Figuring out one’s sexuality isn’t always a linear journey. Sometimes, it takes time, and you need to experience a lot of things before you discover yourself.
In a way, this is what happened to reality star and former professional football player Colton Underwood. Colton starred in the 2019 edition of the US reality show The Bachelor. For those who may not be familiar with the popular and long-running show, it is a romance reality show where one bachelor has to choose a potential female partner among a pool of romantic interests. Colton was the show’s titular Bachelor in its 23rd season, eventually picking Cassie Randolph as the show’s winner.
In the April 14 episode of the US morning show "Good Morning, America," Colton came out as gay.
In his interview with Good Morning, America’s Robin Roberts, Colton said the year 2020 made him “look in the mirror and confront what they were running from or what they’ve been putting off in their lives.”
"I’ve ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time. And I’m gay,” Colton said.
“And 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.”
Colton said his path toward understanding his sexuality has been a “journey.” “I got to a place where I didn’t think I was ever going to share this,” he said. “I would have rather died than say, ‘I’m gay.’ And I think that was sort of my wake-up call.”
Now, Colton said he has been the healthiest and happiest he has even been in his life. “And that means the world to me,” he added.
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
Colton is among the more memorable stars of the long-running The Bachelor, which labeled him as the “virgin” Bachelor due to his conservative and Christian roots.
Now 29 years old, Colton was 26 when he joined The Bachelor. Prior to this, he was a contestant in the reality show The Bachelorette, where he was among the men vying to be the romantic partner of the show’s main bachelorette Becca Kufrin.
Colton and his The Bachelor winner Cassie dated for a year but broke up in May 2020. In September 2020, Cassie filed a restraining order against Coltin due to alleged harassment and stalking. She dropped the restraining order against Coltin two months later.
Talking about his experience in The Bachelor, Colton said: "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."
Colton admitted he even thanked God for “making him straight” following his casting as The Bachelor, noting how he “learned in the Bible that gay is a sin” and that the word “gay” was used in a negative way in sports.
“I literally remember praying to God, the morning I found out that I was a bachelor, and thanking him for making me straight. I remember that vividly, saying ‘Finally, you’re letting me be straight. Finally, you’re giving me a wife, a fiancée, that I’m gonna have the kids, gonna have the house.’”
"The thing I realized is that everyone who asks me why I'm a virgin, they expect this simple answer. They want a reason. And my reason is complicated,” he also said.
There have been speculations about his sexuality before his coming out, something he had denied and addressed in the past.
The panic in Colton Underwood... every gay has felt this pic.twitter.com/xB0GJPiFFm— Ryan Schocket (@RyanSchocket) April 14, 2021
In his memoir "The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV," Colton said he was confronted by his parents about his sexuality, saying that he was “curious” and would “figure things out” on his own.
In his interview with the Reality Steve podcast before coming out, Colton said he is "not gay." "I have love and support for anybody in the LGBT+ community and support that, and love is love, at the end of the day.”
In his Good Morning, America interview, Colton said he has the full support of his family as he accepts the truth of his sexuality.
“I’ve had sort of a range of responses and the underlying most common was ‘I wish you would have told me sooner,” Colton said.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Colton is filming a Netflix reality series to document his coming out.