Colton Underwood, best known for his season on ABC’s hit series “The Bachelor,” announced Wednesday that he's gay and believes he's "closer" to God now than ever before.
“I’ve ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time,” the 29-year-old former professional football player told “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts in a pre-taped interview.
“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,” he added.
During the interview, Underwood spoke openly about his faith. He said that while he was in Catholic grade school, he “learned in the Bible that gay is a sin.”
The majority of Christian denominations worldwide adhere to the Bible's stance (Romans 1:26-27) onhomosexuality and teach that it's a sin. Nevertheless, the church teaches that believers are commanded to love the sinner while also encouraging people to a life of holiness, as sin separates the sinner from God.
However, Underwood claims that after coming to the conclusion that he's homosexual, he's now “closer to God.” He also acknowledged that some Christians might not understand how that’s possible.
“I used to wake up in the morning and pray for Him to take the gay away. I used to pray for Him to change me,” he continued.
The athlete added that his relationship with God isn’t “conditional.”
His decision to come out as gay, he said, has also helped him understand why he never felt like he fit in as a child. He said it also gave him insight into why he kept his virginity for so long. While on “The Bachelor” in 2019, he was heavily marketed as the “virgin Bachelor.”
"I literally remember praying to God the morning I found out I was the Bachelor and thanking Him for making me straight," Underwood recalled of his reaction. "I remember that vividly, of saying like, 'Finally, you're letting me be straight. Finally, you're giving me a wife, a fiancée,'" he continued. "And then I'm gonna have the kids, and then I'm gonna have the house."
At the end of the season, Underwood chose participant Cassie Randolph. However, after the series ended, the two separated and Randolph later sought a restraining order against Underwood, claiming he stalked and harassed her. She later dropped the order.
During his coming out interview, Underwood also touched on having “suicidal thoughts” in 2020, which made him feel like he had to “take back control” of his life. He said last year made everyone “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.”
Underwood further explained that he'd struggled with his sexuality for most of his life because of his Christian upbringing, as he didn't want to disappoint his family.
He has since told his family about his sexual identity and revealed that they support him.
In an interview with The Sun, Underwood’s grandfather, Benjamin, said, “We’re all proud of him and support everything he’s been through. I liked the interview. He knows we support him. He’s with us all the time.”
“We all love Colton and we are behind him 100 percent,” His grandmother, Joyce, added.
Roberts, a gay woman, ended the GMA segment with Underwood by sharing her personal thoughts about being a gay Christian. She echoed something her mother told her when she came out: “God loves you because of who He is, not because of anything you do or don't do.”
Christian sexual ethics has been a topic of discussion in the “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” franchise over the past few years.
In the “fantasy suites” episode of season 15 of “The Bachelorette,” Christian contestant Luke P told Bachelorette Hannah Brown (who first appeared in Underwood’s season of “The Bachelor’) that he wanted a wife who believed what he believed regarding sex, which is found in Hebrews 13:4.
Brown, also a professing Christian, immediately took offense to Luke P’s comments and confessed that she'd had “physical relations” with some of the other contestants, but “Jesus stills loves her.”