On his season of The Bachelor, Ben Higgins gave his final rose to Lauren Bushnell—but not before he infamously dropped the L-bomb to both Bushnell and runner-up JoJo Fletcher. A year later, the couple are living together in Denver and starring in the new reality show, Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?, premiering tonight at 8:00 EST on W Network. While the online gossip mill swirls with talk of broken engagements and a called-off wedding, the couple say they are doing just great. Here, they talk to FLARE about the best part of reality stardom and that time they went camping with The Chad.
Based on the premiere episode of Happily Ever After?, most of you relationship stress seems to have to do with living in front of the camera and your continued ties to the Bachelor franchise. So why do a TV show?
Ben: That’s a good question and you’re right—a lot of the stress has to do with being in front of the camera, but a lot of it stems from the fact that we met in front of a camera, so people are going to have questions about our relationship and our life no matter what. It can be hard to relive that period over and over and over, so Lauren and I thought that [doing the show] was a way to answer all of the questions that people have and show everyone that yes, we’re happy, yes Lauren is over the issues with JoJo, yes we’re trying to start a life together.
Lauren, you especially seem like you’d rather be home in your sweatpants just hanging out.
Ben: That’s not true.
Lauren: I am more of a homebody. I wear a onesie.
Ben, you mention the JoJo situation, which is kind of the focal point of the first episode. It’s been a year—JoJo has moved on with Jordan. Is this really still a thing for you guys?
Lauren: I think at the beginning of filming there were some challenges to get over, but I actually don’t think that JoJo was one of them. Most of my problems and challenges were more towards Ben unfortunately, and that was something that we had to move on from and we do move on from. People forget that you come out of The Bachelor being engaged and then the show airs and Ben is still the Bachelor and I had to watch him date other women. That created a lot of issues with us. I also just want to be clear that everyone refers to it as the “JoJo situation” and yes she was involved, but my problem has absolutely never been with JoJo. We’re are friends and I don’t believe in women being pitted against one another, if anything I believe the opposite, that as women we should really lift each other up and I’m so happy for her and Jordan.
In one sequence you force yourselves to binge watch JoJo’s entire Bachelorette season together, where she talks a lot about how heartbroken she was by Ben. So Ben, what was the more painful experience: that or getting your chest waxed?
Ben: I would say having my hair waxed off. Especially the little when it started to grow back and it was just so itchy and awful.
Lauren, where do you stand on male chest hair?
Lauren: I like a little bit of hair. Ben was shaving it for a while and it was getting prickly when I would lay my head on his chest. The waxing seemed like it could be a better solution, but I think we’ve figured out that a little hair is best.
After being on The Bachelor, a lot of people feel like they know you. What’s the strangest fan encounter you’ve had so far?
Ben: We had a lady show us her bare butt at the grocery store. She asked us if Lauren and I sexted each other and my response was that that wasn’t really something I could see either of us doing. She said, “Well you should,” and then she showed us a photo of her bare butt that she had sent to her husband. That was super weird.
What’s the best part about reality TV stardom?
Lauren: I had no idea what it was going to be like. I tend to be a little bit more reserved and this experience has forced me out of my comfort zone and that’s a really good thing.
Ben: Part of being a “reality star,” which is a really funny thing to say, is what you can do with this platform. The fact that two normal people can be on a show and that that can expand their level of influence. Lauren and I are both Christians and I think we both feel that any level of notoriety or fame or wealth comes with a lot of responsibility. I think we both really appreciate that.
A lot of Bachelor alumni have cameos on your show including The Chad. How did that happen?
Ben: We met him at After the Final Rose and we both kind of felt like there was more to Chad than what people had seen. Lauren’s big thing was—can we give him an opportunity to be forgiven or admit some of his faults or just be himself? And then of course we had our own show, so we invited Chat to join us for a camping trip because we wanted to hang out with him. We know how this process is and how daunting it can be, especially when you’re alone in it. We felt like our show and just entering into our life would be a chance for him to just be himself.
And do you think it went well?
Ben: Yeah, I do. I think if you were to sum up his time with us, he was himself. I think we saw a side of Chad that not many have been able to see, and it’s a good side.
Finally, in the promo for week two there is a discussion around whether you fart in front of each other. Soooo….?
Ben: Yes, definitely. As much as I can.
Lauren: Oh God.
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