‘Bachelor’ star Colton Underwood comes out as gay: ‘It’s been a journey’

Christi Carras
Los Angeles Times
Underwood

“Bachelor” star Colton Underwood is “proud to be gay.”

The former football player came out as gay Wednesday morning in a candid interview with “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, during which he recalled the “suicidal thoughts” that prompted him to “take back control” of his life and accept his full identity.

“I’ve ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time,” he told Roberts, adding that he was “still nervous” to go public with his sexuality. “And I’m gay. 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. … It’s been a journey for sure.”

During their conversation, Underwood opened up about how his Catholic upbringing caused him to believe that being gay is a sin and pray to God to “change him” and “take the gay away.” Now the “Bachelor” fan favorite said he feels a closer connection to God that is no longer “conditional.”

“I think there’s a lot of things, when I look back, I’m like, ‘No wonder I held it in,’” he said.

Underwood also reflected on his “Bachelor” past while thanking and apologizing to the women he met on the show. He first appeared on the 14th season of “The Bachelorette,” which saw him advance to Becca Kufrin’s final four suitors in 2018, before leading the 23rd season of “The Bachelor” in 2019.

Season 23 saw Underwood present his “final rose” to Cassie Randolph. Though he didn’t propose marriage to Randolph at the end of the show, the two dated outside the ABC program before splitting in 2020. (After their high-profile breakup, Randolph filed a restraining order against Underwood that she later dropped. According to a statement from Underwood, the pair resolved the situation privately.)

After he was announced as the lead of “The Bachelor,” Underwood told Roberts he thanked God for “making me straight” and hoped the series would lead to him marrying and having children with a woman.

“I’ve thought a lot about this too, of, ‘Do I regret being the Bachelor and do I regret handling it the way that I did?’ I do,” he said. “I do think I could’ve handled it better, I’ll say that.”

Though he said he genuinely regrets involving others in his “own mess of figuring out” his sexuality, Underwood credited the “Bachelor” franchise with helping him realize his true identity.

“If I had to go back and give anybody advice … ‘You’re going to get through it’ is what I would tell myself,” he told Roberts. “‘Keep fighting for you. Keep choosing you every morning. And when the time’s ready or when the time’s right and you’re ready, do it on your own time.’”

“I’m still the same Colton everybody met on TV,” he added. “I’m still the same Colton to my friends and my family, I just happen to be able to share with people now all of me. … I am proud of that, you know? I am proud to be gay.”