Colton Underwood Reveals How Serious His Mental Health Struggle Really Was

In April 2021, Colton Underwood came out as gay, becoming the first lead to do so in "The Bachelor" franchise's history. It didn't happen on his terms, though. In fact, Underwood had no intention of revealing his sexuality to anyone, much less the whole world at once. But he was blackmailed into it by an anonymous person who spotted the reality TV star at a gay sauna in 2020, he told Variety.

The person sent him an anonymous email claiming to have incriminating photos of him and threatening to send them to the press. In a panic, Underwood forwarded the email to his publicist, marking the first time he ever told anyone he is gay. "I knew that out of anybody in my world, my publicist wasn't going to ruin me," he said. Instead of giving in to his blackmailer, Underwood opted to disclose his sexual preference on "Good Morning America" and embark on a journey of self-discovery. "I've ran from myself for a long time. I've hated myself for a long time," he told anchor Robin Roberts.

Though it wasn't in his original plan, Underwood's only regret is not coming out sooner. Now with the benefit of hindsight, Underwood sees how his struggles to accept his sexuality led to depression. "I used to wake up in the morning and pray for him to take the gay away. I used to pray for him to change me," he said on "GMA." It wasn't long until he hit his lowest point.

Colton Underwood abused pills and nearly stopped eating

To mark Mental Health Month in early May, Colton Underwood shared a photo on Instagram of when he hit rock bottom. "This picture is easily one of my favorites for many reasons, but not for the reasons many would think," he said of the snap, which showed him standing shirtless on a paddleboard with a dog. Underwood looked muscular, but rather thin. "I like it so much is because at this time in my life i was at my lowest and holding on to a secret that felt more like a ticking time bomb." He goes on to explain his logic: He enjoys looking back and seeing how far he's come.

Amid his internal battle of acceptance, Underwood experienced suicidal thoughts, he said on "Good Morning America" in April 2021. "There was a moment in L.A. that I woke up and I didn't think I was gonna wake up. I didn't have the intentions of waking up," he said. At the time, Underwood was abusing legal drugs and neglecting his diet, he detailed in his recent Instagram post. "I wasn't eating a lot, i was abusing my pills and i hated myself."

By sharing his experience, Underwood hopes to encourage others. "No matter how dark and traumatic it seems for you right now, it will get better." A few days before the post, he also uploaded a letter to his younger self to continue his advocacy. "Whatever you are going through, you're not alone," he noted.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.