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'The Bachelor' star Colton Underwood comes out as gay

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE - Colton Underwood from the reality series, "The Bachelor," appears during an interview in New York on March 13, 2019. Underwood, the former football tight end who found true love and new fame on Season 23 of The Bachelor has revealed that he is gay. (AP Photo/Gary Gerard Hamilton, File)

Colton Underwood, the former football tight end who found fame on "The Bachelor,” has revealed that he is gay.

“I’ve ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time,” Underwood told “Good Morning America” on Wednesday. “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.”

Underwood tried out briefly for a handful of NFL teams before his professional football career ended in 2016. Three years later, he won over Cassie Randolph on Season 23 of “The Bachelor,” a show centered on a single bachelor who is asked to select a wife from a pool of romantic interests. Underwood and Randolph never married.

“Every LGBTQ person’s journey to discovering and accepting their authentic self is different, and Colton Underwood’s decision to share his truth with the public reminds us that there is no set timeline for coming out," said Anthony Allen Ramos, head of talent for GLAAD.

"Given the large and loyal fandom who know Colton from ‘The Bachelor,’ his coming out and discussion of his faith will hopefully open eyes to the millions of out and proud LGBTQ people who are also people of faith.”

Underwood said he finally got to a place where he could be honest with himself after 2020, the year that made people “look at themselves in the mirror and figure out who they are and what they’ve been running from or what they’ve been putting off in their lives.”

Reaction to the news came from Andy Cohen — “You’re free now” he told Underwood on Twitter — and Billy Eichner, who said he was happy for Underwood. “If you’re gay, be gay!”

Before headlining “The Bachelor,” Underwood appeared on the 14th season of “The Bachelorette” and season 4 of “Bachelor in Paradise.” He has a book, titled ”The First Time.”

Randolph filed a restraining order against Underwood, later claiming that he placed a tracking device on her car. He denied the allegations and the police order was dropped.