If you thought the drama ended after the proposal on “The Bachelor,” prepare to laugh, cringe and sigh twice as much at the antics on “Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?”, debuting Tuesday night on Freeform.
Another spinoff is about to enter the Bachelor Nation, as Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell attempt to navigate their relationship in the real world and figure out if their happy ending can last forever. From binge-watching JoJo’s season to getting confronted in the supermarket, it’s impossible to look away from this new reality series.
So what’s it like to return to life — and love — in the spotlight?
“We didn’t do this because we wanted cameras to follow us,” Ben tells Screener of their decision to take part in the spinoff. “I think we did this because we realized that our life wasn’t going to be private. Even if we desire for it or even tried to make it private, people were going to still want to know what’s going on in our lives … so to jump right into a new show wasn’t because we wanted cameras, it was because it was a good opportunity for us to highlight exactly what everybody else was already asking.”
He also describes the show as more true to their real life than the wild and grandiose situations on “The Bachelor.”
“It’s the behind the scenes of behind the scenes,” Ben says.
There’s a reason there is a question mark after “happily ever after,” though. Ben and Lauren recently revealed that they are in couple’s counseling to help them cope with their relationship.
“Before we walk down the aisle, we really want to make sure that we have a third party that can help us sort of work through our issues and also just better learn how to communicate,” Lauren tells us. “It’s been really great for us, and it’s something that I’m sure we’ll continue to do even after we’re married.”
As far as the cameos we can expect to see on “Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?”, the list is a long one. From Lace Morris & Grant Kemp to Chris Harrison to Chris Soules to the twins (Emily and Haley Ferguson), there will be no shortage of familiar faces.
“Coming off of ‘The Bachelorette,’ I had some really good friends from that show. You meet some really great people,” Ben adds. “I think doing this show, it was important for us to highlight our real friends in real life and then also our peers that we’ve gone through ‘The Bachelor’ or ‘The Bachelorette’ with. These people are really good friends of ours.”
There’s one cameo everyone is looking forward to: JoJo.
JoJo was the runner-up of Ben’s season of “The Bachelor,” and she then went on to become “The Bachelorette.” Now that she’s wrapped up her own love story, how do Ben and Lauren feel about her and having her on their show?
“I hope she’s excited or happy for Lauren and I,” Ben says. “I know when her premiere of ‘The Bachelorette’ was airing, Lauren and I were happy for her, but at the same time I’m sure that Jordan and JoJo both have had their fair share of ‘The Bachelor’/’Bachelorette’ world, and they probably are trying to remove themselves from that.”
As far as her first appearance on the spinoff, it was not exactly a comfortable situation for Ben — and especially Lauren — to be put in, given their shared history. When asked if that discomfort has eased since then, Lauren confirms that time really does heal all wounds.
“For a long time I tried to understand it, but I don’t think any of us can really put ourselves in Ben’s shoes, and it took me a really long time to learn that because I wanted an answer so bad,” she says. “With time and with experiences and with just working on our relationship, that’s how we’ve moved forward. I’m totally comfortable with the three of us sitting down today, but I can’t say that I necessarily would have been comfortable with that, you know, like a week after we got engaged.”
Finally, we had to ask about Chad Johnson’s visit to the happy couple. A trailer for “Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?” revealed that they unlikely trio would be heading out on a camping trip together, which will surely make for an interesting episode.
“That’s going to be a really fun episode, I’m excited for everyone to see that,” Lauren says. “I think we both just wanted to get to know Chad aside from how he was depicted on [‘The Bachelorette’] and how he acts on social media. I think both of us, after meeting him at JoJo’s ‘After the Final Rose,’ we both saw something in him, and we just wanted to see who he was, where he comes from and maybe kind of help him through this weird time.”
We’re not sure whether we are excited at the prospect of seeing a different side of Chad outside of “The Bachelorette” or terrified that there is no different side at all.
Either one would make for entertaining television, and Lauren agrees. “It definitely got interesting and there were some tears shed.”
“Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?” premieres Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.