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Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham want Bachelor viewers to know one thing: They are happy. Also, they feel like they got a bad edit.
“A lot of stuff didn’t make it on the show,” Arie tells The Hollywood Reporter about what viewers didn’t see about his relationship with Lauren. The pair had actually met the summer before filming began at one of Arie’s racing events in Dallas. Lauren’s entrance out of the limo on The Bachelor premiere — which didn’t make it to air — was her giving Arie a framed photo from that event. Usually, a pre-show encounter becomes a source of drama on the show, but this is the first time the pair has spoken about it. At first, Arie didn’t exactly recall meeting Lauren. “Then it clicked as soon as she walked into the mansion,” he says. “I was like, ‘Oh, now I know, and I have to go find her.'”
Arie and his brand-new fiancee sat down with The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday less than 24 hours after cementing his status as the most controversial star in 35 combined seasons of The Bachelor and the Bachelorette. After being confronted by his jilted fiancee, Becca Kufrin, on Tuesday’s tense After the Finale Rose special — where he was also grilled by host Chris Harrison over an angry Bachelor Nation — Arie proposed to Lauren before a live audience who cheered more when Becca was announced as The Bachelorette than when Arie got down on one knee for the second time.
Shortly after, he and Lauren made their first public outing on late-night TV, where Jimmy Kimmel pressed them on their quick engagement, before catching a plane to New York City to once again face the music on Good Morning America and Live With Kelly and Ryan. During the latter, Kelly Ripa asked if Arie was as shady as she thinks he is after watching the end of his season play out.
After bouts of defending himself for changing his mind at Becca’s expense, only one hour of sleep and four outfit changes each, Arie now says with more emotion than he expressed all season long: “We’re happy! We’re excited to finally just be out in the open, and let everyone know that we love each other so much, and we’re just excited to move forward with this.”
Much of the confusion from viewers surrounds the lack of air time The Bachelor devoted to Arie and Lauren’s relationship. During their sitdown with THR, Arie and Lauren provided a peek into a connection that viewers weren’t privy to. Lauren explained why she spoke so few words on the show, and Arie stood by his widely criticized decision to film what has been called an ambush of a breakup with Becca, which played out unedited and for nearly an hour on Monday night. Read the full conversation below and watch a condensed version with the TV newlyweds in the video player above.
How do you each feel?
Lauren: I don’t know if I slept at all last night. I was too excited.
Arie: We flew in from L.A. We were still coming down from being on the show, a lot of adrenaline. So much fun.
Lauren, you are comfortable on camera in all the interviews you’ve done since the show ended. What was it during filming on the season that was difficult about being on camera?
Lauren: When I went into it, I just thought it was going to be an amazing experience that I couldn’t pass up. I didn’t think about the 30 eyes being constantly on you, everyone having something to say about what’s going on and thinking about what people at home are going to see as well. I really allowed that to get into my head and that’s why I think you guys saw me be so closed off in front of the cameras.
What didn’t make it to the final edit from your dates and relationship?
Arie: I’d say, from the beginning. I met her at a race, so for her limo entrance she had a framed picture of us, and it’s interesting that they didn’t play out that story. A lot of our conversations were really shortened. One of the biggest moments for me was on that infamous daybed where we laid back and looked at the stars. She could be comfortable finally because the cameras weren’t pointed at her because we were looking up. We talked and had a really good conversation and we had our first kiss — which they did show, the end of it. Even on our dates. Paris …
Lauren: I didn’t just walk around just saying, “Wow.” (Laughs.)
Arie: There were some silences, but we were both really nervous because I was really into her.
Lauren: It was the most nerve-wracking date because we had such a strong foundation — as we thought — from the group dates and the small interactions we had had. So that first one-on-one date was kind of a high-pressure date to see if it was a make-it-or-break-it for us. I think both of us were really freaked out by that idea.
Arie: [There was] a lot of stuff didn’t make it on the show. We went shopping. We had all these pigeons fly on us, which was really funny. We had a Polaroid camera, we took selfies together.
Lauren: There were some cheese guys that were making us do Lady and the Tramp with prosciutto. Just goofy things.
How did it happen that you met in Dallas?
Lauren: It was the first race I had ever been to; I knew nothing about racing. It kind of just happened by chance. I recognized him and went up and said “hi.”
Arie: That was June 8.
Did you then recognize Lauren when she stepped out of the limo on the first night?
Arie: At first I was looking at the background [of the photo] and I got the city wrong, because we race in a different city every week. So I remembered meeting her, but I couldn’t remember where it was. Then it clicked as soon as she walked into the mansion. I was like, “Oh, now I know and I have to go find her.” But it’s funny, I do remember her wearing these American flag shorts and I remember her walking up to one of my driver buddies and then she was like, “Hey, is Arie around?” And then he was like, “Of course.” It was a funny little moment.
