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Lauren Bushnell: I didn't want to do 'Ben & Lauren' with Ben Higgins to be honest


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/08/2017 

Lauren Bushnell says she didn't want to film Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, suggesting the only reason she went through with The Bachelor spinoff was for her ex-fiance Ben Higgins.

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The couple's Freeform spinoff Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? premiered in October 2016, about six months after Season 20 of The Bachelor wrapped in March and Ben and Lauren were finally able to go public with their engagement.

Lauren and Ben therefore hopped into filming another reality show while trying to adjust to life in the real world together in Denver, CO.

"I didn't really want to do it, to be honest," Lauren, 27, told People of the spinoff. "I wanted to move on with our life and just have a moment that was just about us."

Lauren and Ben called it quits on their relationship last month after a little over one year of dating.

While they appeared in love on Happily Ever After?, Lauren admitted to the magazine her dynamic with Ben was tense behind-the-scenes. And as fans probably recall, Ben called off their televised wedding during the show and the pair sought relationship counseling. 

"I was like, 'I can still do it. There's so much love there for one another. If I can get through The Bachelor, I can get through this no problem -- at least we get to spend time together,'" Lauren recalled of her decision to film Happily Ever After?.

"But that was a really high-stress situation. I didn't feel like I got the support that I needed when we were filming that -- just from everyone... I felt very alone."

So why did Lauren and Ben go through with a second reality show? Lauren suggested the show was supposed to provide a platform for Ben, who was considering a run for the Colorado state legislature as a Republican at the time.

"I don't think either of us were craving another reality show or having cameras around us at all times," Lauren revealed.

"[Running for local office] was something that he did really want to do, and I wanted to be supportive of that aspect -- I was trying to be supportive of his goals and dreams, and if that meant having to do a reality show for four months [I told myself], 'It's not ideal, but I can do it.'"

When Freeform announced the Happily Ever After? spinoff in June 2016, the network teased that Ben would be exploring a political run in Colorado.

A month later, Ben officially confirmed his candidacy as a Republican; however, he withdrew from the race two days later citing "unforeseen circumstances" -- which generated conservative news media reports that Freeform had pressured Ben to end his run for office because the network was uncomfortable he was running as a Republican.

However, Freeform denied it pressured Ben to drop his Republican campaign.

"These assertions are categorically and patently untrue," a network spokesperson told TheBlaze news website. "Freeform simply shared with Mr. Higgins its concern that broadcasting and promoting a show featuring a campaign for Colorado state office could raise significant compliance issues under Colorado election laws."

The spokesperson then reportedly cited portions of Colorado campaign finance law that the network was concerned about potentially violating -- including a law regulating "electioneering communications."

Lauren said in addition to the stress of filming Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, the series forced her to rehash the bad memory of Ben telling his The Bachelor runner-up, JoJo Fletcher, that he had fallen in love with her as well. When Lauren initially accepted Ben's marriage proposal, she was not warned that he was in love with two women at the same time.

"I felt like we were stuck in this place that happened seven months ago that I was trying to move forward from," Lauren explained to People. "There were certain situations I didn't want to continue talking about. I understand people want to know these answers, but at the same time I really wanted to make this relationship work."

Lauren doesn't blame her breakup with Ben on the Happily Ever After? spinoff entirely, but the series clearly put a damper on their romance. Ben recently said in the press that the joy in their relationship slowly faded over time.

"It was the weirdest thing. Looking back, I wish I could be like, 'That's why it didn't work out.'" Lauren said.

"But I think it was just a very abnormal situation and one that [was] unfortunate. I mean, we tried. We went to couples counseling. We continued that after the show and I went to personal counseling. I feel like we gave it everything we could, just at the end of the day, it didn't feel right anymore."


Lauren Bushnell/Instagram

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