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Colton Underwood only came out after being blackmailed for visiting gay spa

Former Bachelor and future Netflix reality subject Colton Underwood has made a frightening revelation: he only came out as gay because of a blackmail scandal.

In a new interview with Variety, Underwood recounts how he began exploring his sexuality at a Los Angeles spa–a location known to attract gay men “just to look,” as he says. Not long after, he received an anonymous email claiming to have nude photos of him at the venue.  The anonymous emailer threatened to out him to the press, which prompted Underwood to contact his publicist.

“I knew that out of anybody in my world, my publicist wasn’t going to ruin me,” Underwood said.

The emails eventually led Underwood to have a heart-to-heart with his publicist and to seek treatment in therapy. He also began using Grindr under an alias, before finally deciding to go public.

Related: Colton Underwood’s doomed Netflix series plus 10 more ill-begotten LGBTQ reality shows

In the same interview, Underwood also addresses the stalking scandal with his former Bachelor girlfriend Cassie Randolph. A legal agreement he maintains with Randolph prevents him from discussing certain details of the incidents, though Underwood does insist he did not physically abuse her.

“I did not physically touch or physically abuse Cassie in any way, shape or form,” Underwood says.

“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,” he adds. “Controlling situations to try to grasp at any part of the straight fantasy that I was trying to live out was so wrong.”

Colton Underwood came out as gay in a Good Morning America interview last month. Initial response was somewhat supportive, though his past incidents involving Randolph, as well as the revelation that he had already nabbed a reality show for Netflix about his life since coming out, invited wide backlash.

Critics contend that Underwood has “monetized” his coming out, and that the amount of publicity surrounding his coming out owes to his status as a wealthy, white man. 

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