Lauren Bushnell of West Linn made headlines last month when she got engaged to country singer Chris Lane.
The singer popped the question to Bushnell — who rose to national fame in 2016 on the reality TV show, "The Bachelor" — in the Bushnell family backyard in West Linn June 16, with a new song he wrote for her.
"How cool that it was in West Linn, Oregon," Bushnell recently told the Tidings.
Bushnell, a 2008 West Linn High School graduate, said she and Lane have been friends since they met at an iHeart Radio event in Austin, Texas a few years ago.
Last summer, the two vacationed in the Bahamas with a group of friends.
"That's when we started maybe liking each other as maybe more than friends, and then we started dating in the fall," Bushnell said.
As they dated, Lane became more than her boyfriend, Bushnell said.
"I genuinely would spend every waking moment of every day with him," she said. "Not just because I'm so in love with him, but because he is my best friend. I can rely on him for anything."
When the moment came for Lane to ask the big question, he and the Bushnells were enjoying a barbecue at the family's home, when he said he would like to play his new song for them.
"I had known he was working on a song that he said he had written about me, and he was very secretive about it for months leading up to this moment. So on that day he asked, since the song was now officially finished, if he could play the song for me and my family, I didn't necessarily think he was going to propose," Bushnell said. "I was excited to hear the song and I knew it would probably be an emotional moment regardless, but then the lyrics of the song led to him proposing, so I was just really surprised but also extremely happy. It's the happiest day of my life so far."
Bushnell said it was the first time in her life she has ever cried tears of joy.
"A wave of emotion just completely came over me as I put two and two together. I was overwhelmed with emotion in the best way possible," she said.
According to Bushnell, Lane could not have picked a better place for their engagement.
"I am extremely close with my family and growing up, being from the Northwest, obviously that's a memory that I'll have forever and the fact that it took place in my hometown, and more than that, but in my parents' backyard — the house that I grew up in — it just makes it all the more special," she said. "I think Chris knew how close I am with my family and how important family is to me so he did that intentionally and I'm so glad that he did. I'm so glad that my brothers and my sister and my mom and dad were all there to witness it and were there to hug afterward."
Since Bushnell's family means so much to her, it was really important that they approved of Lane.
"I know Chris was worried about doing it (proposing) on Father's Day so he asked my dad, 'Hey, do you mind if I do this on a day that's supposed to be all about you?' And he said, 'Oh my gosh. I couldn't ask for a better Father's Day gift,'" Bushnell said.
She added that she has become a part of his family just as much as he has hers.
"I think they initially saw something so different between us than I had really ever had with anyone else and that just made them embrace him even closer because they saw something special between us. They were happy and excited and as time went by, he became part of the family," she said. "It was very natural, very easy, and the same goes for his family. I felt welcomed since day one."
Bushnell said no plans for the wedding have been set, but she and Lane would both prefer to get married soon. She thinks they will stay in Nashville (where they currently live) for at least the first few years of marriage.
"I do really like the city. It's really lush and green so it reminds me a lot of Oregon, so it hasn't been too hard to acclimate to Nashville, although it is much more humid here," she said. "But for now, I think it's a great place to call home."
Since Bushnell was on "The Bachelor," she said her life has changed, but the things that truly matter have stayed the same.
"Life goes on. That is a life-changing show in a lot of ways," she said. "I was a flight attendant and then did 'The Bachelor' and did a little spin-off show, so obviously life changes. At the same time, I've been doing the same things in terms of working, I spend a lot of time with my family, so going back to Portland a good amount and hanging out with them.
"I'm a little older and wiser and now engaged and living in Nashville, so a lot has changed, some of that being from the show in terms of having some cool experiences that I probably would not have had otherwise, but pretty much, my favorite things — spending time with my family and traveling — all those things have remained pretty consistent."
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