Colton Underwood has revealed in a new interview that his decision to come out as gay last month was partly due to being blackmailed over explicit photos that were taken of him visiting a male spa last year.
In a Wednesday cover feature with Variety, the 29-year-old reality star – who rose to fame on 2018’s The Bachelorette – spoke in detail about his sexuality and his troubled relationship with ex-girlfriend Cassie Randolph, who was forced to file a restraining order against him in September last year.
‘I, at one point, during my rock bottom and spiral, was getting blackmailed. Nobody knows I was blackmailed,’ Underwood confessed in the wide-ranging interview.
The ex-NFL player went on to explain that he secretly visited a male spa in Los Angeles last year, known for its gay clientele, and was then blackmailed with alleged nude photos of himself, although he never saw the evidence himself.
Speaking out: Colton Underwood – who was billed as ‘The Virgin Bachelor’ on the reality series The Bachelorette in 2018 – has revealed he was blackmailed for visiting a gay male spa
The reality star told Variety’s Elizabeth Wagmeister that he went there ‘just to look’ and ‘should never have been there.’
He then received an anonymous email from someone claiming to have naked pictures of him, and they threatened to ‘out’ him in the media, prompting Underwood to have a conversation about his sexuality with his publicist, Alex Spieller.
It was Underwood’s virginity that propelled him to fame on Becca Kufrin’s 2018 season of The Bachelorette, and in the interview he clarifies that he did have some sexual experiences with men in his mid-20s.
Surprise: Last month, Underwood shocked fans of The Bachelor franchise by coming out as gay after dating ex-girlfriend Cassie Randolph on the popular dating show
‘I was “the Virgin Bachelor,” but I did experiment with men prior to being on The Bachelorette,” he said, confirming that he was a virgin when he appeared on the ABC show.
‘When I say “hookups,” not sex… I want to make that very clear that I did not have sex with a man, prior to that.’
Underwood also revealed that he was on the dating app Grindr under a pseudonym in 2016 or 2017 but not longer has a profile on the service, and is currently single.
Underwood admits he worried that men he’d had sexual relations with would come out of the woodwork, and took part in The Bachelorette ‘so I could be straight.’
New chapter: Colton reveals in the new interview that he is currently single (pictured above in a shirtless snap he posted last month to his Instagram)
However, his relationship with Cassie Randolph was seemingly troubled, as she filed a restraining order against him last year but later dropped it after they were ‘able to reach a private agreement.’
Randolph has remained largely silent on the matter, though in initial court documents court documents she alleged that Underwood had stalked her and placed a tracking device on her car.
‘I did not physically touch or physically abuse Cassie in any way, shape or form,’ he states in the interview, wanting to clear the air.
‘I never want people to think that I’m coming out to change the narrative, or to brush over and not take responsibility for my actions, and now that I have this gay life that I don’t have to address my past as a straight man.’
Underwood added: ‘Controlling situations to try to grasp at any part of the straight fantasy that I was trying to live out was so wrong.’
Looking for love? Underwood – who admitted that he was previously on dating app Grindr – is said to be currently single
He admits he was in a ‘dark place’ during the period because he knew that ending the heterosexual relationship would mean facing the truth – that he was gay.
Apologizing for his behavior towards Randolph and her family, he said: ‘It’s not who I am as a human being, and it’s not how I carry myself.’
‘If there was anything I could do to take more ownership, I would. But also, out of respect to her, I don’t want to get into the details. I want this interview to be the last time I address her, because it’s not fair for her to have her name in articles every time I talk. I’m sorry, and I want her to know that I hope she has the best, most beautiful life.’
Underwood came out to Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts last month, revealing that the forced isolation during the pandemic forced him to finally ‘look at himself in the mirror’ and come to terms with his sexuality, before telling the host: ‘I’m gay.’
He said: ‘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 putting off in their lives and for me, I’ve ran from myself for a long time,’ he explained. ‘I’ve hated myself for a long time.’
When asked whether he ever attempted to harm himself, he admitted that there was a ‘moment in LA’ when he tried to take his own life. ‘There was a moment in LA [when] I woke up and I didn’t think I was going to wake up,’ he revealed. ‘I didn’t have the intentions of waking up and I did.’