“The craziest thing that ever happened to me on this franchise, which I can speak to you openly [about] now, is I had a massive parasite the whole time I was on the show,” Higgins, 31, revealed in Us Weekly‘s exclusive clip of his upcoming appearance on Fubo Sports’ Drinks With Binks. “I was in Honduras — which is a country I love — for a wedding. I get a parasite in my gut. It hits me the week that filming starts.”
The Indiana native was cast as the lead for the 20th season of the ABC dating series, which aired in 2016, after previously looking for love on Kaitlyn Bristowe‘s season of The Bachelorette. For the entire three months that he filmed his journey to find The One, Higgins had “an incredible stomach flu” that resulted in him losing 30 pounds.
“It was blamed on being stressed and anxious,” the “Almost Famous” podcast host added. “You can’t really share this after the show because that isn’t a great look for The Bachelor, it’s not a great look for the contestants. It’s not a great look for the show that I was sick the whole time.”
Higgins’ parasite posed a challenge for him on his intimate one-on-one dates, which he joked he had to “run” away from when he felt a wave of sickness coming. “That’s the craziest story that I’ve kind of kept hidden,” he continued.
At the end of his season, the reality star proposed to Lauren Bushnell, but the pair called it quits in May 2017. The Alone in Plain Sight author has since moved on with fiancée Jessica Clarke, while Bushnell, 31, tied the knot with country singer Chris Lane in October 2019. The pair announced in December 2020 that they are expecting their first child together.
Looking back on his time on The Bachelor, Higgins recently admitted that he felt an added pressure after being labeled by the show as the “perfect” man.
“I had massive expectations on who I was and at that time, I wasn’t even talking about it. But inside, I felt far from perfect,” he said on Us Weekly‘s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast in January. “I felt far from adequate, like, I didn’t even feel sufficient. … And that’s a sad thought because I also knew and I still know that [the show] is a lot of what my story is gonna be. Maybe not forever. I hope, my life story, my legacy is not built on the show, but it has been to this point. And, like, if my legacy is built on something that is not true that [is] an isolating feeling.”
Drinks With Binks airs on Fubo TV Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
Listen to Here For the Right Reasons to get inside scoop about the Bachelor franchise and exclusive interviews from contestants