be doing her thing with her job. She was still flying as a flight attendant a little bit. We'd just be, like, dead tired. We wouldn't talk to each other. We hadn't talked to each other really, truly in weeks."

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Still, their journey continued, and fans watched Ben and Lauren's relationship crumble.

"I remember the car ride home," the Alone in Plain Sight author added. "We're like, ‘Are we gonna do this? Because if we're gonna get married, we better do it on national television.' Like, no question, right? And we were both like, ‘I don't think we're gonna get married.'"

Viewers saw Ben call off the wedding in one of the episodes. And while he said he and Lauren "tried to make it work a little bit longer," they announced their breakup in 2017.

As Ben recalled to podcast hosts Joe Amabile and Serena Pitt, he flew to Chicago for work after the show and he and Lauren spoke on the phone about where they stood.

"We're like, 'This is done. We know this is done. We're not gonna make this work. This is not healthy on either of us. We should just try to move on,'" Ben shared. "I said, 'Here's the deal. I'm gone for a week for a work. You know what would be really great? Is if you were gone because I don't think I can see you in person. It's gonna hurt too much.'"

The reality star said Lauren's mom helped her move out of the couple's Denver home. But days later, he added, he spotted her while they were on separate work trips in New York and he "bolted."

Once he returned to Denver, Ben said, he found their apartment bare as Lauren owned the furniture. After finding a lawn chair, he continued, he posted a photo of himself sitting alone in his living room with the TV and some bourbon.

"It's the saddest picture in the world, and she got mad—which she should have," he said. "That was a dumb thing. She's like, ‘You made it look like I took everything.' I'm like, 'Well, it makes sense. You owned everything. It was yours. It was not mine.'"

Ben Higgins, Lauren Bushnell
Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic

E! News has reached out to Lauren—who's now married to Chris Lane and is mom to sons Dutton, 2, and Baker, 19 months—for comment but has yet to hear back. However, she's previously spoken about what she says led to her split from Ben, who's since wed Jessica Clarke.

And while she admits the cameras didn't help, the 34-year-old has suggested they just weren't a match.

"I think we shared a lot of the same core values, but personality-wise, I don't think we were super compatible," Lauren told Page Six in 2022. "I don't even think it had anything to do with the show or the spotlight or anything like that. But then also, I was young. I think I was 24. I think I needed to do a lot of reflecting on myself, and I had a lot of growing to do."

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