Kaitlyn Bristowe and Ben Higgins Were ‘Hurt’ When Exes Said Their ‘Bachelor’ Romances Weren’t ‘Real’

Bachelor Nation’s Kaitlyn Bristowe and Ben Higgins opened up about their respective exes, Shawn Booth and Lauren Bushnell, who claimed their relationships weren’t necessarily real.

Ben Higgins Says It Was a 'Healthy' But 'Sad' Split for Not 'Compatible' Exes  Kaitlyn Bristowe, Jason Tartick

“My feelings were so hurt,” Bristowe said on the “Almost Famous” podcast on Friday, May 3. “I was, like, that was so real to me. That was like one of the most in love I’ve ever been in my whole life, and I thought I was going to marry them. It was so real to me. So to hear him be like, ‘Yeah, obviously wasn’t real.’ […] Including the season and our time together, that’s four years.”

Bristowe added that her “biggest fear” was having someone “fall out of love” with her, which she felt is what happened between her and Booth. “Then to hear him validate everything, I was like, eight years later, nine years, and it’s still like, ow! It still hurts,” she said.

Bristowe and Booth got engaged on season 11 of The Bachelorette, but they ended their relationship three years later in November 2018. As for Higgins, he made his Bachelor Nation debut on Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette in 2015, later becoming the star of The Bachelor.

“It was because they are very real to us,” Higgins told Bristowe on Friday. “I mean, they’re yeah, like there. I don’t see that relationship as just an offset of my life. This was a relationship that affected me greatly and then also led me to my wife.” (Higgins, who was engaged to Bushnell from 2016 to 2017, married Jessica Clarke in November 2021.)

He added, “That’s beautiful and good and all works out in the end. But even to hear that that piece of my story was not impactful for somebody else who was also very involved was hurtful. It did sadden me. It did confuse me a lot.”

Higgins first discussed his ex’s comments about their relationship after she appeared on Booth’s podcast, “In the Booth,” in July 2023. Bushnell said of Higgins at the time, “I feel like my feelings weren’t as deep, maybe, now in hindsight. In the moment, I thought that they were or I wouldn’t have made that decision.”

Booth, for his part, added that he used to be “bitter” about his experience on the reality show. “I understand that the Bachelor and Bachelorette is a business, like, hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said at the time. “They’re there to make a show. I don’t wish I went in there knowing that because then I wouldn’t have opened up, but there are definitely things that [aired] and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, that’s not exactly what happened.’ I used to be very bitter about it.”

Higgins responded shortly after, saying he was “frustrated” by Bushnell’s comments. “That show is a real experience for me,” he said in August last year. “I invested, personally, a lot of effort into trying to figure out if it was the path that was going to help me find my partner or not.”

On Friday’s episode of “Almost Famous,” Higgins concluded, “They can say what they want.” He added, “At this point, in my opinion, I know what it was for me, and that’s all that matters.”

Bristowe agreed, saying that while she was “so hurt” after Booth’s comments about their relationship, she has taken the time to process it.

“If that was his experience, I can’t change what he felt or what his experience was,” she said. “And I don’t know if that’s true, what they’re saying, you know? They could just be like, ‘Oh, yeah, it wasn’t real because it didn’t work out, whatever.’ But I just have to be like, ‘Well, we both had different experiences there.’”

She said, “Like you said, it led you to your wife. Imagine who this is going to lead me to. I’ve got all the practice in the world.”

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