“It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways,” the couple told People Magazine. “We feel fortunate for the time we had together, and will remain friends with much love and respect for one another. We wish nothing but the best for each other, and ask for your support and understanding at this time.”
The decision comes after they called off their wedding last fall and it might come as surprise. In an Hollywood Life interview on May 7, the couple sounded excited about life together without wedding planning or being on a reality show.
“It is a new year and it’s not that it’s just a new year for us, but it’s a new chapter, where life has slowed down a bit. Our relationship is able to be ours and not everyone else’s or a television show’s. All of that is really good preparation for that commitment and for that wedding,” Higgins told Hollywood Life.
Higgins’ season of The Bachelor aired from January to March 2016 and ended with him popping the question to Bushnell. The two seemed destined to make it, especially after announcing a reality show called Ben And Lauren: Happily Ever After? that ran on Freeform from October to November 2016.
They attended couples counseling and told People Magazine that they weren’t the perfect couple. “Far from it! But we are trying really hard and we love each other a lot,” the 29-year-old Higgins said.
“I think Ben and Lauren will get married when they’re ready,” Emily told the magazine. “I think right now they need some time to just get to know each other outside of the cameras and outside of the spotlight, just kind of do their own thing. So I think it will take some time.”
Obviously, the couple ultimately decided that there wasn’t a right time to get married and went their separate ways.
“There are so many weird elements to being in a relationship after The Bachelor,” Bushnell told People Magazine. “We’ve gotten in arguments like any other couple, but about some things that other couples wouldn’t have to fight about, like the fact that we met when he was dating other women. You can say that’s what I signed up for, but it’s still real life and it’s still hard.”
Higgins’ Bachelor season gained extra notice for his decision to tell both Bushnell and JoJo Fletcher that he loved them during the Fantasy Suites Episodes. Although he later chose Bushnell, the couple still had to get over some trust issues. She was really angry with Higgins for telling Fletcher he loved her.
“For a long time, I was really angry for being blindsided,” Bushnell told People. “I was heartbroken. And that resentment and anger affected our relationship much longer than it should have.”
Higgins admitted in the same interview that there was a “cloud” over the day they got engaged because he “really did hurt Laren.”
Bushnell also writes a blog called Sparkle In Her Eye, which still includes a section called “Life With Ben.” That column hasn’t been updated since Valentine’s Day. She also sells clothing through the site. Her most recent Instagram post was two days ago, showing herself in front of a Chick-fil-A. “My heart,” she wrote in the caption.