Ben Higgins’ ex-fiancee and The Bachelor alum Lauren Bushnell is dating country singer Chris Lane, after the two had been close friends for several years. Lane’s rep confirmed the relationship news to Entertainment Tonight back in November, 2018, stating, “It’s brand new and they are enjoying spending time together.”
Bushnell split with Bachelor Ben Higgins back in May, 2017. Higgins and Bushnell’s engagement aired in March 2016, but by May 2017, they’d broken up. They released a statement about their split, saying:
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways. 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.”
Bushnell has dated on and off since her split with Higgins, although her newest beau seems to be the strongest one yet. The duo even appeared together on the red carpets for the BMI Country Awards and the Country Music Association Awards. Lane told Entertainment Tonight that he didn’t know Bushnell during her time on The Bachelor, but that the two had become friends over the last couple of years.
“I know they were friends when we were dating, and I know she always admired him and thought he was a good dude,” Higgins. Bushnell’s ex, told ET. “I still care a ton about Lauren. I admire Lauren, she was a huge part of my life and we spent a ton of our lives together. What we have will always be something I remember.”
Although the two were platonic friends for the last few years, she started having romantic feelings for him after they went on a “friends” trip to the Bahamas together. “We went on a trip in August as friends and it just started from there. I was single and he was single and it just kind of naturally happened. We were in the Bahamas but it was a group of friends, it was very low-key.”
During an interview with HollywoodLife at the Shop and Sip Styling Event at DSW’s Winter Wonderland in Torrance, California on Dec. 7, the reality star gushed about Lane being a keeper. “It’s going really great! Yeah, he’s a keeper, he’s a cutie. I’m very happy I feel really lucky. We met at an iHeart Radio award show in Austin years ago, gosh it might’ve been three years ago, and that’s when we met initially and kind of just became friends. Then I ran into him and some of his friends in Nashville a while ago, and just kind of developed a friendship and obviously now we are more than friends.”
The two were flirty on social media in the months leading up to the relationship. In November, Bushnell shared a pic of her running before attending the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show. The work out photo caught Lane’s eye. “First time I saw you, I always knew you would be a Victoria Secret Angel,” Lane wrote alongside a heart-eyed emoji. The couple also shares plenty of cutesy relationship photos on Instagram of the two of them on vacation, out to eat, or just taking adorable selfies.
Bushnell isn’t the first Bachelor contestant that Lane has dated. According to Us Weekly, after Bushnell and Lane started dating, Bushnell called his ex-girlfriend Lauren “LB” Barr — who competed alongside Bushnell on The Bachelor, to inform LB that the two were dating. Lane has also been linked to Clare Crawley, another former Bachelor contestant.
Higgins learned about his ex-fiancee’s newest relationship the same way as everybody else did — through media tabloids. Although he wasn’t aware the two were dating prior to their announcement, he said he only wants the best for Bushnell. “This one was one I didn’t know about,” Higgins told Entertainment Tonight after the news broke. “I think the first time, when she was dating Devin [Antin], I remember that feeling — like the Band-Aid getting ripped off. This time, and I mean this, I really want Lauren to be fulfilled and happy, whether it’s with Chris or not.”
Bushnell admits she is quite smitten with Lane. “He’s so sweet he makes me feel so good and builds me up and makes me feel really confident and I just feel very lucky to have him,” she raved to Hollywood Life. “I feel like someone making you feel beautiful and confident and all of those things is romantic in itself, to me it doesn’t have to be a big gesture to be romantic. I just appreciate those little things.”