The former Bachelor star is finally speaking his truth. Colton Underwood appeared on Good Morning America on April 14 to share with the world that he is gay. In an emotional interview with anchor Robin Roberts, he announced, "I’m gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it." While he described himself as "the happiest and healthiest I've ever been in my life" now, he said hiding the truth about his sexuality took a severe toll on his mental health. (Content warning: This story discusses suicidal ideation and attempted suicide.)
He opened up about feeling "different" at 6 years old, how growing up Catholic and playing football encouraged him to stay in the closet, and how embracing his identity has strengthened his relationship with God. He shared what he looks for in a partner now, how his family and friends reacted to his news, and his advice for others who are processing their sexuality in private.
He also offered a message for his ex-girlfriend, Cassie Randolph, who filed and then dropped a restraining order against him in 2020. According to the restraining order request obtained by People, she claimed he put a tracking device on her vehicle, loitered outside her bedroom window at 2 a.m., and sent several distressing text messages, including one in which he allegedly pretended to be a stalker. Underwood later told People, "I do not believe Cassie did anything wrong in filing for the restraining orders and also believe she acted in good faith."
In his interview with GMA, he said he didn't want to give "excuses" for his past behavior. But he did share plenty about his personal growth over the past year. Here are Underwood's most important and revelatory quotes from the interview:
The Pandemic Gave Him Space To Reflect On His Sexuality
"Obviously, like, this year's been a lot for a lot of people, and it's probably made a lot of people look themselves in the mirror and figure out who they are and what they've been running from, or what they've put off in their lives. And for me, I've been running from myself for a long time, I've hated myself for a long time. I'm gay and I came to terms with that earlier this year and I've been processing it. The next step in all of this is sort of letting people know."
Coming Out Has Changed His Life For The Better
"I'm the happiest and healthiest I've ever been in my life, and that means the world to me."
"I'm still the same Colton everyone met on TV, and I'm still the same Colton to my friends and family. I just happen to be able to share with people now all of me, and I am proud of that. You know, I am proud to be gay."
He Hit A Very Low Turning Point
"I got into a place for me and my personal life that was dark and bad, and I can list a bunch of different things, but they'd all be excuses. But I think overall, the reason why now is because 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."
He Experienced Suicidal Ideation & Made A Suicide Attempt
"There was a moment in LA that I woke up and I didn't think I was going to wake up. I didn't have intentions of waking up and I did. And I think for me, that was my wake-up call: This is your life, take back control. And I think looking back on that, it's like, even just suicidal thoughts, 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."
He Thanked Bachelor Nation For Giving Him The Strength To Come Out
"Do I regret being the Bachelor, and do I regret handling it the way that I did? I do. I do think I could've handled it better. I just wish I hadn't dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was. I genuinely mean that. But I also, at the same time, like, that I could sit here and say I'm sorry to all those women, I could also say thank you. Because without them, and without the Bachelor franchise, I don't know if this would have ever came out."
Roberts Asked Underwood What He'd Like To Say To Randolph
"I'd like to say sorry for how things ended. I messed up. I made a lot of bad choices."
Roberts Asked If He Had Been In Love With Randolph
"Yes. And that only made it harder and more confusing for me. If I'm being very honest, I loved everything about her. It's hard to articulate exactly what my emotions were going through that relationship, 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 the pain and emotional stress I caused. I wish it wouldn't have happened the way it did. I wish I would've been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else.
He Opened Up About Being Called "The Virgin Bachelor"
"One thing about being labeled 'the virgin Bachelor' is I fully was a virgin before that, and I could never give anybody a good enough answer for why I was a virgin. And the truth is I was a virgin Bachelor because I was gay and I didn't know how to handle that."
He Felt "Different" Since He Was A Child
"I literally remember praying to God the morning I found out that I was the Bachelor and thanking Him for making me straight. I remember vividly saying, 'Finally, you're letting me be straight, finally, you're giving me a wife, a fiancée, and then I'm going to have the kids, I'm going to have the house, and then I'm going to have all this.' I've known that I've been different since the age of 6, and I couldn't process it, and I couldn't put my finger on it until high school, when I knew I was gay. And by that time, I had already grown up in the Catholic Church, I had gone to Catholic grade school, I had learned in the Bible that gay is a sin. I had made mistakes in my sports and in my athletic career, and when you make mistakes, [you hear,] 'That play was gay,' or that was bad. Gay was always affiliated with the connotation of negativity. And I think there were a lot of things when I look back, no wonder I held it in."
"When I was around other people, I just felt different. And I didn't know what that meant. Was I more emotional than the other boys in my class? That's a lot of thinking to do at such a young age, to try to figure out what that was. And then in high school, it all made sense. I mean, I was more attracted to boys and the men than I was the women and the females, and I was told by society, That's wrong, don't do that."
His Family & Friends Reacted With Love
"I've had sort of a range of responses. The underlining, most common one was, 'I wish you would've told me sooner,' and when I hear that, I wish I would've had faith in my friends and family a little bit more. My dad, when I told him that, his reaction was sort of the same, 'I wish you would've trusted me sooner,' but then he followed it up with, 'How I can help you? How can I take this off your plate? Who can I tell?' And to me, that was more meaningful than, 'I love you.'"
Coming Out Strengthened His Relationship With God
"I got closer to God this year, and I know even saying that now as a gay man, people are going to be like, 'How is that even possible?' But ... I used to wake up in the morning praying for Him to take the gay away. I used to pray for Him to change me. And now I can wake up and have faith, and go into church and be present, and not have it be conditional on this topic of, 'Take this off my plate and I'll still worship you and I'll still be there.' I'm closer to Him. And that's helped."
Roberts Asked What He's Looking For In A Partner
"I still have a lot to work through. I'll just go on record saying I still haven't had an emotional connection with a man. I've never allowed myself to. It's never been sort of in my cards to let myself get there. I want to more than anything. I want someone who can push me and challenge me in all the great ways."
Underwood Shared His Advice For People Who Are Processing Their Sexuality In Private
"I still have a long way to go. I'm still learning. But if I had to go back and give anyone advice, you're going to get through it is what I would tell myself. Keep choosing you every morning. When the time's right and you're ready, do it on your time."
If you or someone you know is considering self-harm or experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.