Just last week, Ben Higgins quoted Martin Luther King Jr. on Instagram, writing the following:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
He then addressed girlfriend Lauren Bushnell as part of the same caption for the photo below and added:
“@laurenbushnell continues to spread love while some feel it is their responsibility to spread hate, she is a light in this world. Proud of my gal.”
Fast forward to Monday and Higgins confirmed that he and Bushnell had broken up.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways,” the former Bachelor and his previously-selected winner said in a joint statement.
Added the ex-love birds:
“We feel fortunate for all the time that we had together, and we 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.”
Higgins and Bushnell got together early last year, after the latter beat out JoJo Fletcher to win the former’s season of The Bachelor.
But many fans have been counting down the days to their split ever since The Bachelor finale, considering Higgins also told Fletcher he was in love with her toward the end of his run on ABC.
Rumors of a break-up have been dogging Ben and Lauren for several months, despite their starring role on a Freeform reality show last summer in which they allowed cameras to chronicle their personal lives.
To add drama to a potential second season, Higgins actually called off his wedding to Bushnell on air at one point…
… although he still claimed he wanted to be with her forever. He just needed more time to fully commit.
Yeah. Like we said: this split wasn’t too hard to see coming in some ways.
Still, Higgins blasted an Us Weekly report of his relationship’s demise as “fake news” in February, seeking to end all such chatter with a social media statement that read as follows:
“We have entered into a world where rumors will exist we know that, but just know as @laurenbushnell celebrates her birthday tomorrow I am still extremely lucky to be able to share life with her and be by her side.”
But now the romance is officially over.
“I know that they have struggled with the show and then kind of continuing on and doing their reality show and kind of where the show stopped and then where life began,” The Bachelor host Chris Harrison told People yesterday of his interpretation.
“They were fighting through a bunch of stuff. But I don’t know. I’ll reach out to them. I’m very sorry to hear that because I do care about them very much.”
Yet, while Harrison expressed shock upon being told by People that Higgins and Bushnell had split, an insider tells E! News this was easy to see coming.
“No one is that surprised,” this source says. “Lauren was pretty open among her friends that she was struggling. She would talk about how hard it was.”
The E! mole goes on to explain that the pressure of having to seem happy while in the public eye really affected Ben and Lauren.
Another source says that “after the show, Lauren felt like she gave up everything for Ben.”
We can see this; following the end of their reality TV season, Lauren quit her job and moved to Denver for Higgins. She really had no identity except for The Woman Who Won The Bachelor.
Labeling the split as a “mutual” decision, E! concludes:
“They both really wanted to make it work, but Lauren was the only one who was really needing to change a lot of things…
“She felt like she wasn’t being authentic to herself.”
That’s too bad.
But at least Ben and Lauren have a whole lot of company.
Yes, some couples who met on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette have gone on to make babies together (see above).
Most, however, have gone their separate ways.