Bachelor star Colton Underwood has come out as gay. The Season 23 lead, who starred on ABC’s reality dating show in 2019, sat down for an interview this morning with Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts in which he told the anchor, “I’m gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it.” Underwood added that he’s the “happiest” and “healthiest” he’s ever felt.
“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 run from myself for a long time and I’ve hated myself for a long time,” he told Roberts. “And the next step in all of this has been letting people know. I’m still nervous.”
Underwood’s GMA interview comes after two tumultuous years for the reality star, whose season ended without a proposal or engagement, but with the promise to pursue a relationship with contestant Cassie Randolph. The two split in May 2020, but the breakup took a darker turn when Randolph filed a restraining order against Underwood, accusing him of stalking and harassing her. She later dropped the order in November.
During today’s interview, Underwood apologized for “how things ended” with Randolph. “I messed up. I made a lot of bad choices,” he said. “I loved everything about her. And that only made it harder and more confusing for me.” He added, “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 also opened up about suicidal thoughts he’s experienced, telling Roberts, “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 for me, I think that was my wake up call of, ‘This is your life. Take back control.'” He added, “I don’t feel that anymore.”
The GMA interview comes after Underwood addressed speculation about his sexuality last year in his memoir, “The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV.” Underwood shared that rumors he was gay became so “rampant” during his senior year of high school that “even my mom heard about it.” In a later segment, he wrote, “Sometimes I wonder if my life would have been much easier if I had been gay.”
When prompted by Roberts to address the women on his season or the public who may have felt misled, Underwood replied, “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.” He added, “I just wish I wouldn’t have dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was, I genuinely mean that.”
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