Bachelor alum Colton Underwood is ready to speak his truth. On ABC‘s Good Morning America, he said he’s the “happiest and healthiest” he’s ever been, and credits the pandemic to giving him the time to really discover his true self.
“Obviously, this year has 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. For me, I've ran from myself for a long time; I've hated myself for a long time. And, I'm gay,” he said during an exclusive sitdown with Robin Roberts for ABC News' GMA. “I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know. I'm still nervous.”
He explained: “I got closer to God this year. I know even saying that now as a gay man, people are going to be like, ‘How is that even possible?' I used to wake up in the morning and pray for Him to take the gay away. I used to pray for Him to change me. I can now wake up and pray to God and I can have faith and I can 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.’ It’s more, I’m closer to Him. And that’s helped, to be honest with you.”
He does have some regrets, and addressed what many people might be feeling after his time as The Bachelor: “Do I regret being the Bachelor and do I regret handling it the way I did? I do. I do think I could have handled it better. I just wish I wouldn't have dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was. I genuinely mean that.”
Underwood said he always knew on some level that things were different for him. “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 what it was until high school of my freshman year when I knew I was gay.” Growing up in the Catholic church, he said, “I learned in the Bible that gay is a sin” and he recalled how, as an athlete, the word “gay” was used in a negative connotation. “There are a lot of things where I look back and say, 'No wonder I held it in.'”
In speaking directly to his Bachelor ex, Cassie Randolph, now, he offered an apology. “I messed up. I made a lot of bad choices,” he said. “I loved everything about her. And that only made it harder and more confusing for me.” He added, “I'm sorry for the pain and emotional stress I caused. I wish it wouldn't have happened the way it did. I wish that I would have been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else.”
Embattled host Chris Harrison supported Underwood, tweeting: “Very proud of you today @coltonunderwood Happy to see you stand up and openly live your truth. You have my love and support my friend.”
TMZ reports that a reality series is in the works at Netflix documenting his coming-out journey.