Colton Underwood, who appeared on The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and starred as The Bachelor, came out in an emotional interview
This year has had no shortage of major Bachelor franchise news, as the series grapples with its history of racism, announced it would air two Bachelorette seasons in the same summer, and is still dodging questions about what will become of host and producer Chris Harrison, who “stepped away” after giving a remarkably racist interview to Black former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. But Bachelor fans woke up this morning to yet another bombshell: Colton Underwood just came out as gay.
In an emotional interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, the former Bachelor opened up about his sexuality and the strictly Catholic upbringing that caused him to hide it for so long.
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
“Obviously this year’s 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 and I’ve hated myself for a long time, and I’m gay. I came to terms with that that earlier this year and have been processing it,” Underwood said. “The next step in all of this was sort of letting people know. I’m still nervous, but it’s been a journey for sure.”
He added, “I’m emotional, but I’m emotional in such a good, happy positive way. I’m like the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. That means the world to me.”
Underwood first appeared as a contestant on Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette. He we on to appear on Bachelor in Paradise, and then was made the lead for the 23rd season of The Bachelor. In his interview, he addressed his time in the franchise, which happened while he was battling with his own sexuality.
“I thought a lot about this…Do I regret being The Bachelor? And handling it the way that I did?” he said. “I do think I could have handled it better, I’ll say that. I just wish I wouldn’t have dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was. I genuinely mean that, but I also at the same time I can say ‘I’m sorry’ to all of those women, I can also say ‘thank you,’ because without them and without the Bachelor franchise, I don’t know if this would have ever come out.”
Roberts also asked him what gave him the courage to come out, and Underwood answered, “I got into a place for me in my personal life that was dark and bad. I can list a bunch of different things, but they’d all be excuses. I think overall the reason why now is because I got to a place where I didn’t think I was ever going to share this. I would rather have died than say ‘I’m gay,’ and I think that was sort of my wake up call.”
He also said that before making the decision to come out, he struggled with thoughts of suicide and attempted to kill himself in L.A.
“There was a moment in L.A. that I woke up and I didn’t think I was going to wake up,” Underwood said. “I didn’t have the intentions of waking up, and I did. And I think for me that was my wake up call, that, ‘This is your life. Take back control.’ I think looking back even beyond that is… even just suicidal thoughts and driving my car close to a cliff, like, ‘Oh, if this goes off the cliff, it’s not that big of a deal.’ I don’t feel that anymore.”
Underwood explained that his background, growing up in a strict Catholic family in conservative Indiana, made his struggle intensely with his sexuality. He has said in past interviews that his time on The Bachelor helped him realize he was not gay. He addressed that in his interview with Roberts, too.
“I literally remember praying to God the morning I found out that I was The Bachelor and thanking Him for making me straight,” Underwood said. “I remember that vividly, of saying, ‘Finally, you’re letting me be straight. Finally, you’re giving me a wife, a fiancée, and then I’m going to have the kids, then I’m going to have the house, and then I’m going to have all this.’ I’ve known that I’ve been different since the age of six, and I couldn’t process it and put my finger on it until high school, my freshman year, when I knew I was gay. And by that time I had already grown up in the Catholic church, I have gone to Catholic grade school, I learned in the Bible that gay is a sin. I had made mistakes in my sports and in my athletic career, and when you make mistakes, ‘that play was gay’ or that was a bad… gay was always affiliated with a connotation of negativity, and I think there’s a lot of things when I look back, like, ‘No wonder I held it in.'”
.@colton tells @robinroberts that coming out as gay has made him closer to God: “I used to pray for Him to change me and … [now] I can actually have faith and go into church and be present and not have it be conditional on this.” https://t.co/PoYJUAPBpA pic.twitter.com/e8LwmmtPFy
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 14, 2021
In recent years, Underwood has been in the headlines mostly for the contentious end of his relationship with Cassie Randolph, whom he met while he was The Bachelor. The two dated for just under two years, and after they broke up, she filed for a restraining order, saying he had sent her harassing texts and placed a tracking device on her car.
“I would like to say sorry for how things ended. I messed up, I made a lot of bad choices,” Underwood said about the relationship. “If I’m being very honest, I loved everything about her. And it’s hard for me to articulate exactly what my emotions were, and going through that relationship with her was, because I obviously had an internal fight going on. I would just say that I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I’m sorry for any 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.”
Luckily, Underwood said the response to his coming out has been mostly positive, and he’s received a lot of love from his family and friends.
Happy for @colton for speaking his truth. We support you ❤️
— Onyeka Ehie (@onyekaehie) April 14, 2021
“I’ve had sort of a range of responses,” he said. “The underlining, most common one was, ‘I wish you would have told me sooner.’ And when I hear that, I wish I would have had faith in my friends and family a bit more.”