‘Bachelor’ star Colton Underwood comes out as gay

Former “The Bachelor” star Colton Underwood revealed to “Good Morning America” Wednesday morning that he is gay.

“I’ve ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time, and I’m gay,” Underwood told GMA’s Robin Roberts in the exclusive, pre-taped interview.

“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,” Underwood said.

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Underwood, a 29-year-old former professional football player, told Roberts, who is openly gay, that the uncertainty and forced isolation of the past year amid the coronavirus pandemic helped him come to terms with his sexuality.

“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, adding, “I’m emotional, but I’m emotional in such a good, happy, positive way. I’m like the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. That means the world to me.”

Underwood debuted as a 2018 contestant in Becca Kufrin’s season of “The Bachelorette,” before joining the Season 5 cast of “Bachelor in Paradise” and ultimately becoming “The Bachelor” on the series’ 23rd season in 2019, Variety reported.

Heavily marketed as “The Virgin Bachelor,” Underwood told Variety that he believed his virginity was “overblown” but not exploited.

“I fully was a virgin before (Season 23), 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,” Underwood told Roberts.

And while he told GMA that he regrets that he “dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was,” Underwood said the experience – and the women involved – helped him make peace with his identity.

“I can say ‘I’m sorry’ to all of those women. I can also say ‘thank you’ because, without them and without the ‘Bachelor’ franchise, I don’t know if this would have ever come out,” he said.

Underwood, who played tight end for Illinois State University, was signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2014, and was on the practice squad of the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles.

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