Reality TV Shows are a guilt pleasure for many. Whether you’re tuning into shows like Road Rules Real World Challenges, The Amazing Race, or The Bachelor, you know you are going to be entertained. Discussions will be had about who is winning, losing or cheating, and sides will be chosen. Last week I sat down with two of the hottest reality TV stars right now, Ben and Lauren, to chat about life, love, and their new show on Freeform, Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After!
(Thanks to Disney/Freeform/Marvel for this all-expenses paid trip.)
I joined tons of other viewers on Twitter during the premiere Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After a few weeks ago. I enjoyed the episode, laughed out loud a few times, and watched the stream of tweets. A few people were saying the usual comments of “this is so scripted” and we got right to that question with Ben Higgins.
I mean, the whole show has producers. That’s how a television show is made. I think there’s a lot of footage for stuff. There is a ton of footage. If you only knew how much they had. And it’s cut down. So a lot of it is produced post show filming, because it is. So the story is displayed, and the story is shared. But, there are times, I would say, and I would even say this with The Bachelor, where like, we’re getting ready to enter into a situation, and like, we’re in a car ride, and we’re like, ‘okay, what are we going to talk about?’ We just can’t sit there the whole time. We want to make this as easy as possible. So some of the, like, scenes that kind of fill the gap, definitely are. But, our big life moments, I mean, that’s just us, you know, doing that. So like, there is help. We try to help everybody out, you know? If we’re going to do an activity, let’s do it on a day that they’re there. – Ben Higgins
An inside look at the life of reality TV stars is what we got during out interview with Ben and Lauren. As I sat listening to their answers I realized there was even more to take away from the experience they have had. While their relationship has been under the scrutiny of the public eye, we can still relate. It is still a relationship with two people who love each other, and there were quite a few Love Lessons Learned From Ben and Lauren.
Love Lesson #1: Be Truthful, Let it Sit, Let It Settle
Honesty is the best policy, we all know that. But the way Ben Higgins handled the situations he had to tell Lauren Bushnell about is a good lesson for future Bachelors and Bachelorettes, as well as all of us in a relationship.
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, 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. Like, how in the…how did this work? 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? 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. So, as 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, 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 is a difficult time. That was the hardest on me, because there’s not an easy way. 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. I would tell any bachelor that ends up with somebody he really cares about, or any bachelorette, to do that. ‘Cause it wasn’t easy, but it works, but we had our times. It was not easy for her. Or, for me – Ben Higgins
Love Lesson #2: Get Your Prank On
The most important F word when it comes to relationships is fun! Smile, laugh, enjoy each other’s company. Don’t let the seriousness of life and adulthood make you forget how to have fun. Play small jokes on each other and get your prank on in a harmless way. Lauren does A LOT of pranking when it comes to Ben. Toothpaste OREO’s, squirting faucets, and the amazing National Anthem prank.
I think, even after our first episode, a lot of people on social media we’re saying, ‘oh, it’s so scripted‘ and I’m like, just wait ‘til you see next week, because nothing about that was fake. When I got the phone call…and it was funny, because I’m sitting there, and I get this phone call, and I answer it, and it’s like, ‘hey, will you sing the National Anthem when you do the first pitch?‘ and my immediate reaction was like, no. I’m a terrible singer. I’ll say this, because we were doing a reality television show, I was like, ‘do I even have the option to say no?‘ Then all of a sudden I hung up, and I was like, ‘Lauren, are you serious?‘ – Ben Higgins
I was like, ‘well, why’d you say yes?’ – Lauren
I was so nervous. I really was. I was sick to my stomach. I was so sick. It was one of my biggest fears. I just can’t sing.- Ben Higgins
You see, people like Lauren are just really good at pranks. Me, not so much. I’m a terrible liar and I feel bad before I even get started. All this talk about pranks, we had to find out if Ben pranked Lauren back yet?
I try to get her back, but she’s, she’s good at it. She’s — this is good. So. we’re in Indiana with my family, a couple months ago, a month ago, really, two months ago, I don’t know, time flies when you’re having fun. And I see her kind of like, crawl across the living room floor, and she’s like, crawling. And I can just see her feet, like, scurrying behind her. She gets behind my parents’ liquor cabinet, and 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. [LAUGHTER] So, I just sit down. If she’s going to hide, let’s see how long she can hide for. I think she was there, like, a good 10 minutes, of just laying on the ground. Waiting for me to open the door. – Ben Higgins
I’m very patient. -Lauren Bushnell
Yeah, she’s resilient. She’s very patient. As long as she can get the scare in. – Ben Higgins
But then he ended up scaring me, because he saw me, and he banged on the window. [LAUGHTER] I was caught in the act. – Lauren Bushnell
Love Lesson #3: Share Your Secret Obsessions
As things get serious in a relationship, the list of secrets becomes smaller and smaller. Quirks are noticed, habits, are shown, and secret obsessions come out. Be like Ben, and share your secret obsessions (like the Renaissance Fair) with your partner before they find them out on their own.
