April 15, 2021
The Bachelor’s Colton Underwood—who was a contestant on the 14th season of The Bachelorette and was the lead on the 23rd season of The Bachelor—has come out as gay during a high-profile television interview, Bustle reports.
On Wednesday, April 14, the Season 23 lead spoke openly about his sexuality on Good Morning America, explaining to Robin Roberts that the challenges of this past year helped him figure out who he is.
“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,” the 29-year-old former professional football player said. “For me, I’ve run from myself for a long time and I’ve hated myself for a long time. I’m
The former Bachelor explained that he finally “came to terms” with his sexuality earlier this year and has been taking time to process it. “The next step in all of this has been letting people know,” he said. “I’m still nervous.” However, despite feeling anxious about telling the world, Underwood is looking forward to embracing who he really is rather than hiding it. “I’m emotional, but I’m emotional in such a good, happy, positive way,” he continued. “I’m like the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life and that means the world to me.”
In true Bachelor fashion, Underwood described coming out as “a journey,” and certainly not an easy one. “I would have rather died than said, ‘I’m gay,’ and I think that was my wake-up call,” he explained. The Season 23 star also said that, at one point, he struggled with 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,” he said. “And for me, I think that was my wake-up call of, ‘This is your life. Take back control. I don’t feel that anymore.”
In response to his interview, executive producers from The Bachelor franchise issued a supportive statement, Bustle says: “We are so inspired by Colton Underwood’s courage to embrace and pursue his authentic self,” they wrote. “As firm believers in the power of love, we celebrate Colton’s journey in the LGBTQIA+ community every step of the way.”
Even with the support from the franchise, however, the athlete acknowledged that he had a few apologies to make, particularly to the women on his season. “Do I regret being the Bachelor and do I regret handling it the way I did? I do,” he admitted. “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.”
In his coming out interview, Underwood also issued a direct apology to 25-year-old Cassie Randolph,with whom he ended The Bachelor season “in a committed relationship.” After admitting that he “messed up” and “made a lot of bad choices,” the reality star said that he truly loved his ex. “I loved everything about her. And that only made it harder and more confusing for me,” he said. “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.”
While this interview marks the first time that Underwood has openly identified as gay, it’s not the first time that he has discussed his sexuality publicly. While promoting his memoir, First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, in March 2020, he told Us Weekly that the hardest thing to write about was “getting called gay” in school. “The reason I say that is because it came back up when I was the Bachelor,” he added, explaining that people jumped to that conclusion because he was a virgin. “I understand why people might think that, but it was also a challenge of mine in grade school and in high school. I think I moved past it now.”
Research contact: @bustle