Lauren Bushnell Ben Higgins split official

While rumors have been circulating for months that the fledgling relationship of Lauren Bushnell, 27 and fiancee Bachelor Ben Higgins, 29 was on the rocks, nothing has been official until today. The couple made a formal announcement via PEOPLE magazine.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways,” they tell PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. “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.”

The news comes just before the premiere of The Bachelorette next Monday. Higgins was one of the most beloved Bachelor’s in history and his relationship with Lauren seemed as solid as their Christian faith, but alas, the two have decided to go their separate ways.

There were signs–like when Ben told BOTH his finalists that he was in love with them and when Ben was allegedly still talking to his ex-girlfriend. Additionally Lauren has been spending weekends in Nashville, Tortuga and Stagecoach sans fiancée. And perhaps the most telling indication that things were over was when Lauren went to Mexico recently with her family to celebrate her birthday and Ben was nowhere in sight!

The Bachelorette premieres MONDAY, MAY 22 at 9|8c!

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