Since I was a little boy. 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 like, 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. You can go there, and just be something completely different, and then you go back home, and you take off your costume, and you’re mowing the lawn, you know. – Ben Higgins
It was actually really fun. We were talking, if we have kids one day, it will be so fun and great, you know, kids here, ‘cause you have all little girls in their princess outfits, taking pictures of the other princesses. – Lauren Bushnell
Love Lesson #4: Alternate Holidays
Holiday schedules can become tighter and tighter when you add in new families and kids. Growing up, we alternated Christmas Eve and Christmas with both sides of the family because of work schedules for some family members. When your family lives in different states, alternating holidays can make sure everyone is included in something, and not the same something every year. Ben and Lauren are facing this as they approach their first holidays as a couple.
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. You’re like, wait, what family do we spend it with? His family is in Indiana, mine is in Portland. So, I think we’re going to alternate Thanksgivings, so like, this year we’ll spend Thanksgiving with my family, and then next year with his. And then hopefully every Christmas, we’ll try to go great places. That is the one great thing about this whole show, and all that, 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. – Lauren Bushnell
Love Lesson #5: Take Vacations with Just You Two
I can’t even imagine falling in love, dating, and enjoying the engagement period of a relationship on national television with cameras around pretty much all the time. Well, I guess it is probably like having toddler twins in your house…you never get alone time. This is one of the Love Lessons Learned From Ben and Lauren that I need to take to heart, because we’ve taken ONE vacation alone in the 15+ years we’ve been together. Even I will admit that is sad.
We are leaving LA, and we have a couple stops. We go to Chicago, then we go to Tampa for my job, and then we’re going on a little vacation to a getaway, go to the islands for a full week. For the first time. It’s our first vacation. There’s going to be nobody with us, other than ourselves, and, we’re just going to stay kind of through Halloween, for that. – Ben Higgins
Love Lesson #6 Supportive Friends
Surround yourselves with a circle of supportive friends. Not every friend you have has to be a mutual friend (Love Lesson #8) but the friends you have should be uplifting and supportive of you, and your relationship. Being on The Bachelor provides a great opportunity to form friendships and if you’ve ever wondered if the cast of The Bachelor shows hangs out, here’s your answer.
We do. I think for a couple reasons. 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. 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. I know when we first started seeing them outside of the show, they were so supportive of us, they just wrapped us up in their arms, like, ‘we’re so happy for you guys’, and they’ve seen us progress, and they’ve seen the tears, and the emotions of it all. But also, there are 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. We get to go to whatever event together, we get to go on a trip together, and it helps if you like the people. – Ben Higgins
Love Lesson #7: Don’t Over-communicate
Talking too much is a problem I have had since childhood. It is rare moment if I’m not speaking what is on my mind. Over the years I’ve realized that not everything has to be said and someone doesn’t always have to be talking. It’s funny because talking less, has given me more to talk about when I do talk. 😀
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, but not because we were like, we didn’t have the discussion before we do press, it’s just more like, 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 over-communicate and it leads to issues in itself. – Lauren Bushnell
Love Lesson #8: Don’t Share Your Entire Life Together
Have separate hobbies, enjoy time away from each other, and have separate friends. You don’t have to share your entire life together, and nothing will remind you of that like being required to be around someone 24/7. I can tell you that first hand because having my husband home for the first year with twins was the best and worst thing ever. The help and support was amazing, but I got tired of being around him all the time.
One thing to remember, as you watch Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After, we have a really good relationship, and 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. Lauren and I just worked together, in a sense, since July. And we wake up, and we start doing whatever we’re going to do, and the cameras are around, and we’re talking to each other, and we’re communicating to each other. Everything that we’re doing in life is shared, and I don’t think that’s healthy for a relationship. I just don’t. I think we started to feel that at the end. Some nights at eight o’clock, when the cameras would leave, we don’t have anything to talk about, and we don’t want to talk to each other. We just talked to each other all day. I would say that was one of the biggest, one of the hardest things with Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After, was the fact that Lauren and I had to be together, and I like being around her, but I, and I’ve told her this, that I don’t like being around her 24/7, I don’t like being around myself sometimes 24/7. So that was definitely a struggle at times, for us. But, it’s just part of it, and we got through it. – Ben Higgins
Love Lesson #9: Don’t Be Like Chad…maybe?
There couldn’t be an interview with Ben and Lauren without finding out if Chad is really as bad as he appears to be on The Bachelor, and on social media. I’m not sure we got a really clear answer, but my take is, don’t be like Chad…maybe?
I mean, the reason we invited Chad is because…when we first met him at JoJo’s, after the final rose, we talked to him, and I just felt so bad for him. I don’t know why. I mean, he was sitting there by himself, and no one was talking to him. I was like, ugh, like, I just felt bad, regardless of, you know, I’m not saying that his actions were acceptable. But I just felt bad, because, I don’t know, you don’t know how much of it is, you know, or 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. Obviously he’s done things that are so out of line, very clearly out of line…and acted a certain way, especially on social media. That’s a whole ‘nother thing that he’s really taken on, himself. But, it was interesting. I think I saw, maybe a different side of him, but I also, for sure, saw why so many people have had run-ins with him. – Lauren Bushnell