I admit, I am a fan of ABC The Bachelor and all the reality spin-off series. It’s something that Madi, my 16-year-old and I watch together. It’s real entertainment. I think in season 20 of The Bachelor, Ben Higgins won the hearts of many along with his fiance Lauren Bushnell. The fan following made it easy for FreeForm to step up and say, hey, what’s Ben and Lauren’s story? And then Ben and Lauren Happily Ever After became the latest spin-off and boy, is it fun to watch!
On a recent press trip to Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the gorgeous couple. To see their interaction, the flirty glances, and giddy story -telling, it was evident that their reality TV love story was, well, a reality.
Ben and Lauren Happily Ever After
They enter the room and they are like the life version of Barbie and Ken. They are both even more beautiful in person. Ben is tall and just gorgeous. Lauren, she’s tiny, perfect complexion, beautiful smile, and genuinely sweet. Makes it impossible to want anything but happiness for them both.
Ben: Alright. Before we start, did you like the second episode?
We had just screened episode 2, and it was hilarious! Lauren is quite the prankster. I love her sense of humor. Here’s a look at what you missed, or if you saw it, laugh again!
Ben: I actually haven’t seen it.
The National Anthem? Oh my gosh.
Ben: So, I think, after our first episode, it was being said on a lot of social media and stuff, like, “oh, it’s so scripted,” and I’m like, “just wait ‘til you see next week because nothing about that was fake.” When I got the phone call — and it was funny, because I’m sitting there, and I get this phone call, and I answer it, and it’s like, “Hey, will you sing the National Anthem? Will you do the first pitch? And my immediate reaction was like, no. (We are all laughing) Like, I’m a terrible singer. But then, because we were doing a reality television show, I was like, do I even have the option to say no? “I guess.” And then all of a sudden I hung up, and I was like, Lauran, are you serious? She’s like, yeah.
Lauren: I was like, well, why’d you say yes? (We are dying laughing)
Ben: Um, I was so nervous. I really was. I was sick to my stomach. Like —
You could, you could tell. But when those kids started singing, and your face, it was awesome.
Ben: Yeah. I was so sick, like, it was one of my biggest fears. I just can’t sing.
Perfect entertainment. Have you gotten her back yet?
Ben: I try to when we do press. Because then it’s live. So I try to drop little bombs on her where she has to, like, try to fix herself. Like, I don’t know, I like to say, like, she loves Cher. And then, like, it’ll be like, “well, sing us a Cher song.” She doesn’t know a Cher song; she doesn’t love Cher. (Laughing) I don’t know. I try to get her back, but she’s, she’s good at it.
She’s really good.
Ben: She’s talented. Yeah, she has skills. Um, but you did like it, be honest.
Yeah, seriously, seriously.
Ben: Cool. Okay, good. That’s awesome.
Playing dress up?
How long did you have your renaissance fair obsession?
Ben: Since I was a little boy. We had the best day. It really was. I think one of the coolest parts is showing Lauren, like, that people can just be completely weird, for lack of a better term. And like, just be somebody else for a day. Everybody acts in character, and nobody’s like, judging you for anything. I think that’s the coolest part, is like, you can go there, and just be something completely different, and then you go back home, and take off your costume, and you’re mowing the lawn.
Lauren: It was actually really fun.
Lauren: We were talking, we were like, if we have kids one day, it will be so fun and great, to bring kids here, ‘cause you have all little girls, like, in their princess outfits, taking pictures of the other princesses.
Do you guys holiday plans, or is that too much overwhelming to think about yet?
Lauren: I think we finally figured it out a little bit. We were trying to figure it out, ‘cause both of our families live in different places, and it’s just something that probably a lot of couples go through. You’re like, wait, what family do we spend it with first? So his family’s in Indiana, mine’s in Portland. So I think we’re going to do, we’re going to alternate Thanksgivings, so like, this year we’ll spend Thanksgiving with my family, and then next year with his. And then hopefully every Christmas, we’ll try to go great places. That is the one great thing about this whole show, it’s allowed us to have a little bit more flexibility when we’re not filming, so we can take two weeks around the holidays, and go to each separate household. So that’s kind of the plan, as of now.
Lauren: Big plans.
Ben: We have big plans. So we are leaving LA, and we have a couple of stops. We go to Chicago, then we go to Tampa for my job, and then we’re going on a little vacation to a getaway, go to the islands for a full week. For the first time. It’s our first vacation. There’s going to be nobody with us, other than ourselves, and, we’re just going to stay kind of through Halloween, for that.
