"I've ran from myself for a long time. I've hated myself for a long time, and I'm gay," Colton told Robin in the pre-taped conversation.
"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."
"I'm still nervous, but yeah," Colton continued. "It's been a journey for sure."
Colton said he did a lot of self-reflection last year amid the coronavirus pandemic when he spent a lot of time in quarantine. (Colton also tested positive for the virus in March 2020).
"This year has been a lot for a lot of people and it's probably made a lot of 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," Colton explained.
When Robin, who is also openly gay, pointed out that she could "see the joy" and "see the relief" in Colton through his revelation, the former football player confirmed, "I'm emotional, but I'm emotional in, like, such a good, happy, and positive way."
"I'm the happiest and healthiest I've ever been in my life," Colton gushed. "And that means the world to me."
Colton said he realized that he was "different" at the young age of six years old.
Colton explained, however, that it took him some time to figure out what exactly made him different considering he felt "more emotional" than other boys in his class, among other things.
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"I couldn't process it and I couldn't put my finger on what it was until high school, my freshman year, when I knew I was gay," Colton revealed.
"[I] was more attracted to the boys and the men than I was the women and the females, and I was already told by society, 'That's wrong, don't do that.'"
But Colton had grown up in the Catholic church and learned from the Bible that being gay "is a sin." Also, when playing football in high school, the guys often used the term "gay" with a negative connotation.
"I think there's a lot of things when looking back, it's like, 'No wonder I held it in,'" Colton reasoned.
He admitted, "I used to wake up in the morning and pray for [God] to take the gay away. I used to pray for him to change me... I tried to force myself to be straight."
When asked to reveal the moment in which he finally found the courage to speak his truth and come out, he recalled, "I got into a place for me in my personal life that was dark and bad."
"I could list a bunch of different things, but I think they'd all be excuses. I think overall the reason why [I'm coming out] now is because I got to a place where I thought I was never going to share this," Colton explained.
"I would've rather died than say I'm gay, and I think that was sort of my wake-up call."
Colton revealed he had considered harming himself before and had "suicidal thoughts," such as driving his car to a cliff and thinking if his car went over the edge it "wouldn't be a big deal."
"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. And I did," Colton confessed.
"And I think that was my wake-up call of, 'This is your life; take back control.'"
Luckily, Colton said he doesn't feel that negativity anymore and most of the people in his life have been loving and supportive.
Colton shared how he's had "a range of responses" to coming out as gay but the "underlying, most common one" is positivity.
Colton said he wishes he had trusted his family, including his father, and friends with this information sooner.
"The only reason I'm sitting down with you today is because I have the support and the love of my family," Colton acknowledged.
Colton also said on GMA he recently bought a home in Denver, CO, and has grown "closer to God" in being honest with himself and others. Colton said he now knows his relationship with God "isn't conditional."
While Colton revealed he has yet to feel an "emotional connection" with a man, he's looking forward to finding a partner in the future.
"One thing about being labeled 'The Virgin Bachelor' is I was fully a virgin before that. 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 -- who also previously had a public relationship with Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman -- selected Cassie from California as his winner and the pair dated after the show until they announced their breakup in May 2020.
Colton later told multiple press outlets Cassie had dropped the restraining order after they were able to reach a private agreement 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 questioned his sexuality for most of his life.
Colton wrote in his book he had searched online, "Am I gay?" as far back as grade school, People reported.
"I didn't know who I was," Colton wrote.
"And I come from an athletic family, so it was always, 'Move on, you're good.' So that threw me off. In high school, when I was struggling with my sexuality, I'm not going to talk to my parents about it. So I internalized it."
Colton also addressed how he had faced rumors he's gay when his The Bachelor season was airing.