I’ve never seen a single episode of ABC’s “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.” I’ve likely never tweeted or posted about the show until just recently, but when adorable couple Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell walked into the room for our interview, I could definitely see why the long-running show is so popular. In our exclusive interview with Ben and Lauren, we discuss their relationship, plans for the holidays, and the infamous Chad.
Ben and his fiancée Lauren – from season 20 of “The Bachelor” – are now the center of attention in their own show on Freeform (formerly ABC Family) that will broadcast to millions what their life is like after the final rose is handed out and a ‘normal’ life begins. This new reality series, Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? follows the happy couple as they prepare to walk down the aisle and begin their brand-new life together. No more exotic dates, no more fantasy suites.
Last week, we had a chance to sit with the couple after screening one of the episodes that had yet to air and while their are no more single roses and multiple dates with other women, there are laughs, ups-and-downs, and a few practical jokes that’s sure to make this one of my new favorite shows!
Ben And Lauren: It’s All Scripted, Right?
“Alright,” Ben said, a big smile on his filled-with-boyish-charm face when he entered the room. “Before we start, did you like the second episode?”
Thought the episode has aired since our interview, Ben admits to not having seen it yet, but knew the premise of the episode.
It’s no secret that since the noticeable increase in ‘reality’ shows, most people believe that much of it is still scripted and very much produced. We asked the couple about their reactions to this popular belief.
“I think, even after our first episode,” said Ben, “a lot of social media were saying, “oh, it’s so scripted.” I’m like, just wait ‘til you see next week, because nothing about that was fake.”
“There’s a lot of footage; there is a ton of footage. If you only knew how much they had,” said Ben. “It’s cut down, and so a lot of it is produced [after the show films]. But there are times, I would say – and I would even say this with ‘The Bachelor’ – where we’re getting ready to enter into a situation, we’re like, what are we going to talk about? We just can’t sit there the whole time.”
Ben And Lauren Are A Couple Of Practical Jokers
The events of the second episode of “Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?” focus around a practical joke that Lauren plays on Ben and his fear of singing in public. More specifically, his nightmare of having to sing the National Anthem.
“When I got the phone call, it was funny… I answer it [and they ask] “Will you sing the National Anthem when you do the first pitch [at theColorado Rockies game]?” And my immediate reaction was like, no, I’m a terrible singer,” Ben said. “But, because we were doing a reality television show, I was like, do I even have the option to say no? So I said yes, and then all of a sudden I hung up, and I was like, Lauren, are you serious? She’s like, yeah, sing the National Anthem.”
Lauren laughs, explaining how his being asked was part of a huge prank she played on him. “I was like, well, why’d you say yes?”
The look on Ben’s face during the episode was an equal mix of nausea and fear. “I was so sick. It was one of my biggest fears. I just can’t sing.”
The couple explained how the practical jokes tend to get traded back and forth, but Ben admits that Lauren is far better than he at being a jokster. “I try to get her back, but she’s, she’s good at it.”
“My fave– usually my go-to prank isn’t really a prank, but I like to scare him,” Lauren laughed. “So I’ll, like…”
Ben chimes in, smiling, “It’s the worst.”
“I’ll hide behind the corner of the sofa. And every time, he like, jumps,” Lauren said, laughing.
Ben tells us the story of one of the few times he was able to prevent one her big scares. “So we’re in Indiana with my family, and I see her kind of like, crawl across the living room floor,” he says, laughing. “I can just see her feet scurrying behind her. She gets behind my parents’ liquor cabinet. 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. And so I just sit down; if she’s going to hide, let’s see how long she can hide for.” They both laugh and smile at each other. It’s so adorable.
“I think she was there a good 10 minutes, just laying on the ground,” Ben said.
“But then he ended up scaring me,” Lauren giggles, “because he saw me, and he banged on the window! I was like — I was caught in the act!”
Ben And Lauren Navigate The Holidays As A Couple
Lauren and Ben even shared with us how they plan to spend the holidays between families, something most couples have to figure out as a new relationship beings.
“I think we finally figured it out a little bit,” said Lauren. “We were trying to figure it out, because 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? His family’s in Indiana, mine’s in Portland, so I think we’re going to do alternate Thanksgivings each year,” Lauren told us.
“And then hopefully every Christmas, we’ll try to go great places,” she said. “That is the one great thing about this whole show is 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.”
The couple also claimed to “have big plans” as far as their Halloween costume so we’re definitely looking forward to more on that soon! Afterwards, they said, they’re taking their first vacation together as a couple.
“There’s going to be nobody with us,” said Ben, “other than ourselves, and we’re just going to stay kind of through Halloween.”
Ben And Lauren Discuss Chad And Other Cast Members
We had to ask the couple about Chad who was recently invited along on an outing that was aired on their show.
“When we first met him at JoJo’s, after the final rose, we talked to him, and I just felt so bad for him,” Lauren told us. “I don’t know why. I just felt — I mean, he was sitting there by himself, and no one was talking to him. I’m not saying that his actions were acceptable, but I just felt bad.”
“I thought he was very likeable,” she said, “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.”
“There are people from my season of The Bachelorette that I just don’t talk to, but there’s people I talk to quite often,” he said. “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. The Bachelor isn’t easy to do. It isn’t easy to go through.”
How Life Is Different In Front Of The Camera For Ben And Lauren
Those who participate in ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ essentially have their love lives unfold in front of millions, so we asked them what the hardest part of being a part of the show was for them.
“You come out of this, and you’re so happy,” Ben said. “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, that this worked. 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.”
Can we just take a moment to pause for the oh-my-God-how-sweet-is-that moment? I told you – he’s adorable!
“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,” he said. “The fact that I didn’t tell Lauren that I told somebody else I loved her. The fact that 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 [after filming ends].”
Ben said that his strategy for overcoming much of what happened on the show was to tell Lauren everything, as soon as he could. He said that he was as truthful as he could be with her and they worked through it all as time when on. Ben said that his process is great advice for anyone that goes on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.
“We don’t really keep a lot from each other,” Lauren agrees. “Most of the things I think we’ve said to camera on interviews are things that we’ve actually already discussed. 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. I think maybe we sometimes even overcommunicate,” she laughs.
“One thing to remember, as you watch Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?, we have a really good relationship, and I think we’re doing, or trying to do things the right way, and trying to take time,” Ben said. “But, one of the hardest parts is that you’re together 24/7. We wake up and we start doing whatever we’re going to do, and the cameras are around. Everything that we’re doing in life is shared, and I don’t think that’s healthy for a relationship.”
The couple now lives together in Denver and just wrapped shooting of their first season of Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?
“Yeah, we just ended last week,” Ben said. “Now, it’s just all day, nonstop media outlets, press, interviews, question and answers. But it’s, it’s fun, too, ‘cause we get to meet a lot of cool people, and even doing this – being able to go on The Reel and sit in front of all these people and talk to ‘em, it was hilarious. It was great.”
“That was really fun,” Lauren agrees.