Lauren: We get back to Denver, I think, on Halloween? So I don’t know if we’ll dress up. I love handing out candy.
Ben: I’ll dress up. Yeah.
Lauren: You already have a costume.
Are you sure that Lauren doesn’t have a prank planned for you, for Halloween? [LAUGHTER]
Ben: She’ll sneak something in here. She acts innocent, but she also likes to put me on the spot. Like, I think live television is some of our favorite thing to do, because then we can say something, and make the other person react. So I’m sure by the end of this, she’ll come up with something.
Lauren: My fave– usually, like, my go-to prank isn’t really a prank, but like, I like to scare him.
Ben: It’s the worst. So, this is good. We’re in Indiana with my family, a couple of months ago. I see her kind of like, crawl across the living room floor, and she’s like, crawling. And I can just see her feet scurrying behind her. She gets behind my parents’ liquor cabinet. And there’s a big window on the other side of the liquor cabinet, and I’m on the other side of the window, and she doesn’t think I can see her, but I can see her feet sticking out. (he’s laughing, and it’s contagious) And so I just sit down. Like, I just sit down. Like, if she’s going to hide, let’s see how long she can hide for down there. (The room is full of laughter) I think she was there, like, a good, like, 10 minutes, of just laying on the ground. Waiting for me to open the door.
Lauren: I’m very patient. (Laughing)
Ben: Yeah, she’s resilient. Yeah, she’s very patient. As long as she can get the scare in.
Lauren: But then he ended up scaring me, ‘cause he saw me, and he like, banged on the window, I was caught in the act.
On a previous press trip, I saw Ben and Lauren outside of the hotel I where I was staying. They were getting wired and talking to producers. It made me wonder how much of the show was actually produced. I shared what I saw and asked.
Ben: Yes, the whole show has producers. That’s how a television show is made. I think there’s a lot of footage for stuff. There is a ton of footage. If you only knew how much they had. And it’s cut down. And so a lot of it is produced post shoot. Because the story is displayed, and the story is shared. But there are times, I would say, and I would even say this with The Bachelor, where like, we’re getting ready to enter into a situation, and like, we’re in a car ride, and we’re like, okay, like, what are we going to talk about? Like, we just can’t sit there the whole time. Like we want to make this as easy as possible.
You forget about the cameras, basically.
Ben: Oh, 100 percent.
Ben: We have no clue they’re there. I mean, I think that’s just television in general. And it’s a side that I think is great. It’s stuff, stuff we want to do, like, stuff we are doing in life. But obviously we’re not going to, like, our crew isn’t going to be in Denver, and they’re like, oh, what are you guys up to today? We’re like; we’re going to sit on the couch for the next 15 hours. [LAUGHTER]
Unless you’re binge watching The Bachelorette. (Referring to Lauren and Ben watching JoJo’s season)
Ben: Right, exactly. So like, we try to help everybody out, you know? If we’re going to do an activity, let’s do it on a day that they’re there.
Do The Bachelor people hang out? Like, how does that work? I saw Chad on the next episode. Is he really, like, as big as a douchebag as he’s made out to be?
Lauren: I mean, the reason we invited Chad is because when we first met him at JoJo’s, After the Final Rose, we talked to him, and I just felt so bad for him. I don’t know why. I mean, he was sitting there by himself, and no one was talking to him. I just felt bad, regardless of, you know, I’m not saying that his actions were acceptable. But I just felt bad. I don’t know, you don’t know what he’s going through at home, or behind the closed door, so I just wanted to talk to him, and, I don’t know. Like, I thought he was very likable, in my conversation with him. And so, we invited him to go camping, and obviously, he’s done things that are so out of line, very clearly out of line . And acted a certain way, especially on social media. That’s a whole other thing that he’s really taken on himself. But it was interesting. Like, I think I saw, maybe a different side of him, but I also, for sure, saw why so many people have had run-ins with him.
