Colton Underwood's season of The Bachelor may be best remembered for the leading man getting so sick of the show at one point that he literally jumped a fence and ran away, baffling the production team and host Chris Harrison. Throw in the fact that Colton screwed up the normal format of the show by deciding who he wanted to choose before the time came for the proposals, and it was hardly a conventional season of the show. Now, Colton has revealed that he started lying to producers early on, and it's partly due to those lies that the season went the way that it did.
Originally one of Becca Kufrin's suitors on her season of The Bachelorette, Colton ultimately chose Cassie Randolph, although they only wound up in a relationship rather than engaged to be married. There was no final rose ceremony or couple of epic proposals or any of what usually happens at the end of a Bachelor season. So, when did the season go sideways and guarantee that it wouldn't come to a normal end?
To hear Colton tell the story, it was quite early on, and it had to do with his early feelings for Hannah Godwin. Apparently, producers selected who went on dates with Colton based on his rankings of the women, and he noticed something fishy about his rankings and what producers delivered. Speaking to the This American Life podcast, Colton said this:
They always asked to rank the girls. And very early on, Hannah was up there. And she got left off of a date... And I sort of recall remember feeling a little burnt when they did that. I was like, so let me get this straight. Hannah's number one on my list right now, and she's not getting a date this week. So from there on out, I was like, all right, if you're going to do that to my top girls, I'm not really going to tell you who my top girls are. Because I don't want you messing with them. So in a weird way, I tried to defend myself and defend the girls by not being truthful to them who my top was.
Colton went on to explain that he just always kept Hannah Godwin on the top of the list and "never changed it," even after he started to fall hard for Cassie Randolph. The producers just had no way of knowing that Cassie had replaced Hannah in Colton's heart, and Colton wasn't changing his story even when he made the journey to Portugal for fantasy suites dates with his three finalists: Cassie, Hannah, and Tayshia Adams.
What seemed like a relatively sudden meltdown that led to the fence jump went down in Portugal. Colton was ready to choose Cassie, which went against what he'd been leading producers to believe for quite some time. It does seem like the producers caught on at least a little bit, though, as demonstrated when Cassie's dad appeared in Portugal to talk to his confused daughter. Notably, Cassie's dad had been the one to hold back from giving Colton his blessing to marry his daughter during the hometown visit.
According to Colton, the same thought was running through his mind that was running through the minds of many viewers: there was no way Cassie's dad just happened to show up in Portugal, and it's not like Tayshia and Hannah's dads were being flown out to chat with their daughters. It struck me as pretty laughable back when the season was airing, but Colton clearly wasn't amused.
Colton didn't actually know about Cassie's visit from her dad until the fateful dinner when she revealed she'd decided to leave, and filming for that dinner was out of the ordinary, according to the Bachelor himself. While producers are often "hovering" during the dinners, only the "cameras" and "audios" were present. Why? Well, Colton thinks that "they knew that I knew."
He elaborated on what happened at the dinner when he learned about the visit from Cassie's father:
Oh, I was thinking I just got screwed. I was thinking that that wasn't her doing. I know what the format of the show is. And for me hearing, hey, by the way, my dad came back, really sparked something in me. I was like, OK. So I don't have the control I thought I had.
Would this have happened if Colton had been straight with the producers about preferring Cassie to not only Hannah, but everybody else? We can't say for certain. The Bachelor definitely isn't designed to be sabotaged by the person at the center of it, and the stress of the season clearly had quite a toll on Colton. As much as the fence jump was played for spectacle and drama in the build, it was the result of Colton really needing to get away.
That said, Colton himself admits that maybe he was a bit at fault for how it went down:
I think that it backfired because then they were like, whoa, we thought it was Hannah because you kept telling us even on your list, when you'd rank them, Hannah's one.
And the rest is history. Heartbroken, confused, and overwhelmed, Colton grabbed his wallet, shoved a camera, and ran out into the Portugal night to jump a fence and escape. There was more to the story, though, as he explained that he was so desperate to leave that he was prepared to pay for his own flight home, which would have meant getting a new passport. Why? Because the Bachelor producers apparently had his passport.
After about two hours, Colton gave up his mission to run away, and he gave himself up to producers. He wasn't done playing the system, though, as he revealed that he went to the show's therapist to vent his feelings and plan his next move, because the Bachelor rule is that filming while contestants talk to the therapist is not allowed. Sneaky, Colton!
He did eventually get a happy ending, although he had to have some rough conversations with Tayshia and Hannah, not to mention make the right overture to Cassie, before he got there. And then, he had to go through his season of The Bachelor airing on ABC. As evidenced by Hannah Brown's discoveries about Jed after she chose him but before the official ABC reveal, what happens while the episodes air can impact the ending for the couples.
In Colton's case, he and Cassie weathered the storm, but he weighed in on how it felt to see the fence jump hyped up as something it wasn't:
That was sort of hard for me to deal with because in a way, they're teasing it. America's making jokes about it, making memes about it. And that's their number one marketing and selling piece. Meanwhile, I know the seriousness behind it. I didn't really real-- I didn't even know if they were going to put that in the show until, obviously, I saw the trailer of me jumping the fence, and then I realized that they probably had to.
After everything Colton and Cassie went through on The Bachelor, I hope that they get to enjoy some peace and happiness out of the limelight and away from the franchise drama. Colton's two runners-up, Tayshia and Hannah, are both in the mix on Bachelor in Paradise at the moment, and it hasn't been going super well.
Hannah is in the midst of a love triangle -- recently more or less downgraded from a love pentagram -- and Tayshia more or less recovered from the Blake fiasco to hear John Paul Jones attempt to recite Shakespeare at her. She didn't hold it against him that he forgot most of the lines (or quoted a play where the romance ended with the two lead characters dead). Could they be the next big couple on Bachelor in Paradise?
Colton's successor as leading man of The Bachelor hasn't been announced yet, but the odds are pretty good that one of the guys currently in Paradise will get the gig. So, be sure to tune in to Bachelor in Paradise on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC for the latest.