The Untold Truth Of Colton Underwood

It can be hard to keep up with ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. We get it. After all, the franchise has churned out dozens of seasons. That's a whole lot of Monday nights. If you're a not-so-diehard Bachelor stan, you may have passed up a few seasons of the show, which unfortunately might mean you probably don't know much about former contestant Colton Underwood. And, even if you are obsessed with Bachelor Nation, there are some things about him that simply weren't revealed during his time on The Bachelorette or The Bachelor

Though Colton made it into the final four on The Bachelorette, he was ultimately sent home. But that wouldn't be the last we'd see of him. In August 2018, he joined other former contestants on Bachelor in Paradise. Then, on Sept. 4, 2018, the show revealed its next Bachelor and — surprise, surprise! — it was Colton Underwood himself. Then in April 2021, Colton made headlines for coming out as gay in an interview on Good Morning America

It's about time we all get to know this eligible Bachelor a little better, so here's everything you need to know.

Football is practically in his blood

After playing college football for Illinois State University, Colton Underwood began a career with the NFL — though he would never end up playing a regular game. Beginning in 2014, he joined the practice squads of the San Diego Chargers, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Oakland Raiders, according to Bleacher Report, but, due to an injury, he was forced to retire prematurely

His love of football seems almost kismet. ABC News reported that not only was the Bachelor born on Super Bowl Sunday, but he was also given the name Colton after the Indianapolis Colts. Though he — and obviously his family — have a real love for the sport, Colton said he wasn't necessarily looking for a partner who is all about football.

"You just have to be passionate about something," he clarified when speaking to ABC News. He went on to add, "Sports was my passion growing up, just because I saw how it transformed my life, but just be passionate about something, have a passion, and be a good person."

He runs his own charity

Even though Colton Underwood's professional football career came to an end in 2016, he would continue to run the non-profit organization, The Legacy Foundation, that he started back in 2015. According to the foundation's website, he founded the charity in an effort to "empower people with Cystic Fibrosis to live fully, dream big and support each other." This is accomplished through raising funds for research, equipment, and other needed resources. 

Since its creation in 2015, The Legacy Foundation has donated nearly $100,000, through cash donations and equipment donations, to benefit those living with Cystic Fibrosis. Colton also has a personal connection to the chronic disease as his young cousin Harper is, as he puts it, "a Cystic Fibrosis warrior." In addition to fundraising, Colton and other NFL players have visited children's hospitals to bring joy to other Cystic Fibrosis warriors and started a football camp to not only raise money, but to also bring awareness to the hereditary disorder.

Colton Underwood made headlines for being a virgin

As both a former Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise contestant, you could make the assumption that Colton Underwood, um, has experience. But that's wasn't true, as he shared in the past. In an episode of The Bachelorette, Colton revealed to Becca Kufrin that he was a virgin. Kufrin was noticeably caught off guard by the news and had to take a minute to collect her thoughts. It was a tense moment, but Colton is still happy he shared it with Becca — and the world. 

In an interview for the Ben and Ashley: Almost Famous podcast (via People), he explained, saying, "It's something that I hid for so long and [the show] sort of forced me to talk about it and start a conversation — start a dialogue." Still, he admitted that it was "difficult going from six people knowing to about 6 million" — especially when everyone has their opinions on the topic.

Though Colton admitted that he wasn't waiting until marriage, he said he was set on waiting to find the right person.

He's a dog lover

Adding to his good guy image is the fact that Colton Underwood is an avid dog lover. On Instagram, he used to routinely post photos of himself with his precious pup, Sniper. And yes, it was as cute as it sounds. Oh, and we should mention that Sniper even had his own Instagram account. For reals. Sadly, Colton revealed that Sniper had died in 2020, as reported by People

The former Bachelorette contestant didn't just love his dog, though. Other photos have shown that he'll pretty much snuggle any canine companion that's willing. Can't. Handle. The. Cuteness. In August 2018, Colton posted a picture of himself with two adorable little puppies for a good cause. "My friends at @puppiesmakemehappy are looking for the next rescue to support and they are letting me pick it," he captioned the photo, in part. He petitioned commenters to give him some suggestions of dog rescues to support throughout the month of September. "This is not an AD," he clarified, "just my love for puppies."

In the end, Underwood ended up choosing Bunny's Buddies, an organization that, per their Instagram bio, rescues "dogs from slaughterhouses, shelters and the streets of China & South Korea."

His athleticism extends beyond football

Though his football days are behind him, Colton Underwood still enjoys other outdoor sports. In February 2018, he shared a photo of himself snowboarding the slopes in Aspen, Colo. In May, he was also pictured exercising with his canine buddy Sniper by Lost Lake in Colorado. At the end of August, he also shared a photograph before "shooting some clays for a cause" that would support both The Make-A-Wish Foundation and his charity, The Legacy Foundation.

Colton definitely keeps busier with charities and hobbies than he does with career pursuits, but this is by design. When the former Bachelor revealed his virgin status to Bachelorette Becca Kufrin, he first began by saying, "I told you earlier, I put my professional life in front of my personal life. I spent a lot of time working on 'Football Colton' and sort of forgot who 'Personal Colton' was." As he explained to People, Underwood felt "unbelievably happy" with himself for focusing on his personal life and deciding to appear as the lead on The Bachelor.

He once dated this famous Olympic gymnast

Colton Underwood may have been single when he headed into The Bachelor, but he certainly had a few relationships prior. On The Bachelorette, he revealed he'd had only one serious relationship before starring on reality TV. Although he didn't refer to her by name on the show, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman confirmed to People back in December 2016 that she and Colton had been dating for some five months.

It all began when Colton asked Raisman on a date over social media. They started dating after the Video Music Awards and made things pretty "official" by attending the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony in 2016. 

By month six, though, the then-free agent and Raisman called it quits. Borrowing a line from Ross Geller of Friends, Colton told The Journal Star, "We're taking a break right now." He cited distance and travel as factors that contributed to the breakup and added, "It ended fine. We're in a good place."

What really happened with Becca Kufrin?

Although Colton Underwood made it far enough in The Bachelorette to get a hometown date with Becca Kufrin, the two would not go the distance. 

When Becca ultimately decided to break up with Colton, she revealed that she didn't think he was the one. After letting him go, she explained, "I know that it feels right, but even knowing that doesn't make watching him walk away any better."

Becca may have known in her heart that Colton wasn't the one with whom she wanted to spend her life, but did Becca break up with him just because he wasn't the right fit? While that could certainly be true, the story of Colton and Becca gets a bit messier and certainly more convoluted once you add in Tia Booth, a former contestant of The Bachelor. How so? Keep on reading.

Making sense of the Tia Booth timeline

It's hard to even mention Becca Kufrin without first talking about Tia Booth. So, here's the deal: Colton Underwood and Tia met prior to Becca's season of The Bachelorette — which is confusing because neither Colton nor Tia starred in the same show. But leave it to Bachelor fans to figure out how these two met.

According to Elite Daily's calculations, Colton and Tia met through social media. That's right, ladies: He slid into her DMs. They pursued a relationship, though it appears it was short-lived. Colton didn't hide this relationship from Becca (or us) when he appeared on The Bachelorette, and eventually, this situation would become NBD — or so it would seem.

When Becca narrowed down her pool of men to the final four, she decided to seek out the opinions of former show contestants, including Tia Booth. Tia pulled Becca aside and dropped the bombshell that she still had feelings for Colton. Yikes. So, could this be another reason Colton was let go? We'll let you Bachelor conspiracy theorists decide on that amongst yourselves.

Rekindling an old flame

Since Colton Underwood did not receive the final rose from Becca Kufrin, he was free to continue on as a Bachelor-style free agent. Since both he and Tia Booth were invited to the fifth season of Bachelor in Paradise, they were afforded the opportunity to kiss and make up — which is exactly what they did. The premiere featured their very Paradise-worthy date: jet-skiing. 