Ben: And the question, do we hang out, yeah. We do. I think for a couple reasons. I don’t think everybody does. There are people from my season of The Bachelorette that I just don’t talk to, but there are people I talk to quite often. Same with Lauren and our season of The Bachelor. I think first off, we have a shared experience, that not a lot of people can relate with. And it does change you. Like, The Bachelor isn’t easy to do. It isn’t easy to go through. Some of the people that have been the most supportive of our relationship are people like the twins. I know when we first started seeing them outside of the show, they were so supportive of us, they would just, wrapped us up in their arms, like, we’re so happy for you guys, and they’ve seen us progress, and they’ve seen, you know, the tears, and the emotions of it all. But also, there are some awesome people. And the cool part is, with the show, for at least this short season of life, we get to do some really fun things. We get to go to whatever event together, we get to go on a trip together. Like, and it helps if you like the people. So I’d say yes, we do hang out, and the twins are a part of our episodes, ‘cause they’re a part of our life a lot.
You mentioned that it’s not easy. So for each of you individually, what’s been the hardest thing about falling in love, and now moving towards this wedding on camera?
Ben: I think for me, and I think Us Weekly had a nice little cover and they said, I put her through hell. And I think in a sense, I did. I think that was the hardest part for me because you come out of this, and you’re so happy. I remember that feeling of getting down on one knee with Lauren and knowing that I didn’t have to break up with anybody anymore. That I have her, and on your mind, you’re just like, finally. Like, this worked, first off. Like, how did this work? Like, I ended up with this woman that I’m so in love with, and that I know is going to be the person I spend my life with, on this show?
Then the next day, you wake up, and you start to realize how much all of the stuff that happened on the show is actually going to affect our relationship. The fact that I didn’t tell Lauren that I told somebody else I loved her. The fact that, you know, I did date a bunch of other people at the same time I dated Lauren. The fact that I’m still a bachelor in everybody’s eyes, for the next five months.
So, as we’re engaged, and we’re falling in love, and we’re actually starting to actually date for the first time, and we’re sharing these moments together, you know, some of my hardest moments as a bachelor is when I was stressed out, or when criticism would occur. But I couldn’t necessarily bring it home to Lauren. Because we had our own stuff going on, when it came to the show. And so it is a difficult time. That was the hardest on me because there’s not an easy way. Like, I never wanted to tell her, “hey, I didn’t do that”, or “hey, the show produced that,” or “hey, that was edited that way “,‘cause it wasn’t. My strategy was to tell her everything, right away. Like, as truthful as I could. Let it sit, let it settle, and we’ll work through it as we went. And I would tell any bachelor that ends up with somebody he really cares about, or any bachelorette, to do that. ‘Cause it wasn’t easy, but it works. But we had our times. Like, it was, it was not easy for her. Or, or me.
So do you talk about what you talked about to the cameras during individual interviews?
Lauren: I mean, not really. Because we don’t really keep a lot from each other. Like most of the things I think we’ve said to camera on interviews, are things that we’ve actually already discussed, but not because we were like, we didn’t have the discussion before we do press, it’s just more like, this is a big part of our life, and so we talk about it a lot. We’re both pretty up front about each other, with each other, and honest. Like, I think maybe we sometimes even overcommunicate. And it leads to, like, issues in itself, but no, there was never anything that I was like, oh gosh, you said that? And even with The Bachelor, when he was the bachelor, like, I was never shocked by anything that happened. Which was good, because I didn’t feel like I was, you know, betrayed in any way, or lied to. But it was also, like, hard to, to relive those things, like Ben was touching on.
Ben: And, you know, one thing to remember, as you watch Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After, we have a really good relationship, and a really, I think we’re trying to do things the right way, and trying to take time. But, one of the hardest parts is that you’re together 24/7. Like, Lauren and I just worked together, you know, in a sense, for the last, you know, since July. And we wake up, and we start doing whatever we’re going to do, and the cameras are around, and we’re talking to each other, and we’re communicating with each other. like, everything that we’re doing in life is shared, and I don’t think that’s healthy for a relationship. Like, I just don’t. I think we started to feel that at the end, was like, some nights at, you know, eight o’clock, when the cameras would leave, we don’t have anything to talk about. Like, and we don’t want to talk to each other. We just talked to each other all day.
Lauren: Yeah. (giggling)
Ben: But I would say that was one of the hardest things with Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After, was the fact that Lauren and I had to be together– and I like being around her. And I’ve told her this, like, I don’t like being around her 24/7, I don’t like being around myself sometimes 24/7. So that was definitely a struggle at times, for us. But it’s just part of it. And we got through it.
BEN & LAUREN: HAPPILY EVER AFTER? (Tuesdays 8/7c on Freeform)
Also, check out The Letter on FreeForm, following Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After.