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Colton Underwood
Image courtesy of ABC Entertainment
Colton Underwood
Image courtesy of ABC Entertainment

The star of the 23rd season of The Bachelor, Colton Underwood, came out as gay in his interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. 

Underwood commented on how the previous year of the pandemic has forced him to reckon with who he is. “For me, I’ve run from myself for a long time. 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. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know,” shared Underwood.  

The ex-Bachelor opened up about going through a very dark time when he felt like he would have “rather died” than shared his sexual identity. “There was a moment in LA that I woke up and I didn’t think I was going to wake up,” explained Underwood. “I didn’t have the intentions of waking up. And I did. And for me, I think that was my wake-up call of, ‘This is your life. Take back control.’”

Underwood gained his fame after his appearance on the Bachelor franchise. First, he was cast as a contestant on The Bachelorette in 2018. Later, Underwood appeared on Bachelor in Paradise and, eventually, became the bachelor himself in 2019. During his season, Underwood’s Christian identity and devotion to abstinence have become the season’s focus. He was the first lead of The Bachelor to begin the show a virgin. 

When asked to address his time on the show, Underwood shared that he does regret implicating other women in what was his own internal struggle with sexuality and self-acceptance. “I just wish I wouldn’t have dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was,” admitted Underwood. At the same time, the reality TV star does recognize that, perhaps, going through a very public dating process with a couple of dozen women did help him to come to terms with who he is. “I can also say thank you because without them and without the Bachelor franchise, I don’t know if this would’ve ever come out.”

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A subject that also came up in Underwood’s interview with Roberts is the abusive behavior he displayed toward his ex-girlfriend and the winner of his The Bachelor season, Cassie Randolph. The couple was together for two years after their season ended. After their eventual breakup, Randolph had to obtain a temporary restraining order against Underwood on the grounds of stalking and harassment. Randolph accused Underwood of installing a tracking device on her car. The restraining order was subsequently lifted as the two seemingly resolved the issue between themselves. 

“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,” Underwood commented on his relationship and breakup with Randolph. However, he did not address directly and accept responsibility for the abovementioned disturbing behavior.

We all can unwittingly hurt others, especially as we may be in denial of our internal issues. I imagine, having done this on national television and the subsequent media spotlight did not make it easy for Underwood. Nonetheless, the fact that Underwood’s abusive tendencies appear to have been taken relatively lightly by the public and made into an addendum of his coming-out story is concerning yet unsurprising.

Underwood has reportedly inked a deal with Netflix for a docuseries. He is being given the space to tell his story and his struggle. We do not know yet how this series intends to address Underwood’s past abuse.

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