The former "Bachelor" star said he's ready to live his truth in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts.
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
"I've ran from myself for a long time. I've hated myself for a long time," Underwood 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."
In true "Bachelor" fashion, he said, "It's been a journey for sure."
Before Underwood had the starring role on "The Bachelor," he was vying for Becca Kufrin's heart on "The Bachelorette" back in 2018. As a fan favorite, and Becca's final 4, he was offered a spot on "Bachelor in Paradise" and then "The Bachelor."
"I literally remember praying to God on the morning when I found out I was 'The Bachelor,' and thanking him for making me straight," he said. "I remember vividly saying like, finally you're letting me be straight. Finally, you're giving me a wife, a fiancée, and then I'm going to have the kids and the house and I'm going to have all of this. I've known that I've been different from the age of six. And I couldn't process it and I couldn't figure out what it was until high school."
As the season 23 "Bachelor" he fell in love with Cassie Randolph and famously, "jumped the fence" for her. His virginity was brought up continuously throughout the show. "I loved everything about her," he said.
Underwood and Randolph dated for the next year, but never got engaged. They broke up in 2020 and Randolph filed a restraining order against him. In a police report, she accused him of putting a tracking device on her car. She later dismissed the restraining order.
Previous relationships also included Tia Booth on "Bachelor in Paradise" and Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman.
"I'm the happiest and healthiest I've ever been in my life, and that means the world to me," Underwood said.
Roberts asked him what gave him the courage to speak his truth, and Underwood said that he got into a dark place where he actually "would have rather died, than say I was gay. That was my wake-up call."
"There was a moment in LA where I woke up and I didn't think I was going to wake up, I didn't have the intentions of waking up and I did. That was my wake up call of this is your life, take back control," Underwood said. "Beyond that even just suicidal thoughts. Driving my car close to a cliff and if it goes off the cliff it's not that big a deal, but I don't feel that anymore."
To the women he dated on "The Bachelor" Underwood said he wished he wouldn't have "dragged people into his own mess" of figuring out who he was. He thanked the women, and "The Bachelor" for helping him discover who he is.
"I shared with [@Colton] something my mother said when I told her about my sexuality, that I'm gay. And she said, 'God loves you because of who he is and not because of anything you do or don't do.'" — @robinrobertshttps://t.co/PoYJUAPBpA pic.twitter.com/ibrM8ymUJi— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 14, 2021
He said that his family and friends have given him love and support throughout his coming out.
The executive producers of The Bachelor franchise released a statement saying:
"We are so inspired by Colton Underwood's courage to embrace and pursue his authentic self. As firm believers in the power of love, we celebrate Colton's journey in the LGBTQIA+ community every step of the way."