After nearly a year and a half together, The Bachelor's Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell have broken up, according to a reliable source.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways,” the couple said in a statement just moments ago.
“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,” Ben and Lauren said.
And so it goes. Another Bachelor franchise couple bites the dust ... raise your hand if you're surprised. Anyone? Hello? No?
The couple's season, in which she outlasted JoJo Fletcher (who went on to be The Bachelorette) premiered in January 2016.
Higgins, 29, proposed to Bushnell, 27, after telling Fletcher, 26, that he was in love with her as well on her Fantasy Suite date.
Despite that controversy, the engaged couple weathered the PR storm and seemed genuinely happy ... for awhile, at least.
Bushnell moved to Higgins’ hometown of Denver, where she said “post-filming was more of an emotional roller coaster than the show.”
“I fall more in love with Ben every day and it’s hard to separate what happened long ago and my current feelings,” she said. “It’s confusing."
"It does wear on me. It hurts,” she added, describing how she would watch The Bachelor online and see him profess his love. To JoJo.
“It’s like, why did I have to go through that hurt? It’s already a few months of confusion and tears and then to have to deal with it again."
Higgins added that "it hasn’t always been easy," but said that "it’s added a whole new level to our relationship," for what that's worth.
"[The Bachelor] led me to this woman who I love deeply," Higgins said of Bushnell. "She’s the only woman I’ll love from now on.”
So much for that.
Six months later, Higgins and Bushnell returned to TV for the hilariously titled Freeform reality show Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?
Turns out that question mark was prescient. Ahead of the premiere, the two revealed they were undergoing couples counseling at church.
“We’re not the perfect couple. Far from it” Higgins said, but again he insisted, "we are trying really hard and we love each other a lot.”
“We’ve gotten in arguments like any other couple, but about some things that other couples wouldn’t have to fight about," Lauren said.
"Like the fact that we met when he was dating other women. You can say that’s what I signed up for, but it’s still real life and it’s still hard.”
In the end, overcoming trust issues is a challenge for couples under the best of circumstances ... and these circumstances were not the best.
“For a long time, I was really angry for being blindsided,” said Bushnell. “And that resentment and anger affected our relationship."
"Much longer than it should have.”
The two always maintained they were “not in any rush” to tie the knot, which many observers also interpreted as something of a red flag.
Lauren explained that as such:
“We’re both ready to get married, but we haven’t set a date because we want to make sure we’re not doing it for anyone but ourselves."
“We just want to do it on our own terms,” Ben said. “I just want to look over at Lauren and know that she is completely filled with joy."
"Love is what life is all about."
And yet the rumors persisted ... and yet her went out of his way to deny a recent report from Us Weekly via an oft-overused phrase.
Higgins wrote on Instagram, alongside a picture of his arms around Bushnell, in response to the tabloid reporting that they broke up:
"No need to respond often to rumors or ‘fake news' but the feeling I have in this picture is the same feeling I have for this girl today."
"We have entered into a world where rumors will exist, we know, but ... I am still extremely lucky to be able to share life with her and be by her side."
No official word on why they split, nor do we expect it, but we wish both parties the best in what must be an excruciatingly hard time.
Bring on Bachelor Pad!