How many people knew you were going to propose on After the Final Rose?
Arie: My dad knew. Production knew. They were like, “Well, you can either do it right in front of the couch or you can lead her up to the front of the stage; this is probably easier but this is probably more brave and this will look better on TV.” And I said, “Ok, let’s do that.”
You had a lot to get through during that reunion special before proposing. Where was your head at before you went out on stage?
Arie: I was more worried about just nailing the proposal. Just because it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. She’s always giving me slack that it’s obviously long overdue, and so I wanted it to be perfect. That was the biggest thing on my mind before the night started.
You spoke about how showing the breakup would help to answer questions. Lauren, has it brought you closure to see the other side?
Lauren: We didn’t watch the finale, so I haven’t seen the breakup.
Arie: We decided not to watch it just because we’re going into that live show — I knew I was going to propose, she didn’t know that, and I just wanted us to be in a place that was centered around our relationship.
Was that your choice to film the breakup?
Arie: I reached out to them and I said, “This is what I want to do.” And they said that it would be a good idea. And I agree with them because ultimately I wanted everyone to see that that breakup rests on my shoulders. I was at fault. I shouldn’t have gotten engaged when I did. I made a big mistake. And if we didn’t film that, there would be questions about that, so it’s good that everyone saw that. Obviously, now she’s the Bachelorette, I’m really happy for her and now she can move forward and find someone for her.
You took everyone through the timeline — Arie first reached out on New Year’s Eve, you started talking and then the breakup with Becca was filmed in January. When Arie came, with the cameras, to your house — was that your first face-to-face since the finale, or did you reunite first off-camera?
Lauren: That was the first time we had seen each other.
Arie: Since Peru.
What were each of your nerves like there?
Lauren: I was so excited.
Arie: I was nervous, but I always got nervous in front of her — obviously, as we saw throughout the season.
Is there one thing you heard from Arie that convinced you to say, “OK, let’s do this”?
Lauren: I think since I left Peru, I just had always hoped that he would realize he wanted to come back and be with me. I hadn’t let that go yet. So I was just more excited about it. Obviously, I had my reservations and I needed an explanation behind it and reassurance of that, but I think we’ve gotten through that and are in a really good place.
Should the show reconsider if there needs to be a proposal at the end?
Arie: Ultimately, it’s up to the lead and what they’re feeling. I feel like there needs to be more flexibility if that person needs more time. That’s what I needed.
Do you think you would have gotten even more heat if you hadn’t proposed during the finale?
Arie: Yeah. I mean, I guess I never really thought of that. It’s something I didn’t think about in that moment but yeah, I probably would have gotten a lot of slack if I didn’t propose, just as Brad Womack did back then [during his season].
Are you happy Arie decided to propose on After the Final Rose?
Arie: In a crazy way, this whole thing has made our relationship stronger. We’re going through this together.
Lauren: We can lean on each other when we need somebody to talk to and we both understand what we’re going through at the same time. We’re just very open and honest with each other.
Since you brought viewers along for every step, was your intention to show the audience your ending — and then say goodbye?
Arie: Pretty much! (Laughs.) But I felt like it was important. It’s something that I should have done months ago, obviously. And I really wanted everyone to be there. I wanted our families to be there and that was cool that they were in the audience, my friends and her friends. And now we can move forward with our lives.
You have already begun wedding planning. Is there a timeline?
Lauren: Later this year, and that’s about as far as we’ve gotten so far. I know we both like good lighting and lots of flowers.
Arie: Like an evening, sunset-ish wedding. We have our colors figured out — kind of. We have an idea.
Lauren: He will definitely wear blue.
Would you be open to getting married on TV?
Arie: Yes. I think it’s more about if it works in our timeline.
What has the response been since the engagement?
Arie: There is obviously some negativity left over from the breakup with Becca, but I’ve been pretty surprised, it’s been pretty positive.
Lauren: I was surprised about that, too.
Do you plan to stay off social media?
Lauren: Somewhat. I don’t really think we should read comments or go on Twitter.
Arie: I think there’s a difference of being on social media and then diving into it, reading everything and letting it drive you crazy. There’s some stuff where you can just scroll through it. It’s really about the opinions of our friends and family that really matter most.
Lauren, have you spoken to Becca and do you two plan to watch her season of The Bachelorette?
Lauren: I have not spoken to Becca, but we have talked about watching her season. We don’t have anything against it. We want to see her happy.
What is one thing about your relationship that you want everyone to know?
Arie: We’re happy! (Laughs.) We’re excited to finally just be out in the open and let everyone know that we love each other so much, and we’re just excited to move forward with this.
Will you take Jason Mesnick’s advice and now disappear?
Arie: We’re going to disappear for a little bit.
Lauren: We’re leaving the country!
Arie: We want to be in public — but in a public area where no one knows us, for a little bit.
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