Pret-a-Reporter

'The Bachelor': Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell Split

ABC
Ben Higgins, Lauren Bushnell

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways," said the ABC reality stars in a joint statement.

Ben Higgins was not Lauren Bushnell's person after all. 

The Bachelor season 20 star and his winner have officially parted ways after getting engaged on national TV and wrapping their own Freeform spinoff, Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?, in November.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways," the ABC reality stars — one of the most prominent success stories to come out of the show in recent years — revealed to People in a joint statement. "We feel fortunate for the time we had together, and will remain friends with much love and respect for one another. We wish nothing but the best for each other, and ask for your support and understanding at this time." 

Their cycle of the long-running dating series wrapped in March 2016, after Higgins told his final two contestants, Bushnell and Joelle Fletcher, that he was in love with both of them.

Fletcher went on to star in her own season of The Bachelorette, while Higgins and his fiancee moved to Denver and documented their new cohabitation on the franchise's first Freeform spinoff, where plans of a wedding went back and forth and were ultimately put on hold. The experimental show lasted one season, followed by twins Emily and Haley Ferguson's go at it with Freeform's The Twins: Happily Ever After?

Ahead of their Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After spinoff, the pair shared their concerns over returning to reality TV with The Hollywood Reporter. "Our main priority was that our relationship always comes first and if something does ever get in the way," explained Bushnell, "we'll have to have another conversation because that's something that neither of us are going to allow to happen."

Love was still in the air between Higgins, 29, and Bushnell, 26, long enough to host the Freeform special Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings that aired earlier this month.

The Bachelor franchise returns May 22 with the premiere of the The Bachelorette, starring Texan attorney Rachel Lindsay. The 13th season marks the first in the series' 33-season history to feature a black lead. 

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