Like the rest of Bachelor nation, Chris Harrison is saddened — and shocked — to learn about Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell‘s split.
In a radio interview with Mario Lopez, which will air in full on Tuesday on iHeartRadio’s ON with Mario Lopez (104.3 MYfm), the longtime Bachelor and Bachelorette host learned that the couple, who were together for over a year, have ended their relationship.
“First of all, I did not know that. Is that true?” Harrison said in a PEOPLE exclusive clip of the interview when asked by Lopez on the radio if he thought the split was expected. “You’re breaking news to me. I really did not know that.”
“Apparently I did not see that coming. I love them both. They are really two of my favourite people we’ve ever had on the show and Ben is a really good friend,” said Harrison, 45, who firsthand watched the couple meet, fall in love and get engaged on Higgins’ season 20 of the ABC reality series, which premiered in January 2016.
After the couple’s time on the show wrapped, they continued to appear in front of cameras on the Freeform series, Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, which gave audiences an inside look at their life together post-Bachelor.
“I know that they have struggled with the show and then kind of continuing on and doing their reality show and kind of where the show stopped and then where life began,” Harrison continued.
“So I know they were fighting through a bunch of stuff,” he said. “But I don’t know. I’ll reach out to them. I’m very sorry to hear that because I do care about them very much.”
On Monday, 29-year-old Higgins — who will be launching a podcast with iHeartRadio next week alongside Bachelor alum Ashley Iaconetti — and Bushnell revealed their breakup in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce our decision to go our separate ways,” they told PEOPLE in a 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.”