2019’s The Bachelor star, Colton Underwood revealed in an interview with Good Morning America on Wednesday morning that he is gay.
29-year-old Underwood said to host Robin Roberts, “Obviously, this year has been a lot for a lot of people, and it’s probably made a lot of people look themselves in the mirror and figure out who they are and what they’ve been running from or what they’ve been putting off in their lives. For me, I’ve ran from myself for a long time; I’ve hated myself for a long time. And, I’m gay. I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know. I’m still nervous.”
He went on to share the relief he feels, “I’m emotional, but I’m emotional in such a good, happy, positive way. I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life and that means the world to me.” Compared to a dark place in his life prior, he recalled how he felt at one point, “I would have rather died than said, ‘I’m gay,’ and I think that was sort of my wake-up call.”
Underwood even revealed he had suicidal thoughts, “There was a moment in L.A. that I woke up and I didn’t think I was going to wake up. I didn’t have the intentions of waking up. And I did. And I think for me, I think that was my wake-up call of, ‘This is your life. Take back control.'”
JUST IN: Former “Bachelor” star @Colton Underwood speaks his truth and comes out to @robinroberts: “I’m gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it… I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life.” https://t.co/PoYJUAPBpA pic.twitter.com/isP7SptUu7— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 14, 2021
As for his time on The Bachelor, Roberts asked him to address people who will feel that he may have misled the women and the public by searching for a wife on television. “Do I regret being The Bachelor and do I regret handling it the way I did? I do. I do think I could have handled it better. I just wish I wouldn’t have dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was. I genuinely mean that,” he said.
Underwood knew he was “different” since was 6-years-old, but didn’t know what that meant until high school of his freshman year did he realize he was gay. Growing up in the Catholic church, he said, “I learned in the Bible that [to be] gay is a sin” and how as an athlete, the word “gay” was used negatively. “There are a lot of things where I look back and say, ‘No wonder I held it in.'”
Since coming out to his friends and family, he said their responses made him feel that he wished he had had more faith in those people in his life. “The only reason I’m sitting down with you today is because I have the love and support of my friends and my family.”
Underwood offered an apology to his Bachelor ex, Cassie Randolph, saying, “I messed up. I made a lot of bad choices. I loved everything about her. And that only made it harder and more confusing for me. I’m sorry for the pain and emotional stress I caused. I wish it wouldn’t have happened the way it did. I wish that I would have been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else.”
Underwood was a former NFL player and was marketed as the “virgin Bachelor” by ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He first appeared on the franchise during the 2018 cycle of The Bachelorette. Prior to his elimination, Underwood revealed on the show that he was a virgin, citing his Catholic values. He later appeared on summer spinoff series Bachelor in Paradise before going on to lead his own cycle, where the franchise’s first virgin star would divulge more about how his past relationships impacted the personal choice.
In March 2020, Underwood published tell-all memoir The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV that further divulges about his virginity, sexuality, and his relationship with Randolph.
He said in the book, “Even while my season was airing, I battled the gay [rumors]. They’d say, ‘He’s gay, he’s hiding it.’ No. But I’ve been there, done that now. I finally found somebody I really just want to be with. I want my life to be with Cassie. I know who I am. And that’s really all that matters.”
Underwood and Randolph called it quits shortly after he recovered from COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. Randolph filed a restraining order against Underwood over alleged harassment and stalking that she subsequently dropped in the fall of 2020. According to the police report, Randolph claimed Underwood put a tracking device on her car.
Underwood has settled down in Denver, closer to his family, and says that he has grown closer to God: “I used to wake up in the morning and pray for him to take the gay away. I used to pray for him to change me and I can now wake up and pray to God and I can actually have faith and I can go into church and be present; not have it be conditional on this topic of, ‘Take this off my plate and I’ll still worship you and I’ll still be there.’ It’s more, I’m closer to Him. And that’s helped.”
As for the romantic department with men, he shared that he hasn’t made an emotional connection yet. “I’ve never allowed myself to and it’s never been, sort of, in my cards to let myself get there. And, I want to more than anything. I’m looking for someone who can push me and challenge me in all the great ways.”
Executive producers of The Bachelor said in a statement, “We are so inspired by Colton Underwood’s courage to embrace and pursue his authentic self. As firm believers in the power of love, we celebrate Colton’s journey in the LGBTQIA+ community every step of the way.”
Watch the full interview below: