Reality star Colton Underwood is opening up about the struggles he faced as a teenager and young adult with understanding his sexuality.
In his new book “The First Time,” out later this month, the Bachelor star reveals that he “thought he was gay” after being bullied for years.
In an interview with People, the 28-year-old, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in quarantine, says he grew up in a small town in Illinois where “I was called fatso, four eyes and four lips, because I used to lick my lips, so I would constantly have a red ring around them.”
“I was a little heavy, and that, combined with being socially awkward, led to a really hard time. I didn’t believe in myself. And I was super insecure.”
By high school, many of his peers began telling him he was gay because he chose to abstain from sex.
“It was one of those things where you hear something so often, you start believing it,” Underwood says. “I thought, maybe I am gay. The captain of the football team should be having sex and drinking, right? But I wasn’t.”
He continues, “I didn’t know who I was. And I come from an athletic family, so it was always, ‘Move on, you’re good.’ So that threw me off. In high school, when I was struggling with my sexuality, I’m not going to talk to my parents about it. So I internalized it.”
As it turned out, Underwood eventually realized that everyone was wrong and, actually, he wasn’t gay. But the rumors still persisted.
“Even while my season was airing, I battled the gay [rumors],” he recalls. “They’d say, ‘he’s gay, he’s hiding it.’ No. But I’ve been there, done that now.”
The season ended with Underwood picking Cassie Randolph to be his one and only and the two are still going strong.
“I want my life to be with Cassie,” Underwood says. “I know who I am. And that’s really all that matters.”