Lauren B gets Bachelor Ben's final rose
West Linn High grad accepts his marriage proposal, too, in the reality TV show's dramatic conclusion
It certainly wasnt your traditional love story. But after two months of twists and turns on a reality TV show dedicated to helping couples find their perfect partner, "Lauren B" and Ben Higgins are now engaged.
Higgins got down on one knee during the dramatic conclusion to ABC's The Bachelor on Monday night, and West Linn's own Lauren Bushnell accepted his proposal. The happy couple then appeared on a live "After the Final Rose" show to talk about their journey, reflect on their sometimes tumultuous experience and reveal whats next in their lives.
JoJo Fletcher, the other finalist for Higgins' affections, also appeared on the live broadcast to talk about her experience and speak with Higgins about their dramatic on-air breakup. (Fletcher has agreed to be the next "Bachelorette" when the series returns in the fall.) While there were tense moments, the night ended on a high note: Higgins and Bushnells families including Lauren's parents, Dave and Kristin, and siblings Mollie, Bryant and Brett joined the couple on stage. There, for a second time, Higgins proposed to Bushnell so that the two families could celebrate together.
Bushnell and Higgins have since appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Good Morning America" and "The View," among many other national television shows. But while the craziness that comes with winning The Bachelor has only just begun, Dave Bushnell says the shows conclusion was a happy moment for his whole family.
Hes an unbelievably fine young man, he says of Higgins. The family loves him and hes great with Lauren. Before the hometown date was known by the public and it was official they were coming back to West Linn, people kept asking me if he was a nice guy. Until then I couldnt say I had even met him I had to pretend I only knew what I had seen from TV. It was hard for all of us to constantly watch what we said to people, so were glad we can openly talk about Lauren and Ben now."
Bushnell and Higgins have been engaged since taping of the show ended in November, but they had to keep their relationship under wraps due to contractual obligations. Mondays finale means Bushnells family can finally talk about Lauren and Ben and what the past few months have really been like.
"Hes the real deal," Dave Bushnell says, "and theyre a great young couple.
Lauren said before the finale episode that she was skeptical of the shows premise when taping began, and that she didn't want to change who she was just to compete with other women. She said she thinks she stayed true to herself the whole time, which she credited as the primary reason she was able to develop such an authentic relationship with Higgins.
"It progressed how a relationship should," she said. "Especially on our first date, we talked about a lot of things you might not typically talk about. We talked about family and our beliefs, the things we want in life. It set the stage for the rest of it, and the chemistry was there from the get-go."
Dave Bushnell says he never anticipated his daughter falling in love on national television, and watching the events unfold with the rest of America brought its challenges. But he says hes happy with how everything turned out in the end.
When your kids are born and youre holding her in your arms, you dont say, I hope she finds the man of her dreams on a reality TV show someday,' Bushnell said. But what she told us when she was interviewing for the show, and what she said going into it, was that at the end she would never move forward in a relationship if she didnt love him. We felt really good that shed make the right decision, and it just so happened that they really did fall in love.
One moment from the March 14 finale that has been a topic of discussion for diehard fans of the show was Higgins' phone call to Dave Bushnell just before the eventual proposal. While the moment might have seemed staged, Bushnell said it played out almost exactly how it was portrayed on television. He said he was as surprised as everyone, but appreciated the gesture.
When we were doing the hometown visit, what the producers didnt show was that Ben asked for her hand in marriage and I told him to wait and give me a call when he was sure Lauren was the one he wanted to marry, Bushnell said. He stayed true to his word. One day, when I was on (a freeway in Los Angeles) heading to the airport to fly home from work, I got a text from the producer to talk with Ben. I pulled over and took an exit to a strip mall, and sure enough, Ben gave me a call and asked for my blessing. I think the effort to take the time to do that really sums up what kind of a person he is.
Lauren Bushnell said during the live broadcast Monday night that she will move in with Higgins in his Denver home in the coming weeks. Dave Bushnell confirmed that fact, and said his daughter hopes to resume her work soon as a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines.
He said the entire Bushnell family plans to fly to Higgins' hometown of Warsaw, Indiana, in the next couple of months to spend more time with Higgins family. He says hes not sure where Ben and Lauren will ultimately settle down, but that the pair is excited to start their real lives away from the spotlight.
The experience is hard to put it into words. Were just so proud of her, Bushnell said. Shes stayed true to herself and were happy about that. I know Bens family feels the same way, and everyone is excited to start our lives together.