The former The Bachelor star and football player just came out as gay on Wednesday's episode of Good Morning America. Colton said he knew he was "different" at age six and discovered for certain that he liked men in high school.
The public and Colton's The Bachelor bachelorettes may now feel misled, and Colton apparently feels remorse about hiding his sexuality for so long and hurting the people in his life through his secrecy.
"I would understand why they think [they were misled]," Colton admitted to Robin Roberts on GMA in a pre-taped interview.
"And I've thought about this a lot too: do I regret being the Bachelor? Do I regret handling it the way that I did?' I do. I do think I could've handled it better, I'll say that."
Colton confessed he had tried to convince himself he wasn't gay for so long and even prayed to God to "take the gay away" and "change" him.
Once ABC named Colton The Bachelor star in 2018, Colton recalled "praying to God" and "thanking Him for making me straight."
Colton said he believed at the time God would introduce him to his future wife, with whom he could have a house and welcome children.
"One thing about being labeled 'The Virgin Bachelor' is I fully was a virgin before that, and I could never give anybody a good enough answer about why I was a virgin," Colton shared on GMA.
"And the truth is, I was a virgin Bachelor because I was gay and I didn't know how to handle it... I put myself in really bad situations on purpose. I put myself in these situations so I could try to force myself to be straight."
Colton apparently regrets dating so many women when he wasn't being honest with himself, althoughThe Bachelor apparently helped him to eventually accept his sexuality.
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"I just wish I didn't drag people into my own mess of figuring out who I was," Colton admitted.
"I genuinely mean that. But at the same time, I can say 'sorry' to all of those women and also say 'thank you.' Because without them and without The Bachelor franchise, I don't know if I ever would have come out."
Not only did Colton say sorry to all of his bachelorettes, but he also issued an apology to Cassie -- the woman who received his final rose on The Bachelor's 23rd season, which aired in early 2019 -- for "how things had ended."
"I messed up. I made a lot of bad choices," Colton acknowledged.
Despite being gay during their near two-year relationship, Colton confirmed he was definitely in love with Cassie, which made recognizing himself as gay and coming out to the public even "harder and more confusing" for him.
"If I'm being very honest, I loved everything about her and it's hard for me to articulate what my emotions were in going through that relationship with her because I obviously had an internal fight going on," Colton explained.
"I would just say that I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I'm sorry for the pain and emotional stress I caused. I wish it wouldn't have happened the way it did."
Prior to their surprising decision to part ways, Colton had publicly discussed wanting to propose marriage to Cassie in the near future although Cassie had expressed on more than one occasion she wasn't ready to get married or settle down.
Colton and Cassie's split got ugly and resulted in an online feud as well as Cassie filing a restraining order against Colton in September 2020 because she was "fearful for her safety," according to Us Weekly.
Cassie had accused Colton of putting a tracking device on her car post-breakup and stalking and harassing her. She also filed a police report the following month.
Colton later told multiple press outlets Cassie had dropped the restraining order after they were able to reach an agreement in private that addressed Cassie's concerns.
The former The Bachelor star released a book in 2020 titled The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, which mentioned how Colton had struggled with his sexuality for years.