In an interview with Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts that aired on Wednesday, Underwood — who headlined Season 23 of the ABC reality juggernaut — confirmed the longstanding rumor.
‘I ran from myself for a long time, hating myself for a long time, and… I’m gay,” he told Roberts. “And I came to terms with that earlier this year and I have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of to let people know. I’m still nervous, but it’s been a journey for sure.
“I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life,” he added, “and that means the world to me.” (Watch the interview below.)
Also in the GMA interview, Underwood admitted that hiding his sexuality led him down a “dark and bad” path, one that included “suicidal thoughts.” Recalling one such incident, “There was a moment in L.A. [where] I woke up, and I didn’t think I was going to wake up,” he said. “I didn’t have the intentions of waking up — [but] I did. For me, that was my wake-up call of, like, ‘This is your life. Take back control.’ You know, 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.”
Following the interview, The Bachelor franchise’s executive producers released the following statement:
We are so inspired by Colton Underwood’s courage to embrace and pursue his authentic self. As firm believers in the power of love, we celebrate Colton’s journey in the LGBTQIA+ community every step of the way.
Prior to his ascension to Bachelor leading man in 2019, Underwood appeared as a contestant in Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette. His openness about being a virgin was a plot point The Bachelor seized on. It also fueled rumors that he was gay — speculation he had previously denied.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight last May, the 29-year-old former football pro confessed that his own uncertainty about his sexuality was one of the reasons he has abstained from sex. “I never acted on anything,” he said. “There were questions there, and I either internalized it or moved forward with football.” It was through his experience on The Bachelor that he realized, “I’m straight and that I’m very attracted to women,” he told ET at the time, adding, “It would’ve been OK if I was [gay], too.”
Last fall, Underwood’s ex-Bachelor love Cassie Randolph filed a restraining order against him, accusing him of stalking and harassing her. She later dismissed the order. In the GMA interview, Underwood offered Randolph an apology.
“I’d like to say sorry for how things ended,” he said. “I messed up. I made a lot of bad choices…. 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 that it wouldn’t have happened the way that it did. I wish that I had been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else.”