Since Colton was announced as the next Bachelor, things with Tia obviously did not end in a proposal. If you watched their second breakup, you know that it involved plenty of tears — from both parties. After not only being dumped by Colton, but then also finding out that he was the next Bachelor, Tia gave her thoughts to Entertainment Tonight, saying, "I mean, it was just about two months ago that I was telling him that he really needs to figure himself out before he can fully be with someone else." She added, "I don't know that he's ready."

Not everyone was happy about Colton Underwood being the Bachelor

Tia Booth may not have thought Colton Underwood was ready to find love, but the former Bachelor did. "I think that's one thing that I took pride in on both seasons, was just being true to who I am," he said in an interview with Good Morning America. "I think it took all of that to get to where I'm at now and know who I am as a person and know what I want in a life partner," he added.

Still, many fans of The Bachelor felt similarly to Tia. One person tweeted: "Colton as the next Bachelor could be the most disappointing news I'll hear all year." Despite his charity-funding, dog-loving, saving-himself-for-the-right-person persona, it seemed nothing would redeem him from, as one person put it, "yanking Tia's heart back and forth." 

Colton Underwood intentionally messed with Bachelor producers

Having appeared on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, Colton Underwood figured he knew the franchise formula pretty well heading into The Bachelor. However, during an appearance on radio show This American Life, the reality star admitted he had no idea about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that typically go on. In particular, Colton took issue with constantly being tasked with ranking the women. After initially marking Hannah Godwin as his first choice and then not getting a date with her, Colton realized he had to be savvier about his choices to avoid any manipulation.

"From there on out, I was like, all right, if you're going to do that to my top girls, I'm not going to tell you who my top girls are," he explained. Colton noted, "In a weird way, I tried to defend myself and defend the girls by not being truthful to them who my top was." As a result, although Cassie Randolph was his early favorite, by not ranking her highly, Colton was able to spend quality time with her without producers meddling because they never considered her a frontrunner.

He doesn't regret the infamous fence jump

It was the jump heard 'round the world, but, although it instantly turned him into a meme, Colton Underwood doesn't regret what happened in Portugal. The moment occurred following a tense evening with frontrunner Cassie Randolph, at the end of which the former NFL star leapt over the 8-foot fence surrounding the property and disappeared. "I was gone for a while and, in that moment, I quit," Underwood told The Hollywood Reporternoting simply, "I didn't want to be the Bachelor anymore." After returning to fight for Cassie, Colton reassured her they didn't have to rush into marriage, or even get engaged, going against the show's strict setup. 

As Colton explained, "I'm not going to make a rash decision, and I'm not going to do something that is going to have an impact on the rest of my life unless I'm sure about it." Speaking to HuffPost, the retired athlete admitted he didn't mind watching the footage back, even though it was obviously an emotional time for him. On the dramatic scene being teased throughout the entire season, Colton reasoned it was emblematic of his keeping it real as much as possible. 

Colton Underwood takes his mental health very seriously

Ahead of his stint on The Bachelor, Colton Underwood sat down for an interview with Entertainment Weeklyduring which the journalist pointed out how troubled he seemed on Bachelor in Paradise. The reality star made it clear he saw a therapist at least once a week, explaining, "My mental health is something that I've been focusing on my whole entire football career, it's a normal thing. Everybody goes through this." Likewise, in a subsequent chat with TV InsiderUnderwood made it clear he had no issue seeing the show's appointed therapist either. 

The former football player argued that it's just as important for him to keep his mental health in check as his physical health, noting, "I think it's really important to exercise your brain as well too." As for how The Bachelor tackles those kinds of issues, Colton enthused, "I can't say enough good things about how they provide that opportunity for me to have that space and to have that security with no microphones and cameras." Whenever he needed to vent or clear his head, a "safe space" was available, without judgment. 

He admitted to being "heavily medicated" on The Bachelor

Although Colton Underwood saw the show-appointed therapist during his time on The Bachelor, he's been open about how much of a struggle it was as the Bachelor, regardless. Speaking on the Reality Steve podcast (via Today), he admitted to "feeling so powerless and like such a piece of meat," which led to intense isolation. In fact, he admitted, "I had so much anxiety and so much depression that I was like, throughout the majority of my season, I was pretty heavily medicated." 

