“The Bachelor” wrapped up its 20th season with Ben Higgins proposing to Lauren Bushnell on Monday night’s finale, and now that the newest reality TV power couple is allowed to speak freely, the engaged couple had one of their first public experiences: a press call with reporters.
Higgins and Bushnell spoke to Variety and other outlets early Tuesday, the morning after their big episode aired.
“My feelings for Lauren were very strong right away. I was still going to be open to the process. Lauren definitely caught my eye from night one,” Higgins said at the top of the call, talking about the dramatic storyline that saw him telling the two finalists, Bushnell and new “Bachelorette” JoJo Fletcher, he loved them both — something that had never been done on the show.
Very cheerful on the call, the pair answered reporters questions about last night’s fake-out wedding on “After the Final Rose,” the possibility of having an actual TV wedding, their thoughts on “The Bachelorette’s” diversity saga, plus, will Higgins compete on “Dancing With the Stars?”
“Dancing With the Stars”:
Higgins says he will not compete on ABC’s reality dance competition because he wants to focus on his engagement — but he did allude to an offer.
“My focus is not on what’s next. It’s on Lauren and I. Any decision that was made post show was based on what was best for us, and I believe that what’s best for us is to really concentrate on what’s best for us and to really spend as much time together as possible,” Higgins said.
Asked by Variety if he received an actual offer, “The Bachelor” tried to explain, saying, “Right now, a lot of those requests come down through the ABC pipeline so, I don’t want to call it offers, but just people asking if I’m interested comes down from a group that is separate that me. Was I asked? I’m sure it was talked about.”
However, the couple will be watching “DWTS.” They agreed, “It’s a great cast!”
Thoughts on the new “Bachelorette,” Higgins’ runner-up, JoJo:
“I hadn’t talked to JoJo until last night,” Higgins said, confirming that he hadn’t spoken to his runner-up, after he proposed to Bushnell. “It was really nice to see her. She’s very supportive and she’s obviously in a headspace where she’s able to move on and I’m able to move on. It sounds like she’s doing really well and we’ll all see how well she’s doing here in May.”
Bushnell said that she and Fletcher have spoken a few times on the phone since production wrapped. “She was always really supportive … We just wanted to let each other know that we both have a great level of respect for each other and that didn’t change no matter what the outcome was.”
Reaction to “The Bachelorette” diversity debate:
Fletcher is half-Persian, but still, many critics and fans have been quick to slam the ABC franchise, which lacks in diversity. When asked by reporters what they thought about that, the couple stayed mum.
“First off, JoJo as the bat, I think she deserves it,” Higgins said. “How they decide on ‘The Bachelorette’ is not up to me. I didn’t even know I was in consideration to be the next ‘Bachelor’ until they called me.”
When Bushnell was asked if she had anything additional to add, she \avoided the question. “No, I think Ben pretty much summed it up,” she responded. “Neither him or myself have anything to do with the decision-making.”
Later in the call, another reporter re-asked the question, which was deflected again.
Will they have a TV wedding?
“We haven’t ruled anything out and all of the support from everyone has been so amazing that it would be something that we would consider,” Bushnell said. “It’s not ruled out, but we also don’t know what opportunities are going to present themselves, but all we know is that we want to get married.”
Why didn’t they just get married on TV last night when Chris Harrison presented the opportunity? (Higgins’ pastor was there after all…)
“For me, as much as I want to marry Ben tomorrow, I would also like a big celebration that’s planned with my family and my friends, so for me, I don’t think I thought too much into it, but it was tempting,” Bushnell said, to which Higgins replied, “It just wasn’t really an option, but it was a good try.”
Will they be live-tweeting JoJo’s season of “The Bachelorette,” like other alums of the franchise have done?
“I’ll be a fan of the show,” Higgins said. “Let’s talk about that in May and see how we’re doing with that because it does take an emotional toll,” he said, explaining that watching Fletcher’s journey will be difficult to watch, but also exciting. “I think we’ll see.”
The new season of “The Bachelorette” has headed into production, and premieres on May 23.