screenshot Colton Underwood

Colton Underwood came to national recognition after his dramatic turns on The Bachelor and its spinoffs. But after three seasons of searching for the love of the right woman on ABC, it was a complete and utter shocker to Bachelor Nation when he came out as gay last month. The revelation incited a lot of dialogue about LGBTQ representation in reality TV, as well as questions about Underwood’s timing of the reveal. As it turns out, unfortunately, Underwood alleges that blackmail was the real motivation behind the timing.

For some, at first, Colton Underwood’s coming out moment came across as calculated due to the timing of it with the announcement of his new Netflix show in the works. The Bachelor star explained, however, in his interview with Variety:

I’ll just say it. I, at one point, during my rock bottom and spiral, was getting blackmailed. Nobody knows I was blackmailed.

According to Colton Underwood, the blackmail about his sexuality occurred after he visited a gay-friendly spa in Los Angeles last year. Apparently, an anonymous source threatened to release nude photos of Underwood from his time at the spa. However, Underwood stated he was only there at the spa “to look.”

Though Colton Underwood also stated he “never saw” the nude photos in question, the blackmail was enough for The Bachelor alum to be honest about his sexuality with his publicist. He maintains that his coming out as gay only “coincided” with the announcement of his Netflix show that will follow his journey coming out, which was pitched to him near the end of last year.

On top of the timing of the Colton Underwood Netflix show, many fans questioned why Bachelor Nation has yet to have a LGBTQ-centered season in its near 20-year run. Underwood hinted at his support of the idea and said it “should be a conversation” for ABC. As for whether or not he would be the face of that potential season, Underwood said,

I don’t like speaking in definitives, but I’m not in a position to be in a show like that. I’m at a crossroads in my life right now.

Bachelor Nation is at its own form of crossroads at the moment. Last season of The Bachelor was the first to feature a black male lead in Matt James, but it ultimately became overshadowed by the racial controversy of one of its female contestants taking place while the show was still airing. Chris Harrison also faced ire for his handling of the controversy, prompting his exit (at least for now) and former contestants Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe stepping in as hosts for The Bachelorette. It remains to be seen if ABC will implement more changes in the future when it comes to an LGBTQ season of the franchise.

Regardless of Colton Underwood’s own controversial past, he didn’t deserve to be blackmailed into coming out as gay. Perhaps his new Netflix show will allow him the time and space to explore it in a more nuanced way.

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