The Bachelor star Colton Underwood has revealed he is gay.
The former American football player, who starred in the 2019 series of the US dating show, came out during an emotional interview with broadcaster Robin Roberts on Good Morning America on ABC.
Struggling to remain composed, the 29-year-old said he had decided to go public with his sexuality after reflecting on his life during lockdown.
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 and putting off in their lives.
“For me, I’ve ran from myself for a long time and I’ve hated myself for a long time, and I’m gay.
“I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it.
“The next step in all of this is sort of letting people know. I’m still nervous, but it’s been a journey, for sure.”
The Bachelor features a single man who has to choose from a pool of women, with the ultimate goal of getting married, and is a pop culture phenomenon in the US.
Before appearing as a lead in the 23rd season, Underwood appeared as a contestant on the 14th season of The Bachelorette, where the woman has the opportunity to choose.
Underwood said he felt “emotional in such a good, happy, positive way” having accepted his sexuality.
“I’m like the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. That means the world to me,” he added.
Underwood also said he had experienced suicidal thoughts before coming out, but had channelled them into changing his life.
He said: “There was a moment in LA that 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. And I think, for me, that was my wake-up call, that, ‘This is your life. Take back control’.”