Onetime Bachelor Colton Underwood has come out as gay.
In an interview with “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts that aired Wednesday, the former NFL player opens up about his sexuality, and his journey toward self-acceptance.
"I've ran from myself for a long time. I've hated myself for a long time," the 29-year-old said. "And I'm gay. And 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, but yeah," he continued. "It's been a journey for sure."
JUST IN: Former “Bachelor” star @Colton Underwood speaks his truth and comes out to @robinroberts: “I’m gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it… I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life.” https://t.co/PoYJUAPBpA pic.twitter.com/isP7SptUu7— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 14, 2021
During the revealing pre-taped chat, the reality TV personality said he was able to come to terms with his true self last year, when the nation went into lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"[The year 2020 made people] look at 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."
However, before coming to a place of peace, Underwood says he went through a "dark and bad" time. In fact, his “wake-up call” happened when he felt like he "would've rather died" than say he's gay.
"There was a moment in L.A. that I woke up and I didn't think I was gonna wake up. I didn't have the intentions of waking up. And I did," he said about this moment, and other instances where he had "suicidal thoughts."
Growing up, Underwood "just felt different" from the age of 6, and realized he "was more attracted to the boys and the men" in high school. However, because of his upbringing in sports as well as a Catholic, he repressed his homosexual urges.
Underwood first appeared on Season 14 of “The Bachelorette” as a suitor for Becca Kufrin. The next year, he became the Bachelor — which he thanked God for as he hoped it would make him straight.
When Roberts brought up his Bachelor suitors, Underwood says he “would understand” if they felt misled.
"I've thought a lot about this, too, of, 'Do I regret being the Bachelor and do I regret handling it the way that I did?' I do," he said. "I do think I could've handled it better, I'll say that."
Underwood also says he "genuinely" wishes he hadn't dragged people into "my own mess of figuring out who I was."
Though he hasn't had an "emotional connection" with someone of the same sex, he says he is "the happiest and healthiest" he has ever been.
When asked if he has advice for anyone going through a similar situation, Underwood says, “Keep fighting for you.”
“Keep choosing you every morning. And when the time's ready or when the time's right and you're ready, do it on your own time."
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).