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Lauren Bushnell dishes on first chat with Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher after the finale, Ben Higgins gives the Bachelorette advice


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/16/2016 

Lauren Bushnell and Ben Higgins' The Bachelor journey is over, but their life together is just beginning.

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Ben previously told Chris Harrison he'd love to get married "tomorrow" if he could because he's so in love with his fiancee, but when presented with the opportunity of a live TV wedding on After the Final Rose, both Lauren and Ben turned it down.

The day after The Bachelor's finale aired, the couple participated in a conference call with reporters during which they discussed their experiences on the show, how they overcame adversity together, and what lies ahead.

Below is what the future Mr. and Mrs. Higgins had to say. Check back with Reality TV World soon for more.

Ben, was your first conversation with JoJo after filming the one viewers saw on After the Final Rose?

Ben Higgins: Yeah, I hadn't talked to JoJo until [Monday] night. I guess, you know, it was really nice to see her! She was supportive and obviously she's in a head-space and place right now where she's able to move on. And I've obviously moved on. So it wasn't, like, upsetting to see her. But it sounds like she's doing really well! And we'll all see how well she's doing [on ABC] in May!

Lauren, what was your first conversation with JoJo like after filming The Bachelor wrapped?

Lauren Bushnell: We actually talked on the phone at some point after the show had ended, and her and I are friends. We were friends during the show, and obviously it's a weird conversation to have, and she was always really supportive. So, we discussed things.

There were some things we didn't go into great depth about, but I think we just wanted to let each other know that we still have, like, a great level of respect for one another and that didn't change no matter what the outcome was. And we did that early on.

So, I mean, nothing is weird or anything like that. And now, after that conversation, we've talked periodically here and there to catch up on what each other is doing.

Ben, in the finale, you said your fear with Lauren was that you hadn't experienced any tough times with her yet. Have you had any hard times yet that you've worked through?

Ben Higgins: She's had to watch me date 27 other women over the last few months. That's not exactly ideal. So, yeah, I mean, in terms of hard times, I think everything at the time of [filming] just seemed way too perfect.

And what I found out is that there are actually people in this world, I guess like Lauren, who just seem that perfect. Have we been through a lot? I wouldn't say we've been through a ton, but we've learned a lot about each other. We've had conversations that have, you know, not been easy. And I think for that, we're in a really good place

What are your thoughts on JoJo as the next Bachelorette? And do you think she fits the "diverse" description fans have been asking for?

Ben Higgins: First off, JoJo as the Bachelorette, I think she deserves it. I think it will be an interesting experience for Lauren and I to watch on our couch. But you know, how they decide who the Bachelorette is, is not up to me. Honestly, I didn't know I was even in consideration to be the Bachelor until a phone call. That's not anything I'd get involved in or care to get involved in.

Lauren Bushnell: I think Ben pretty much summed it up. Neither him or myself have really anything to do with the decision making, so.

What did you learn about each other during the Portland hometown date?

Lauren Bushnell: Hmm. What did you learn about me, babe?

Ben Higgins: Well, a couple things. One thing is Lauren is very proud of her city, her state. She took me around and just wanted to show me Portland for all that it is, because it's an awesome place.

I also got to meet her family and I learned how unbelievably great her family is, and how loving and supportive they are of Lauren and also of myself. It made this crazy experience all come full circle when I walked into her house and I saw her family for the first time.

Lauren Bushnell: I think that when we went to Warsaw and I got to see a little bit of where Ben grew up, and then taking him to Portland, there just seemed to be some similarities in terms of how just simple our dates were -- things we both would do every day. Those seemed to align.

And seeing Ben and how much he enjoyed just walking down the street and eating at food trucks, you know, nothing fancy -- just normal things -- and how much fun we had together doing those things, I think that just solidified even more all of the feelings I had for him and solidified the future and the life I saw with Ben.

Ben, do you have any advice for JoJo since she's been in a similar position of fighting for someone on the show and then becoming its star?

Ben Higgins: Yeah, well, I have a lot of advice for whoever does this next, and most of it is very positive. It's not always easy though. I think the one thing is, if you go into this expecting to be just a ton of us, you'll probably be mistaken.

It's hard. It's emotionally difficult, it's taxing, there's long hours, a lot of different dates, and you're trying to memorize a thousand different things at once. But also, I think, be open to the opportunity. This can work. It worked for Lauren and I. But also, don't force it. Don't force love, because if you do, it can be a dangerous path. So, stay open but don't force anything.

Ben, when you proposed in Jamaica, we had just seen you with JoJo and you had been in love with another woman. And then what seemed like minutes later, you asked Lauren to marry you. And on After the Final Rose, you reproposed to Lauren since her family was present. Was that something you felt you needed/wanted to do because of the circumstances surrounding the first proposal?

Ben Higgins: Well, in that first proposal in Jamaica, I meant it the minute I got down on one knee and committed to Lauren. I didn't doubt that then, and I knew that's what I was going to do.

But I think as we kind of went through this experience and we saw how weird sometimes it feels, and how she had to watch me date other women and I'm saying goodbye to a woman on the same day I'm committing to her for the rest of my life, it hit me where it was like, "Time-out! I feel stronger today than I ever have about her. Let's recommit this and let this be the start."

A start where there hasn't been another woman in my life for months, [Lauren]'s the only one in my life, she'll be the only one in my life, and let's make this the start of our relationship. It was just to kind of refocus our attention on the future and not the past.

Could you tell me a little bit about your casting experience with the franchise? Ben, when you got cast on Kaitlyn Bristowe's season of The Bachelorette, and Lauren, for you this season?

Ben Higgins: Yeah, it's an interesting process. I think it's one that is very deliberate in kind of figuring out who the best matches are for the Bachelor or Bachelorette. For me, it started out because I got signed up through some friends, and you know, there were a couple phone calls and then there's some pictures being sent in, and then there's some interviews.

I think mostly through the interviews, they find out what my intentions are, what I'm looking for, what I'm hoping for, what I'm wanting, and it kind of led me to all of a sudden getting a phone call, like, "Well, we want to ask you if you'll show up at the mansion on this night."

And I said, "Well, I guess that's a good deal." And look where it's taken me. But I think the best part of the casting process to me is there's a lot of minds working to make sure the fits are best for the Bachelor or the Bachelorette.

Lauren Bushnell: So I was really skeptical until I went in for an interview, and then at that point, it was so fun and everyone -- the whole process was so personable, and I just felt really comfortable. I think without that, I probably couldn't have gotten myself to go on the show.

And then, you know, I interviewed prior to Ben being chosen as the Bachelor and right as Kaitlyn's season was airing. So, I watched start to finish Kaitlyn's season, knowing that it would be someone from her season, and I had my eye on Ben from the beginning. So thankfully it all worked out.

I feel like there was some serendipity involved. But as far as the process itself, I mean, I obviously had a really good experience or else I don't think I would have continued with the process, so.

At The Women Tell All, Ben said he put you through hell. Do you agree with that watching the show back?

Lauren Bushnell: No, I don't. I knew what the situation was when I signed up. Obviously it doesn't mean that it's not hard or there weren't some hard conversations that we had to have, but I didn't consider it putting me through hell at all.

If anything, it strengthened our relationship and we had to have really tough conversations, but it taught us both how to communicate and understand a little bit more -- understand a situation that I've never been in.

It forces me to kind of put myself in his shoes, which I think is so important in a relationship, so I mean, I think it put us in a much better place, so I wouldn't go that far. I know that he has also been very protective of me during this, which is very kind.

Check Reality TV World's The Bachelor page for more from Lauren and Ben's post-finale interview.




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