'Bachelor' couple Ben Higgins, Lauren Bushnell split

"We feel fortunate for the time we had together, and will remain friends with much love and respect for one another," the pair said.
By Annie Martin Follow @littlemannie   |   Updated May 16, 2017 at 3:25 PM

May 16 (UPI) -- Bachelor couple Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell have called it quits.

The reality stars confirmed as much Monday in a statement to People after getting engaged on the Season 20 finale in March 2016.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways," the pair told the magazine.

"We feel fortunate for the time we had together, and will remain friends with much love and respect for one another. We wish nothing but the best for each other, and ask for your support and understanding at this time," they added.

E! News reported the split was mutual "for the most part."

"They just wanted different things," a source said. "They had been struggling for a while. I think Ben would have kept wanting to make it work, though. It's really sad."

Higgins and Bushnell were the subject of breakup rumors for months, despite Higgins denying such reports in February. Bushnell hinted at their ups and downs in a post March 23 for Higgins' 28th birthday.

"Happy birthday babe!!!!! I'm so thankful for this life together. Although sometimes rocky you always hold my hand and support me through it, always with a smile on your face. You deserve the world, especially today," she wrote.

Higgins competed on The Bachelorette Season 11 before meeting Bushnell on The Bachelor Season 20. The pair went on to star on the Freeform series Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, which ended in November.

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