10:00pm PT by Christina Schoellkopf
'Bachelor' Couple on Chad Cameo and JoJo Drama: "She Was Another Kind of Victim"
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?]
Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell say they finally have closed the door on their JoJo drama.
On Tuesday's episode of Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? the Bachelor couple's Freeform series returned with a very awkward reunion: Season 20 lovebirds Ben and Lauren joined Ben's ex, Bachelorette star JoJo Fletcher, and her fiance, Jordan Rodgers, for a double date.
“We have to get past this JoJo business and clear the air once and for all,” Ben said ahead of their lunch plans.
The drama began nearly a year ago, when the Denver native broke Bachelor rules and told both of his final two women that he loved them before sending JoJo home and proposing to former flight attendant Lauren. Despite still having her doubts (“It’s not very fun for me"), 26-year-old Lauren agreed to meet with her former competition. The group of four talked things through and, with the help of some mimosas, finally cleared the air.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter after the episode at Freeform's engagement party, Lauren said she texted JoJo the other day.
"As of now, she hasn’t seen it," said Lauren of the episode. "I texted her because I wanted to make sure that she understood that the whole scenario was not with JoJo and I. That whole struggle for me, personally, was with Ben and the scenario that we met and how we got engaged and how he told two women that [he loved them] — and I’m not blaming him at all — but that’s what we had to move forward from. I texted her to kind of make sure that she knew that it really had nothing to do with her."
Looking back, she added that she feels only sympathy toward JoJo.
"If anything, she was another victim in this scenario, and I didn’t want her to think otherwise," said Lauren. "It was just hard for me as a person, as a fiancee, as someone who’s still getting to know my fiance, it was really hard to start off on that foot. Realistically, that was a challenge Ben and I had to overcome. Thankfully, we have. But it really had little to do with JoJo."
The episode also showed Ben and Lauren agreeing to a televised wedding. Veteran Bachelor host Chris Harrison made his debut on the show to ask the couple if they would say "I do" on the air. A handful of other Bachelor alums have gotten married in televised ABC wedding specials — including Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici; Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter; Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum; and Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney.
Next week's cameo comes from the infamous Bachelorette contestant Chad Johnson, who infamously reminded his castmates not to poke "the Chad bear."
"There is a bear that’s showing up in the episode which Chad’s on, which could be his brother? I don’t know. It’s pretty ironic," Ben teased about a real bear showing up at the group's campsite. "Chad shows up, and the bear shows up."
Added Lauren, "Ben was so excited. I’ve never seen someone so excited to see a bear. Freaking out."
Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? airs Tuesdays on ABC's sister network Freeform at 8 p.m.