In an emotional appearance on Good Morning America this week, former pro-football player and “Bachelor” star Colton Underwood came out of the closet live on TV.
After Underwood was released by the Oakland Raiders, the 29-year-old became a contestant on the 14th season of The Bachelorette in 2018, and was then featured on Bachelor In Paradise season 5.
The following year, he was announced as the lead of the 23rd season of The Bachelor, where he was heavily marketed as “The Virgin Bachelor.”
In March 2019, Underwood named Cassie Randolph as the winner of The Bachelor, although there was no proposal; she was only offered the final rose. Underwood and Randolph then dated for a year before announcing their breakup in May 2020.
On Wednesday, April 14th, Underwood told GMA’s Robin Roberts he had learned a lot about himself during the past year of quarantine.
“Obviously 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 been putting off in their lives,” he said. “For me, I’ve ran from myself for a long time and 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 it. The next step in all of this was sort of letting people know. I’m still nervous, but it’s been a journey for sure.”
After he came out, Roberts said through the nerves, she could see the joy in Underwood. When she asked him what gave him the courage to come out publicly, he said he had hit a low point, during which he “didn’t have the intentions of waking up.”
“I got into a place in my personal life that was dark and bad,” he said. “I can list a bunch of different things, but they’d all be excuses. 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 rather have died than say ‘I’m gay,’ and I think that was sort of my wake-up call.”
When it came to discussing his nickname as “The Virgin Bachelor,” Underwood said plainly, “I fully was a virgin before that, and I could never give anybody a good enough answer about why I was a virgin. The truth is I was the ‘Virgin Bachelor’ because I was gay, and I didn’t know how to handle it.”
Now, the former NFL player and reality TV star said he has the full support of his close friends and family, and he is “the happiest and healthiest” he’s ever been in his life.
After Underwood came out on Tuesday, Variety reported that he is also getting his own reality show on Netflix about living publicly as an out gay man. The series is slated to also feature Olympian Gus Kenworthy.