Ben Higgins has learned that appearing on TV isn't always everything it's cracked up to be.
The former star of The Bachelor was a guest on the Thursday, Jan. 28 episode of the Click Bait With Bachelor Nation podcast, where he opened up about when he knew that the romance was over with Lauren Bushnell. The couple got engaged during his finale of the ABC dating series that aired in March 2016, but announced the end of their relationship in May 2017.
"I don't think there was a characteristic that was wrong, necessarily, but the timing of our life, right?" he explained. "I was 26, she was 25, we had just walked into this whole new world together. We were living in Denver, where she knew nobody, and then life was pulling us in a thousand different directions."
As fans recall, the engaged pair took the unusual path of starring on their own reality show, Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, which premiered in October 2016 on Freeform. The unscripted series featured more than a few awkward moments of tension, and Ben explained on the podcast that these were a result of the twosome not knowing how to have "direct communication" during the fledgling stages of their relationship as cameras continued to roll.
"If anything, we walked into it still getting to know each other, so we weren't teammates," the 31-year-old Almost Famous podcast co-host said. "It just ended up pulling us apart, but I think it pulled us apart for the right reasons. Now I'm happily engaged, she's very happily married and has a kid on the way. Now I look back on it and go, Of course it didn't work out. We weren't each other's best fits. But I also can look back on it and learn a lot, too."
Luckily, those lessons paid off. He later met Jessica Clarke on social media, and the two of them got engaged in March 2020. As Ben recalled on the podcast, Jessica was in for quite the surprise when she arrived at his home after flying in to meet him for the first time.
"She walked up to the front steps, and my driveways a little long," he said. "She had her bags in her hand, and I just walked out, and I just gave her a kiss. Not just a peck—I laid it on her. And she was just kind of like, Whoa!"
As for when he knew she was the right person to spend his life with, Ben explained that he already had his mind made up within a few months of meeting her.
"Once you have that partner that wants to support you, that's curious about you, that loves you, that you just have this peace and trust with them, that you recognize that your life is more beautiful with them than without them, I guess the question that you have to ask is, Why not?" the Alone in Plain Sight author said. "What else are you looking for? And she's beautiful."
Click Bait With Bachelor Nation is presented by Wondery and can be heard wherever you listen to podcasts.