First comes love then comes a spinoff!
Fans of The Bachelor were in for a pleasant surprise on Wednesday when it was announced that Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell, who got engaged at the end of season 20, were heading to Freeform for their own reality spinoff series, Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After. The series will follow the fan-favorite couple as they plan their wedding in Denver, while Ben, a software consultant, begins a career in politics, and Lauren, a flight attendant, looks to "establish her identity post-Bachelor."
While their new show isn't set to premiere until October, E! News got on the phone with Ben and Lauren to find out why they were "nervous" to once again be in front of the cameras, get the latest scoop on their new careers and if they'll be swapping vows on TV.
E! News: Fans were so excited when they heard you guys were getting your own spinoff. Why did you guys decide to do another reality show after your season of The Bachelor ended in January?
Lauren: It was presented a couple of months ago. At that time, we weren't really ready. We needed time to, like, just a few more months of just living our life. I moved to Denver, and we were going through a lot of changes, and then we re-discussed recently, and it just made sense. Ben and I were talking about how everyone kind of knows what we're doing anyway with our lives in terms of social media and everyone wants to know and everywhere we go there's photos and questions. It just seemed like a good idea to fill all of our supporters in on what we're doing. Our lives stay the same, but there just happens to be cameras there following it. It just made sense at this point in time, but I think a few months ago, we wouldn't have been ready. Now our lives have slowed down a little bit and we are.
Did you guys have any reservations about deciding to do another reality show focused on your relationship?
Lauren: In terms of reservations, I think when the idea first came about we both were very nervous. You hear a lot about a reality TV curse or whatever, and I think most of that just becomes from the relationship then not being first because there are so many distractions around. That was Ben and I's first discussion that we had, that regardless of what we do, whether it's a TV show or it comes to our jobs, our relationship has to come first. We've both agreed upon that since the beginning and with this it's no different. Nothing is going to get in the way, and it if does, we're going to have to reevaluate at that time. Those reservations have calmed quite a bit. But at first, yeah, we were nervous because anything that could be a distraction for us is obviously a concern, but...we feel good about it.
Many Bachelor couples have said "I do" in front of the cameras. Will we be seeing your wedding on TV? How far are you guys into the planning and will we be seeing a lot of that process on the show?
Lauren: Definitely some wedding planning. It actually hasn't started. [Laughs.] So hopefully everyone will get to see it from the very beginning. Now that life has slowed down quiet a bit, that's on our to-do list, to really sit down and start planning. With that comes setting the date and a location and all the details, and I think it will be fun to spend time doing that, to have that be on the show and to have people follow that. Then of course I don't think either of us are opposing to having our wedding shown and I think it would make sense to show some of the planning that's going to be happening and hopefully let everyone see our wedding.
Ben, it was recently reported that you were interested in pursuing a career in politics and were looking to run for Colorado's House of Representatives, which the show's press release confirmed. Is this something you've always been interesting in pursuing?
Ben: Yeah, I actually have been interested for a long time. There's actually a couple of reasons why. I had been approached with the idea for running for office by a couple of the leading people in the Republican party out in Colorado. It was something that I thought would be really interesting and then as I brought it to friends and family as an idea and looked for their advice and their consulting on it, a lot of people had a reaction of, 'Don't get into politics. It's corrupt, it's not good, it's not healthy, it's a lost cause,' and I thought that's exactly why I should be getting into politics, is so hopefully I've built a foundation as a man to be a good representation of what people want and of who can lead people well...It seems like the right decision, but there's still a lot that has to happen for me to even be able to run. The current person that's running would have to drop out after the primary, and that still has to happen. Until it happens, I can't really say it's going to happen or not.
And what issue would you say you are most passionate about?
Ben: Education would be the broad term for the issues that I would care about the most, especially on a local level. I think when you work so closely with an expanding city, you want to make sure kids are getting the opportunities they need to be the most successful. I really do care about children, I think if we can really invest a lot of time into kids the future will be bright. So that would be the issue I care about the most.
Lauren, you moved to Denver pretty soon after the engagement. How has that transition been for you and do you feel settled at this point?
Lauren: I'm still settling, that's for sure. I just moved a couple of months ago and part of that settling is going to be redecorating our house, making our house our home and not just Ben's home...that'll be fun. I'm also going through a weird time were I am thinking about changing careers. My career is obviously such a public one, and just with our life right now it's been hard to be on an airplane. So I'm also exploring other career opportunities and found a new interest in blogging and fashion, so the settling is part is still happening. I do love Denver and it's been a pretty easy transition, but I think it will be nice to show that transition because every person, woman or man, in their mid-twenties can relate to using that time to find what is is you love and what you want to do for the next 50 years and that's where I'm at right now.
A lot of Bachelor franchise alums seem to live in Denver, so can fans expect to see any familiar faces on the show?
Lauren: Ben and I through this whole process have made really good friendships. Aside from Ben, that's one thing that I'm incredibly thankful for. That's what's really exciting about this whole opportunity is that it's going to be different from The Bachelor in that our friends can be involved, our families, and obviously since we do have friends that are from The Bachelor hopefully there will be some familiar faces.
Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After will premiere in October on Freeform.