Colton gave Cassie his final rose on The Bachelor's 23rd season, which filmed in late 2018 and aired in early 2019. The pair dated for about 18 months and discussed getting engaged before announcing their breakup in May 2020.
"It was such a confusing time," Colton told People ahead of the release of his new Netflix series, Coming Out Colton, which debuts Friday, December 3.
"I knew I was struggling with my sexuality, but at the same time, I fell in love with a woman. That led me to spiral after the breakup because I thought I'd found someone who could make me straight. And I didn't want to let it go."
What started out as an amicable split turned nasty when Cassie accused Colton of trying to "monetize" their breakup as well as stalking and harassing her, which resulted in Cassie filing a restraining order against the former NFL player in September 2020 followed by a police report several weeks later.
Colton allegedly put a tracking device on Cassie's car, sent her "unsettling" text messages, and would stand outside her apartment or her parents' house very late at night.
Colton later told multiple press outlets Cassie ultimately dropped the restraining order after they were able to reach an agreement in private that addressed Cassie's concerns.
"I was not in a good place mentally after the breakup," Colton admitted.
"I really lost myself. And I was a miserable human being. I can't apologize enough to Cassie and her family."
Colton also said he hasn't spoken to Cassie at all and never warned her or her a heads-up that he'd be announcing he's gay to the world.
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A trailer for Coming Out Colton was released on Monday and shows Colton confessing he had put Cassie "through hell" during his coming-out journey.
Colton's dad was shown telling the former pro football player that he "went off the rails," and a friend appeared to scold Colton for how he had treated Cassie, saying, "What you put her through was bullsh-t."
Colton told People, "I'd love to clear up anything that I can with her but I also understand if she never wants to talk to me again. I understand. And I'm not running from anything."
Colton previously said in the press that he went through a very dark time following his split with Cassie and even attempted suicide one evening.
But Colton is now reportedly dating political strategist Jordan C. Brown, and Cassie moved on with musician Brighton Reinhardt, with whom she reportedly couldn't be happier.
"I've gone through so many twists and turns to get to where I am now," Colton shared.
"I'm a much healthier and better version of myself. But I'm still learning. And I'm still growing."
Colton told GMA earlier this year that he realized he was different at the age of six and came to the conclusion he's gay when he was a freshman in high school.
"I'm not asking for a fresh start," Colton noted. "But now that I am my authentic self and now that I can live life on my own terms without a secret, I can promise that I will do my best to become a better person."
Meanwhile, Cassie is reportedly eager for a fresh start, as a source told The New York Post's Page Six that she "really just wants to move past any drama having to do with Colton."
After coming out as gay on GMA, Colton revealed to Variety he had experimented sexually with men prior to appearing on Becca's season of The Bachelorette in 2018, which preceded his Bachelor in Paradise andThe Bachelor stints.
Colton disclosed that he had a few sexual encounters with men when he was in his twenties but never had sex with a man or woman prior to his time on The Bachelor franchise.
"When I say 'hookups,' not sex," confirmed Colton, who had met these men under a false name in 2016 or 2017 through Grindr, a gay dating app. "I want to make that very clear that I did not have sex with a man, prior to that."
In special GMA footage that aired April 15 on ABC's Nightline, Colton lamented of Cassie, "I don't know if I ever will get the chance to sit down and talk with her. I would like to. I would like to say sorry for how things ended. I messed up. I made a lot of bad choices."
He continued, "I made mistakes at the end of that relationship and I ruined the good memories we had by my actions and what I did to hold on to being straight because I didn't want to look myself in the mirror. So for that, I'm extremely, extremely sorry."
Colton added at the time how he's sorry from the bottom of his heart.
"I'm sorry for the pain and emotional stress I caused. I wish it wouldn't have happened the way it did," Colton acknowledged, adding that he regrets how he had misled his The Bachelor bachelorettes.
"I wish I would have been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else... Do I regret handling [The Bachelor] the way that I did? I do. I do think I could've handled it better... I just wish I didn't drag people into my own mess of figuring out who I was."