Years before he found love with Cassie Randolph and catapulted himself into the hearts of Bachelor Nation, Colton Underwood questioned his sexuality as a result of incessant bullying. “It was one of those things where you hear something so often, you start believing it,” he wrote in his new memoir The First Time, per a March 25 report by People. “I thought, maybe I am gay. The captain of the football team should be having sex and drinking, right? But I wasn’t.”
According to People, Underwood found himself Googling "am I gay" as early as grade school. “I didn’t know who I was,” he explained. “And I come from an athletic family, so it was always, ‘Move on, you’re good.’ So that threw me off. In high school, when I was struggling with my sexuality, I’m not going to talk to my parents about it. So I internalized it.”
Underwood explained his physical appearance combined with his lack of confidence made him an easy target for bullies growing up. “I was called fatso, four eyes and four lips, because I used to lick my lips, so I would constantly have a red ring around them,” he shared. “I was a little heavy, and that, combined with being socially awkward, led to a really hard time. I didn’t believe in myself. And I was super insecure.”
The bullying persisted into his adult years, as anyone who was around during his reign as "The Virgin Bachelor" can attest. “Even while my season was airing, I battled the gay [rumors],” Underwood recalled. “They’d say, ‘he’s gay, he’s hiding it.’ No. But I’ve been there, done that now.”
Underwood is no longer the insecure teen he once was. He now knows exactly who he is, despite what the outside world has tried to define him as. And as a delicious dollop of icing on the cake, he's also managed to find love with someone who he feels certain about.
"I finally found somebody I really just want to be with,” Underwood shared of Randolph. “I want my life to be with Cassie. I know who I am. And that’s really all that matters.”
Randolph is currently taking care of Underwood at her family's Southern California home as he battles COVID-19. Underwood announced that he tested positive with an informative video posted to Instagram March 21.
Want to learn more about Underwood's life journey? Check out his book The First Time, out March 31.