Ben Higgins may have given his final rose to Lauren Bushnell, but he found lasting love with Jessica Clarke.
Bachelor Nation first met Higgins when he competed for Kaitlyn Bristowe’s heart on season 11 of The Bachelorette. After finishing in third place, ABC named the Colorado native the season 20 Bachelor.
Higgins subsequently got down on one knee and proposed to Bushnell during the March 2016 finale. The duo, who landed their own spinoff, Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?, called it quits in May 2017.
“I would say the joy that we felt toward our relationship at the beginning was — for some reason — slipping away,” Higgins revealed on his “Almost Famous” podcast at the time. “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. … It’s hard to say goodbye to somebody that you spent so much time with and it’s hard to say goodbye to somebody that you really did believe was The One.”
While Higgins returned to reality TV to compete on The Bachelor: Winter Games in 2018, he quit the spinoff without a love connection. By the end of that year, however, Higgins met Clarke through Instagram.
“She’s a very kind, pure, emphatic and supportive person in general. And she’s not only like that to me. I’m part of that, but she’s like that to everybody around her,” Higgins gushed to Us in April 2019. “She challenges me to be more empathetic, more loving, more caring, more kind as well. So I’m very happy.”
The pair’s relationship got serious quick.
“We’re great. It’s fun. It’s just healthy … I think she would say the same. Our relationship is healthy,” Higgins told Us in January 2020. “I’m a better version of myself, a more free version of myself than I’ve been in a while.”
Higgins proposed to Clarke in March 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
“From my first date in life to the moments in between they all led me to getting down on one knee in front of you @jessclarke_,” he wrote at the time via Instagram. “This weekend I asked Jessica to give me the honor of being her partner for life. She said YES! I now officially have the most beautiful, kind-hearted, supportive, well-intentioned person to spend life with! Our adventurous ride through life together is just starting.”
Before they said “I do” in November 2021, Higgins detailed what was in store for his and Clarke’s wedding exclusively with Us. “We want it to be a party as soon as you walk through the door. We’re not having a sit-down dinner,” he shared, adding that they would have plenty of “COVID-19 friendly” food stations, including pizza, wraps, nachos and more.
He continued: “We will do our traditional dances, but we wanted people just moving and grooving for the reception and one of the big catalysts to that was I believe that we have the best wedding band in the world — Taylor Pace Orchestra.”
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Scroll through for Higgins and Clarke’s relationship timeline.