The reality star consistently butted heads with producers on the hit show, whom he feels manipulated him and the contestants to wring drama out of them. Furthermore, when it came to Cassie Randolph, Colton argued she was taken advantage of so that an inaccurate picture could be painted of him as an "angry person." The Indiana native would never consider returning to the franchise as a result, stating, "There's just been too many things that I've found out about, and that has happened, for me to feel comfortable working with them again on a professional level, not even personal." 

Colton Underwood endured a messy public breakup

Colton Underwood broke the unofficial Bachelor rules by choosing Cassie Randolph in the end without getting engaged, but, despite how hard they fought for their relationship, it didn't ultimately work out. As Us Weekly noted, the reality star revealed they had briefly broken up in 2019, shortly after their Bachelor season had aired. However, they went on to celebrate a year together in November of that year... only to publicly announce their split the following May. "Breaking up was not an easy decision for Colton and Cassie, but they believe it was the right decision at the end of the day," an insider advised at the time.

The former couple subsequently sparred over Cassie's decision to speak, very briefly, about their breakup during an appearance on The Bachelor — The Greatest Seasons Ever! They soon unfollowed each other on social media, and Cassie accused Colton of trying to profit off their split with his book, The First Time. Cassie then took out a restraining order against her ex for "stalking and harassing her," alleging he put a tracking device on her car. The order was eventually dismissed following a private agreement. 

He wrote a book to take back control of the narrative

Amid rumors swirling about his relationship with Cassie Randolph, his sexuality, and plenty more besides, Colton Underwood set the record straight once and for all with the release of his memoir, The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, in March 2020. The Bachelor alum told Variety"The book was just for me to take ownership and get control of my life back ... and also share stories that I felt were personal for me to share from my perspective and my views, instead of allowing someone else to have that control on a TV screen or behind a camera." Notably Colton's virginity was used as a marketing tool for his season of The Bachelor. 

He reckons the franchise needs to get back to focusing on the participants finding love, rather than engineering drama for ratings, noting, "For me, I feel like as therapeutic and as good as this book was, it was also a way for me to sort of close the chapter on The Bachelor franchise."

Colton Underwood shared his truth with the world 

Colton Underwood revealed he was gay during an interview on Good Morning America in April 2021. "I've ran from myself for a long time," the former Bachelor admitted, adding, "I've hated myself for a long time. 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." Although it's been a tough road, Colton described himself as the "happiest and healthiest" he's ever been. 

Ultimately, being forced to confront his feelings led to the realization. The retired NFL star revealed, "I got to a place where I didn't think I was ever going to share this. I would have rather died than say, 'I'm gay.' And I think that was sort of my wake-up call." Colton later thanked everyone on Instagram for their support. As Us Weekly noted, many members of Bachelor Nation rushed to express their support for him, including Hannah Godwin and Tayshia Adams, who both made it to the final three during his stint on The Bachelor. 

Colton Underwood started filming a new show

After emotionally coming out to the world, Colton Underwood was given the opportunity to share his story in a more detailed manner when he scored a Netflix reality series. As Variety noted, the show began filming in April 2021 and will follow the Bachelor star alongside Olympian Gus Kenworthy, who will act as a guide for Colton as he navigates his new role in the LGBTQ+ community. Several high-profile queer celebrities and activists are expected to feature, too, offering their valuable insight.

As People shared, during his ground-breaking Good Morning America interview, Colton confirmed he "felt different" from the age of just 6, but he didn't realize until his teenage years why exactly. Acknowledging he still has a lot of work to do, the reality star admitted, "I still haven't had an emotional connection with a man, I've never allowed myself to. It's never been in my cards to let myself get there. I want to, more than anything." He added, "I'm looking for someone who can push me and challenge me in all the right ways. I still have a long ways to go. I'm still learning."