The Bachelor's season 23 lead Colton Underwood has come out as gay in a new, emotional interview.
"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 to figure out who they are and figure out what they've been running from or have been putting off in their lives," Underwood told Robin Roberts in a pre-taped Good Morning America interview that ran today. "For me, I've run from myself for a long time, I've hated myself for a long time and ... I'm gay. I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing all of that. The next step in all of that is been letting people know."
Underwood, who first appeared on The Bachelor as a contestant in 2018's season 14, before appearing on Bachelor in Paradise season four and leading The Bachelor for 2019's season 23, said that being in quarantine has been a time of deep reflection. His ongoing fight with his sexuality has brought him to dark places in his life including thoughts of harming himself. But following these moments, in a bid to take back control, the former NFL player forced himself to confront the issue. His self-acceptance now has seen him be the "happiest and healthiest I've ever been in my life."
During his time on The Bachelor, where he was once marketed as the "virgin Bachelor" given that he revealed on The Bachelorette that he was a virgin, Bachelor Nation saw him give his final rose to Cassie Randolph. He did not propose to her and the couple later split, with Randolph even filing a restraining order against Underwood that she later dropped. Now, he says he regrets his time on the show.
"I do think I could have handled it better," he told Roberts. "I just wish I wouldn't have dragged people into my own mess of who I was." Still, he said that it is like a result of the show and the women he dated on the show that he's finally confronted who he is.
Underwood, who grew up in the Catholic church and who has known his sexuality since he was a freshman in high school, went on to say he has been accepted by his friends and family.