It's been a little over a year since Lauren Bushnell and Ben Higgins broke up.
While Ben left The Bachelor: Winter Games in tears not too long ago, Lauren is opening up about what it was really like leading up to and after her engagement to him.
In particular, she's revealing more than ever about her misgivings about their one-season spin-off.
Speaking on Reality Steve's latest podcast, Lauren Bushnell describes exactly what it's like in the hours leading up to the filming of a The Bachelor finale.
"There's so much doubt in your mind."
It makes sense. When you're part of the final three, it must all become so real. A fun reality opportunity to get your 15 minutes of fame could set the course of your entire life.
"And I remember waking up that morning and I kind of had an idea that I was possibly going to get engaged and I remember having so much anxiety about it."
That is very natural.
"Looking back, I don't know if that was my gut being like, wait, timing-wise, this is too rushed or what."
Anxiety is a mysterious mistress who comes to us for good reason ... and for no reason at all.
"But I remember being really anxious that morning to the point where like I kind of snapped at my producer, which I had never done."
"We were super-close and good friends."
She says that she needed some isolation during which to psych herself up for going on camera and for the man who had told her "I love you" to very possibly propose.
"I remember locking myself in the bathroom and being so overwhelmed and anxious."
She wonders if she subconsciously realized that it would not end well.
"Now looking back, I wonder if it was my gut being like, this isn't the right timing. You guys need more time."
Or maybe she just had a case of the jitters.
"I don't know. Who knows?"
And speaking of Lauren's reality career and anxiety, remember her short-lived spin-off with Ben? Lauren & Ben: Happily Ever After?
"Obviously we had lots of talks and by no means was my arm twisted to force me to do anything."
That said ... she has always said that embarking on yet another reality series doomed them, even though it was not the only issue.
"At the end of the day, I made my own decision."
Remember, they moved to Denver -- where Ben had a job, friends, and family. Lauren had ... nothing. Not even time with her fiance, thanks to the constant presence of cameras.
"But I remember initially the show was supposed to be about Ben running for office."
"He wanted to get into politics."
This was not how Lauren had seen her life going at all.
"And not only did I not want to do a reality show, but I also really didn't want my life to be a politician's fiancée or wife or whatever."
Remember how, just a few days after their breakup, Ben Higgins broke his silence and talked about their breakup?
Lauren sure does.
"I just don't think you should ever use or let anyone around you use a breakup or a tough situation or actual personal feelings or personal life to promote something or benefit off something or profit off something."
Ben used that to garner interest for his radio show.
"It just makes me feel uncomfortable…"
Very understandable. Especially since doing so allowed Ben to define the story in people's minds.
"I was automatically kind of the bad guy and he was kind of the victim so that was a hard pill to swallow."
That sounds so unfair.
"But at the end of the day, I'm glad I kept true to who I was..."
Lauren has obviously opened up about their life together -- and what went wrong. But she took her time. More than Ben did, anyway.
"I just don't think I'd necessarily talk about those things right away."
Lauren also addresses whether, in some alternate timeline in which Ben proposed to JoJo Fletcher instead of to her, she would have accepted the role of leading lady on The Bachelorette.
"That's such a hard question. I don't know."
That's very honest.
"Honestly, I think I've realized this especially as I've gotten older, I do not like all eyes on me."
But that doesn't necessarily mean that she would have realized that at the time, right?
"I don't like all the attention to be on me. I would feel really weird having 20 guys competing for my attention and I think I would really, really struggle with that."
Ah, yes, every beautiful woman's nightmare.
(We tease -- we totally understand her discomfort)