Ben Higgins says he has had enough with the haters who are blasting his breakup with former fiancée Lauren Bushnell. Higgins, who starred on the 20th season of The Bachelor, posted a lengthy message on Instagram in which he admits his post-Bachelor life did not go the way he had hoped. But Ben made it clear that he will not tolerate “negative comments or indecently hateful words” being said about him or his broken engagement.
“I cannot focus on the negative comments or indecently hateful words being said about me or my relationship even though they do sting,” Higgins wrote.
“I will once again clearly tell you I AM NOT PERFECT as none of us are and I have never claimed to be. … The last few months have not gone the way I would have preferred. My relationships have changed drastically and what I envisioned my life was going to be has been redirected.”
Ben Higgins has taken some heat for jumping right into a new podcast gig with fellow Bachelor alum Ashley Iaconnetti within days after his split from Bushnell. Some critics have questioned if Ben was even on The Bachelor for the right reasons or if he was just looking for fame. But Higgins explains that the Ben and Ashley: Almost Famous podcast is not his full-time job and that it was merely an additional opportunity that was presented to him.
“To be clear, not that this should be a surprise, but this podcast is a professional decision I have made to enhance my life and career,” Ben wrote in his Instagram caption. “I am still running Generous Coffee company. I still have a blog. I am still actively involved in @humanityandhope. And now, because I was given the opportunity, I have added a podcast with a friend and a great company (@iheartradio) to talk about life (and I love to talk).”
You are going to hurt somebody, you are going to hurt somebody deeply. But, I will not be one of those people. I cannot focus on the negative comments or indecently hateful words being said about me or my relationship even though they do sting. I do know great people that I care about deeply that comments and criticisms have affected and as a result I wanted to share my words. A small minority of people (at least I will continue to believe it is a small minority) want to see people suffer or fail. Personally, my basis for judging myself is simple, if I do something that doesn’t represent Christ then I will listen to the opinions and words from family and friends who know me best and love me. I do desire (by the direction of family and peers) to become a better person daily. I know some will not agree with my intentions but in all things my pursuit is to represent Christ better. With that, I will once again clearly tell you I AM NOT PERFECT as none of us are and I have never claimed to be. I do desire to show love in all situations (do I always do that? No, I fail often). To be clear, not that this should be a surprise, but this podcast is a professional decision I have made to enhance my life and career. I still have a full time job. I am still running Generous Coffee company. I still have a blog. I am still actively involved in @humanityandhope. And now, because I was given the opportunity, I have added a podcast with a friend and a great company (@iheartradio) to talk about life (and I love to talk). The last few months have not gone the way I would have preferred. My relationships have changed drastically and what I envisioned my life was going to be has been redirected. It is sad, but it is nothing you should feel sorry for me about, life happens both the good and bad. With this, what do you think I should do now? For all of you that have given me advice let me give you some from my heart. Love as hard as you can (even to strangers). Ask yourself what life is about and pursue your conclusion with passion. When a good opportunity comes your way that fits your desires take it, because life is short but a lot more fun when you are doing something you enjoy.
Higgins made headlines almost immediately after his podcast debut for seemingly throwing Bushnell under the bus during an on-air chat with Iaconnetti. Ben had implied that Lauren left him with no furniture except the bed he purchased in college, a wicker chair, and his whiskey cart when she moved out of their Denver pad. Bushnell received flack from online haters after Ben unintentionally painted the picture of her as a spiteful ex.
I have such a great idea! Let's all be kind to one another today.— Lauren Bushnell (@LaurenBushnell3) May 20, 2017
Higgins later took to Twitter to apologize for comments he made that perceived Lauren “in a negative way.”
“This week on the Almost Famous podcast I talked about the furnishings Lauren moved out and want to clarify my statements that have been reported through the media,” Ben wrote on Twitter.
“I am not sleeping on just a college mattress nor are there just two mirrors on the wall of my home. Lauren left many pieces of furniture to try and make me as comfortable as possible in a very uncomfortable situation. She went out of her way to actually purchase some new things for my place as well…I spoke too soon and didn’t fully disclose the situation. I feel bad that the story told was not accurate and perceived Lauren in a negative way.”
Ben Higgins has been in defense mode for much of his time in the public eye. Even during his starring Bachelor stint, Ben was criticized for daring to tell two women—Bushnell and fellow contestant JoJo Fletcher—that he was in love with them. Higgins was the first and only Bachelor star to drop the L word twice, and he received a lot of backlash for leading two women on.
“That was my feelings at the time — it was my feelings in this situation,” Ben later told Us Weekly. “I don’t regret being honest.”
In addition to his eyebrow-raising “I love you” faux pas, some critics questioned Ben’s intentions when his engagement to Bushnell spawned the Freeform spinoff Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After. The show lasted one season and featured cameos from notorious Bachelor alums Chris Soules and Chad Johnson.
Bachelor host Chris Harrison admitted that Ben and Lauren had an uphill battle when they took their reality TV relationship out into the real world.
“I know that they have struggled with the show and then kind of continuing on and doing their reality show and kind of where the show stopped and then where life began,” Harrison told iHeartRadio’s ON With Mario Lopez shortly after Ben and Lauren’ split. “So I know they were fighting through a bunch of stuff.”
As For Ben Higgins’ ex, Entertainment Tonight reports that Lauren Bushnell is working as a model and starting an online boutique with pal Amanda Stanton, who also vied for Ben’s heart onThe Bachelor.
[Featured Image by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia]