Ben Higgins Instead Of Arie Luyendyk Jr.? Ashley Iaconetti Says Ben Turned Down ‘Bachelor’

David BeckerGetty Images for iHeartMedia

Could Bachelor viewers have been watching Ben Higgins search for a wife again instead of Arie Luyendyk Jr.? Possibly, according to someone very close to Ben and the franchise. During the latest episode of The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast, posted on Friday, Ashley Iaconetti talked about the breakdown that Ben had on The Bachelor Winter Games and his decision to leave the show early because he wasn’t yet ready for love again after his breakup with Lauren Bushnell.

During the podcast, which had Ashley’s now-boyfriend Kevin Wendt filling in for Ben, Ashley read a viewer’s question of whether Ben is going to be the next Bachelor. Ashley pointed out that many people thought Ben’s exit from Bachelor Winter Games perfectly set up him to be the next Bachelor.

“That is so funny because I think that a lot of people interpreted his exit as the perfect exit to make him Bachelor again.”

Ashley then revealed that the franchise’s producers actually wanted Ben to be the Bachelor lead again this year. According to Ashley, Ben turned down the offer. Ashley added that while Ben turned down the opportunity, she expects Ben to return to the franchise sometime in the future.

“They wanted him to be Bachelor again this year. He turned down the offer this year, but I do think that Bachelor Winter Games exit is something. That cannot be his finale in this franchise.”

As for when that would happen, Ashley gave her opinion that viewers may see him be the star again soon.

“I don’t think that would happen this September, but I could see him maybe the following September. I think that [Winter Games] has proven that he’s not one hundred percent ready to jump into that specific environment. Dating off-camera, he’s getting there, but not on-camera again.”

On The Bachelor Winter Games, Ben Higgins had a tearful conversation with host Chris Harrison in which he admitted that he was still broken up about his split from Lauren Bushnell, to whom he got engaged at the end of his Bachelor season. Ben cried as he talked about how hurtful the public questioning and criticism of his relationship has been. He admitted that he wasn’t yet ready to throw himself into another relationship because he wouldn’t be able to survive another breakup.

Interestingly enough, the current Bachelor season shares some similarities with Ben’s season. Like Ben, who told both of his final two women, JoJo Fletcher and Lauren Bushnell, that he loves them, Arie Luyendyk Jr. has told both of his final two women, Becca Kufrin and Lauren Burnham, that he loves them. Also, Arie’s Lauren not only has the same initials as Lauren Bushnell but they are also slim blondes.

Could Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s action of telling both of his finalists that he loves them cause friction with his final pick when the finale airs next week? After all, it did for Ben Higgins. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, during the premiere episode of Ben and Lauren’s spin-off show, Lauren Bushnell admitted that she and Ben fought over him telling JoJo Fletcher that he loved her and that it caused “resentment” in their relationship.