Fans of the Bachelor were thrilled this month when Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? premiered on Freeform. The show follows Ben Higgens and his fiancée Lauren Bushnell from season 20. The couple fell in love on television, and now they’re navigating a new life together and planning their wedding in the spotlight. Dating can be hard enough and meeting each other’s families, imagine having to do that with cameras in your face. While in Los Angeles, we were given the chance to sit down with Ben and Lauren to talk about the new show and what life is like in the spotlight and after the camera is turned off.
If you’ve watched the first couple of episodes, you will notice that Lauren likes to play pranks on Ben. In the second episode, she plays a huge one that she even felt bad about – convincing Ben he had to sing the National Anthem at a national baseball game. While the moment was funny for viewers, and probably Ben after the fact, but at the time he thought it was real. “When I got the phone call [asking] will you sing the National Anthem, will you do the first pitch? My immediate reaction was, no, I’m a terrible singer. But then, because we were doing a reality television show, do I even have the option to say no?” When Ben got to the stadium, he said he was sick to his stomach, “I was so sick, it was one of my biggest fears. I just can’t sing.” Ben’s fears were quickly put to ease when a local children’s choir started singing the anthem.
Pranks have become part of their every day life, and while Lauren may have the market on the ones on the show, Ben tries to get them get payback on the go. “I try to [get her back] when we do press, then it’s live. I try to drop little bombs on her where she has to try to fix herself. I like to say [things], like she loves Cher. She doesn’t know a Cher song, she doesn’t love Cher. I try to get her back, but she’s good at it.”
The second episode also had Ben and Lauren reveal different things about themselves so there wasn’t anything hidden in their relationship. We see Ben reveal his love for Renaissance Faires, and the couple experiencing their first fair together. Ben has had a love for Renaissance Faire since he was a boy, and wanted to bring Lauren into this part of his life. “We had the best day. It really was. I think one of the coolest parts is showing Lauren, that people can just be completely, for lack of a better term, weird. And just be somebody else for a day, and everybody acts in character, and nobody’s judging you for anything. I think that’s the coolest part is you can go there, and just be something completely different, and then you go back home.”
Lauren enjoyed her first experience at the Renaissance Faire and even saw trips in their future together. “We were talking, if we have kids one day, it will be so fun and great. You know, because you have all little girls in their princess outfits, taking pictures of the other princesses.”
Filming had ended for Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After? and now the couple is settling into regular life and looking forward to the upcoming holiday season. Lauren says they are facing similar problems them all couples do as far as the holidays are concerned. “I think we finally figured it out a little bit. 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. His family’s in Indiana, mine’s in Portland. So I think we’re going to alternate Thanksgivings, so this year we’ll spend Thanksgiving with my family, and then next year with his. Hopefully every Christmas we’ll try to go great places. 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 is even planning their first vacation together – off screen. “We’re going on a little vacation to a getaway, go to the islands for a full week. There’s going to be nobody with us, other than ourselves.”
Ben and Lauren spend the majority of their time in front of the camera, but not every moment is actually produced. Ben explains that sometimes to fill the silence, some discussions are planned. “We want to make this as easy as possible. Some of the scenes that fill the gap. But like, our big life moments, that’s just us.” Lauren further clarified what its like on camera by saying “I mean, I think that’s just television in general. It’s a side that I think is great. It’s stuff we want to do, stuff we are doing in life. But obviously when our crew isn’t going to be in Denver, we’re like, we’re going to sit on the couch for the next 15 hours.”
Since the couple met on the Bachelor, the show has had a big impact on their relationship, and still does. They often hang out with former cast members, and the preview (below) shows Chad even makes an appearance on the next episode. Lauren explains why they included the controversial character on their show. “When we first met him at JoJo’s, after the final rose episode, we talked to him, and I just felt so bad for him. I don’t know why. I just felt bad, I mean, he was sitting there by himself, and no one was talking to him. I just felt bad, I’m not saying that his actions were acceptable. Because, I don’t know, you don’t know how much of it is what he’s going through at home, or behind the closed door, so I just wanted to talk to him. I thought he was very likeable, 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. He’s acted a certain way, especially on social media. That’s a whole ‘nother thing that he’s really taken on, himself. It was interesting. I think I saw a different side of him, but I also, for sure, saw why so many people have had run-ins with him.”
Besides Chad, Ben and Lauren do hang out with old cast members and other couples who have had The Bachelor experience. Ben explains why they still keep the connections with fellow members of the show. “I don’t think everybody does. 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. 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, are people like the twins, they were so supportive of us. But also, there’s 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.”
There are a lot of different experiences the couple was able to have while filming The Bachelor, but that also includes challenges. According to Ben, while there were challenges, the results were worth it. “I think Us Weekly had a nice little cover, they said, I put her through hell. And I think in a sense, I did. I think that was the hardest part for me, is because you come out of this, and you’re so happy. I remember that feeling of, like, 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 in your mind you’re just like, finally. Like, this worked, first off, 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? And, 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.”
“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, 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 because it wasn’t. My strategy was to tell her everything, right away. As truthful as I could. Let it sit, let it settle, and we’ll work through it as we went. And I think, I would tell any bachelor that ends up with somebody he really cares about, or any bachelorette, to do that. Because it wasn’t easy, but it works. But we had our times. It was not easy for her. Or, or me.”
Even after the show has ended, the couple keeps the honesty as part of their relationship. Lauren explained it’s part of how they work as a couple. “We don’t really keep a lot from each other. Most of the things I think we’ve said to camera on interviews, are things that we’ve actually already discussed. Not because we didn’t have the discussion before we do press, it’s just more this is a big part of our life, and so we talk about it a lot. Um, and, we’re both pretty up front about each other, with each other, and honest. Like, I think maybe we sometimes even over communicate. And it leads to, like, issues in itself. 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 I was betrayed any way, or lied to. But it was also hard to relive those things.”
After the show, the couple has started living their lives together in the real world. “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. The cameras are around, and we’re talking to each other, and we’re communicating to each other. Like, everything that we’re doing in life is shared, and I don’t think that’s healthy for a relationship. I think we started to feel that at the end. Some nights at, you know, eight o’clock, when the cameras would leave, we don’t have anything to talk about. 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 all the time. I like being around her. And I’ve told her this, I don’t like being around her 24/7, I don’t like being around myself sometimes 24/7. That was definitely a struggle at times, for us. It’s just part of it. And we got through it.”
The couple is currently taking a bit of a break from the camera while Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After? is currently playing. Besides being adorable together, they genuinely seem to care for each other and we wish them the best. Tune in every Tuesday evening on Freeform at 8/7c for the next episode.
Check out more about the show and a sneak peek of this week’s episode below.
About Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?
You all know and love Ben Higgins and his fiancée Lauren Bushnell from season 20 of “The Bachelor” – but what happens after the final rose is handed out and normal life ensues? Join Freeform for an episode screening and special sit down interview with Ben and Lauren to discuss their new reality series “Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?” The show will follow the happy couple as they prepare to walk down the aisle and begin their brand-new life together while navigating the real world after the splendor of The Bachelor’s exotic dates and fantasy suites has ended. “Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After” premieres on 10/11 at 8/7c.
If you’re a fan of Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After, be sure to stay tuned after the show for the new Freeform show – The Letter on Tuesdays 9/8c. We were given a sneak peek of the show, and the idea intrigues me! Imagine if you were given a reality check by the people that mean the most to you. Check out a bit about the show below: