The Bachelor star Colton Underwood came out as gay after an anonymous person claimed they had taken a nude picture of him in a gay spa.
In an interview with Variety , Underwood revealed that he visited a spa that caters to gay men in Los Angeles last year “just to look” while he was still exploring his sexuality.
Shortly afterwards, the reality television star received an email from an unidentified person claiming to have nude pictures of him, who threatened to go to the press and “out” him as gay.
“I’ll just say it. I, at one point, during my rock bottom and spiral, was getting blackmailed,” Colton Underwood admitted.
He said “nobody knows” of the blackmail efforts other than his publicist, who he immediately forwarded the email to when it landed in his inbox last year.
The incident left Underwood terrified, as it made him realise that he was going to learn to accept who he was and would ultimately have to come out publicly.
That process culminated in April when he sat down with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America and came out as gay.
Elsewhere in the interview, Colton Underwood reflected on his long journey to self-acceptance when he first started to realise he was attracted to men as a teenager.
He described relating to Brokeback Mountain – which he rented using a friend’s Blockbuster card as he didn’t want his family to know he was watching it – and also revealed that his father once found a trace that he had been watching gay porn on the family computer.
When his father confronted him, Underwood denied that he was gay. “I just said that I was curious and I was exploring and just looking. I remember having that conversation with him and being like, ‘Just don’t tell Mom.'”
Underwood later had a series of sexual experiences with men while in his mid-20s, prior to his stint on The Bachelor, joining Grindr for a time under an alias.
“I’ll say this. I was ‘the Virgin Bachelor,’ but I did experiment with men prior to being on The Bachelorette ,” he said, adding that he never had sex with a man before going on the show.
Colton Underwood addressed allegations that he stalked ex-girlfriend Cassie Randolph
While many celebrated Underwood’s decision to come out, others questioned why he was being given so much attention when his ex-girlfriend Cassie Randolph – who he met on The Bachelor – had previously claimed he stalked her and placed a tracking device on her car.
Colton Underwood is the cover star of the new issue of Variety. (Matt Sayles for Variety)
Underwood has since signed up to shoot a reality television series with Netflix focusing on his coming out – however, a petition has amassed thousands of signatures calling for the streamer to axe the show because of the stalking allegations.
Speaking to Variety , Underwood said there are limitations on what he is allowed to say about the stalking allegations due to an agreement he reached with Randolph.
However, he expressed concern at suggestions that he “abused” Randolph, saying: “I did not physically touch or physically abuse Cassie in any way, shape or form.”
Controlling situations to try to grasp at any part of the straight fantasy that I was trying to live out was so wrong.
Underwood also sought to dispel suggestions that he only came out as gay to paper over the stalking allegations.
“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 said.
“Controlling situations to try to grasp at any part of the straight fantasy that I was trying to live out was so wrong.”
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