Like many Americans, Colton Underwood has spent the last year in reflection. And what he discovered surprised him. "I'm gay," the former star of The Bachelor told Robin Roberts of Good Morning America on Wednesday.
"I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it." The 29-year-old was known as the "virgin Bachelor," as Season 23's drama centered on whether or not he would lose his virginity.
He ended the season by dumping the last two women standing and pursuing departed contestant Cassie Randolph. He was still with Randolph in March 2020 when he told People that he'd thought he might be gay in high school.
That rumor was circulating and "it was one of those things where you hear something so often, you start believing it," Underwood said. "The captain of the football team should be having sex and drinking, right? But I wasn't."
Underwood told People that he Googled "Am I gay?" back in grade school but wasn't prepared to talk to his parents about his feelings, even by the time he reached high school.
"So I internalized it," he noted. As of that interview, he said he continued to face rumors that he was gay, but he denied that he was.
"I want my life to be with Cassie," he said. Not long after, he and Randolph broke up. Randolph, who accused Underwood of stalking and harassment, was even granted a restraining order against him, per BuzzFeed.
Out of that dark place came a realization, Underwood tells Roberts. "I got to a place where I didn't think I was ever going to share this—I would've rather died than say, 'I'm gay,' and I think that was sort of my wake-up call." "I've ran from myself for a long time, I've hated myself for a long time," but "I don't feel that anymore," he adds.
"I'm, like, the happiest and healthiest I've ever been in my life, and that means the world to me."
This article originally appeared on Newser: Some Context From the 'Virgin Bachelor': 'I'm Gay'