The Bachelor's Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell Break Up

"We wish nothing but the best for each other," the exes tell People

By Zach Johnson May 15, 2017 6:45 PMTags

The wedding is off! The Bachelor's Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell have broken up.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways," Higgins, 29, and Bushenll, 27, told People in a joint statement Monday. "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."

The couple met on Higgins' season of The Bachelor, which premiered in January 2016. They went on to star in a spinoff, Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, that aired for a single season.

Rumors of turmoil swirled in late January. At the time, Higgins denied there was anything wrong, saying, "I am still extremely lucky to be able to share life with her and be by her side."

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Why call it quits now? "They just wanted different things. They had been struggling for a while...It was a mutual break up for the most part," a source close to Bushnell says. "I think Ben would have kept wanting to make it work, though. It's really sad. They're both such great people, honestly."

At the beginning of the year, Higgins told E! News he wanted to take "huge steps in either getting married or having a really good idea of when we're getting married." He also touched on having some of their arguments play out on their Freeform TV series, saying, "I wanted it to be transparent, but some of that isn't exactly healthy to do in a public setting. So, that is meant to be private. As much as it was a good thing to show it, and we wanted to show it, I look back on some of that and say there was some nights where we just both like, it hit hard. It hurt."

Their whirlwind made-for-TV romance—and all that comes with it—was a lot for Bushnell to take in. "I have gone through more changes in the last year than I think I have probably in the last 10 years," she said. "It's been really overwhelming at times! I've been so anxious and confused and like, 'What the heck is going on?' Like a deer in headlights kind of. I think now, looking back...I can really say it's all been worth it. I've grown so much as a person and Ben and I have grown so much as individuals and as a couple, and I wouldn't really change anything."

—Reporting by Alli Rosenbloom