The Bachelor star Colton Underwood has come out as gay, revealing that a Catholic upbringing and hearing homophobic comments at school pushed him into the closet.
Underwood came out to the world during an appearance on Good Morning America on Wednesday (14 April), where he opened up about being plagued by mental health issues as he came to terms with his sexuality.
Reflecting on the pandemic, Underwood said the last year has allowed people the chance to “look themselves in the mirror and figure out who they are and what they’ve been running from”.
“For me, I’ve ran from myself for a long time, I’ve hated myself for a long time, and I’m gay, and I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it,” Underwood explained.
He continued: “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.”
Colton Underwood shot to fame when he appeared on the 23rd season of The Bachelor, a reality television series that follows a single bachelor as he looks for a wife.
He faced relentless speculation from fans that he was secretly gay from the start, but always insisted that he was completely straight.
The Bachelor star Colton Underwood was suicidal before coming out as gay
Throughout a wide-ranging interview, Colton Underwood revealed that his personal life became “dark and bad” as he became increasingly aware that he was attracted to men, but was unable to accept himself.
He once thought he would never be able to share his sexuality with the world.
“I would have rather died than say I’m gay. And I think that was sort of my wake up call.”
When asked if he had ever thought about hurting himself, Underwood replied: “Yeah. There was a moment in LA that I woke up and I didn’t think I was going to wake up.”
The former footballer said he didn’t intend to wake up, but he did anyway – a moment thats served as a wake up call to “take back control” of his life.
He also revealed that he had experienced suicidal thoughts for some time before coming out – but said those thoughts are no longer with him.
Colton Underwood expressed regret for misleading people about his sexuality, and for not being upfront with women on The Bachelor.
“I just wish I wouldn’t have dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was. I genuinely mean that.
He also apologised to and thanked the women he dated on The Bachelor, saying without them he would never have gotten to a point in his life where he was ready to come out.
Directly addressing Cassie Randolph, who he met on the show and subsequently dated for a year and a half, Underwood said: “I’d like to say sorry for how things ended. I messed up, I made a lot of bad choices.”
Underwood said he was in love with Randolph during their time together, which made it “even harder and more confusing” to figure out his sexuality.
“I loved everything about her, and it’s hard for me to articulate exactly what my emotions were in 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’ve been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else.”
Colton Underwood also reflected on the impact his Catholic upbringing had on his journey to coming out, explaining: “I literally remember praying to God the morning that I found out I was a bachelor and thanking him for making me straight.
“I remember that vividly, of saying, ‘Finally you’re letting me be straight, finally you’re giving me a wife, a fiancé, and then I’m gonna have the kids, and then I’m gonna have the house, and then I’m gonna have all of this.’
He continued: “I’ve known that I’ve been different since the age of six, and I couldn’t process it and I couldn’t put my finger on what it was until high school, in my freshman year, when I knew I was gay. And by that time I had already grown up in the Catholic Church, I had gone to Catholic grade school, I had learned in the Bible that gay is a sin.”
He also said he regularly heard homophobic comments during his sporting career, which further impacted on his perception of his own sexuality.
Colton Underwood began to come to terms with being gay in recent months and eventually worked up the courage to come out to his family.
He said the only reason he is coming out now is because of the support of his friends and family.
In August 2020, Underwood denied he was gay in an interview with the Reality Steve podcast, saying: “The bottom line is I’m not gay. I have love and support for anybody in the LGBT+ commuting and support that, and love is love at the end of the day.
“I’m sort of used to it at this point, but I don’t think I’m ever going to give a good enough answer. I’m always going to feel like I’m on defence probably for a very long time.”