Ahead of the episode, Lauren was apparently bombarded with fan questions so she felt the need to release a statement on her Instagram Stories.
“Whoa! So many questions about why I’m not promoting the season of The Bachelor re-airing or if I’m watching,” Lauren began her post.
Ben and Lauren got engaged during the finale that aired in March 2016, and it was widely believed Ben had nothing but the best of intentions and the couple was truly in love. Lauren even moved from the home she loved in California to be with Ben in Denver, CO.
But the pair announced their decision to split and part ways in May 2017.
“Chris and I won’t be watching but it sounds like a fun walk down memory lane!” Lauren, who currently lives in Nashville with Chris, wrote in her Sunday post.
“I’m very thankful for the show and the experience. Have nothing but respect for everyone I shared that chapter with including the producers, Ben, and all the lifelong friendships I made.”
Lauren continued, “I know with all my heart that it all [led] me to where I am today. I’m not sure I would have met my husband had I not put myself out there and gone on the show. I’m a better person for it — but that chapter doesn’t define who I am and it never did!”
Lauren went on to thank fans for “all the love and support always.”
“I don’t always talk about it all — I’d rather let others do all the talking,” Lauren wrote with a crying-laughing emoticon.
“But that’s not because I didn’t enjoy the experience. I’ve just moved on and am incredibly happy now.”
Shortly after going public with their breakup in Spring 2017, Ben said on his The Ben and Ashley I: Almost Famous Podcast, “I think mutually Lauren and I saw that life was getting more difficult.”
“I would say the joy that we felt toward our relationship at the beginning was — for some reason — slipping away,” Ben added.
“And we were both working very hard to bring that joy back. And it just never seemed to get there. So it was a long time coming but it wasn’t necessarily like we dragged it out.”
In June 2018, Lauren explained on Reality Steve spoiler blogger Steve Carbone’s podcast there was not “one main reason” why her relationship with Ben failed.
“It wasn’t this bad blood situation or blow-up fight — it’s nothing I can really pinpoint. It just came down to compatibility… I don’t necessarily think at the end of the day we were the most compatible,” Lauren said at the time.
“Coming out of a show like The Bachelor is very stressful,” admitted Lauren, who said she craved normalcy after getting engaged.
While Lauren was dealing with negative press — including gossip about Ben’s love for JoJo Fletcher on his season — and trying to adjust to her new life with Ben in Denver, the pair starred in a Freeform spinoff titled Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, which featured a lot of ups and downs in their relationship.
Lauren had trouble finding a career that suited her and said she didn’t want to be Ben’s “almost housewife,” and Ben had called off their televised wedding due to cold feet.
“Then having to rewatch everything adds a whole other level of stress. And then I think the second spinoff show was also a lot of stress,” Lauren explained to Reality Steve.
Lauren admitted she wasn’t excited about the Freeform spinoff because she was still overwhelmed by sudden life changes, but Ben was trying to get into politics at the time and thought the show would be “a great platform” for his career aspirations. (The show’s direction ultimately evolved into Ben and Lauren planning — and Ben later calling off — a televised wedding).
“Obviously we had lots of talks and by no means was my arm twisted to force me to do anything. At the end of the day, I made my own decision, but I remember initially the show was supposed to be about Ben running for office,” Lauren explained.
“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 fiancee or wife or whatever. That’s just not something I want in my life… Politics is not necessarily something I want to get into.”
Reports circulated for months before Ben and Lauren’s breakup that the California girl was struggling to love their life in Denver and the pair were frequently fighting.
While it took quite a while for Ben to get over the split and find himself ready to date again, Lauren moved on within a couple of months by getting romantically involved with Devin Antin, whom she had met on Tinder prior to appearing on The Bachelor.
Lauren and Devin split in Summer 2018, and then she moved on with Chris. Meanwhile, Ben made an appearance on The Bachelor Winter Games but didn’t find love until Jess.
Ben announced he was in a new relationship in January 2018, but he waited several more weeks before revealing his girlfriend’s identity and going Instagram official with Jess.
Ben revealed last month on his podcast that he and Jess are “happily engaged” and “having a great time being engaged.”