Ben Higgins slams rumors of Lauren Bushnell split: I don't need to respond to "fake news"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/01/2017
Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell are putting on a united front in light of reports they're on the verge of calling it quits on their relationship.
"No need to respond often to rumors or 'fake news' but the feeling I have in this picture is the same feeling I have for this girl today," Higgins captioned an adorable photo of the couple from a beautiful, tropical location on Wednesday.
"We have entered into a world where rumors will exist we know that, but just know as @laurenbushnell celebrates her birthday tomorrow I am still extremely lucky to be able to share life with her and be by her side."
A source told Us Weekly that the Denver-based couple, who got engaged on Season 20 of The Bachelor and starred on one season of Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, are in a bad place and heading towards a split.
"A breakup has been coming for awhile," the source claimed. "They don't get along. She's told people recently how hard it is. He's a great guy, but they should split."
Breakup rumors initially plagued the couple once their engagement aired on The Bachelor's March 2016 finale, but Higgins and Bushnell always denied any trouble in paradise and appeared smitten while their Freeform spinoff unfolded on television late last year.
However, rumors of a split began to swirl again when Bushnell, 26, was photographed enjoying the weekend of January 19 in Nashville, TN, with a few of her friends from The Bachelor franchise; however, Higgins was nowhere to be found.
Bushnell later traveled to Mexico on January 31, again without Higgins -- and surprisingly without her 4.25-carat Neil Lane diamond engagement ring, according to her Instagram.
While these signs point to a potential breakup, Higgins, 28, also posted an Instagram photo on January 24 of himself getting a haircut with the following caption: "Getting my hair done for date night." Several hours afterward, the former The Bachelor star shared a picture of himself and his fiancee cheering on the Nuggets at a basketball game.
Last month, Bushnell and the software salesman opened up to Us about why a wedding date had yet to be set when they're allegedly so happy and in love.
"I feel like the last year of our life has been a blur honestly. Both of us are in this limbo of what's going to happen next. I think we're just focusing on ourselves and what it is we're passionate about and what we want to do," said Bushnell, a former flight attendant.
"I have a blog and it's like, 'Where do I want to take that? What direction?' It's going to be hopefully a creative year and also one of those years where we just focus on each other and ourselves also, and what our future looks like."
Higgins admitted he was unsure whether he'd even marry Bushnell in the year 2017.
"I'd love to say that we have a wedding planned, a date planned that I could tell you, 'Hey this is when it's happening.' We don't. People have watched us get engaged but one of the things that we've learned post-Bachelor is that it's important to get to know each other too and that's what Lauren and I want to do," Higgins explained.
"We don't want to keep jumping to the next thing because before you know it, we'll look back in five years and be like, 'What in the heck did we just do?'"
As shown on Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? in November, Higgins called off his wedding to Bushnell because he was completely overwhelmed with plans and taking that next step in life so quickly. Higgins blindsided Bushnell -- who was already picking out bridesmaid dresses -- with the news.
But around the same time as the emotional episode aired, the couple of a little over one year gushed to Entertainment Tonight about how they were happier than ever together.