Colton said he realized he was different at the age of six and came to the conclusion he's gay in his early teens; however, he hid his sexuality and pretended to be straight for well over a decade -- until he disclosed he's gay to his publicist due to a scandal that was happening in his life, Varietyreported.
The 29-year-old former NFL player told Variety that he admitted his sexual preference to his publicist, Alex Spieller, a year ago out of fear.
"I'll just say it," Colton began. "I, at one point, during my rock bottom and spiral, was getting blackmailed. Nobody knows I was blackmailed."
Colton said he had visited a spa in Los Angeles, CA, known for catering to gay clientele "just to look," and he subsequently received an anonymous email from a person claiming to have taken nude photos of Colton at the location.
Colton told Variety that he was never shown the alleged photos and "should have never been there" at the spa to begin with.
The unidentified blackmailer reportedly threatened to "out" Colton in the press, and so a panicked Colton reached out to his publicist for guidance and support.
Colton reportedly forwarded the threatening email to Alex, which resulted in the pair having a deeply personal conversation about the former The Bachelor star's sexual orientation.
"I never want people to think that I'm coming out to change the narrative, or to brush over and not take responsibility for my actions, and now that I have this gay life that I don't have to address my past as a straight man," Colton explained.
"Controlling situations to try to grasp at any part of the straight fantasy that I was trying to live out was so wrong."
Colton is now filming a reality show for Netflix about his new journey as an openly-gay and proud man. Netflix told Variety the show will go on although a Change.org petition racked in over 35,000 signatures trying to cancel it.
"Colton has been public about his past and the bad choices he's made and this will be part of the show, too," a Netflix executive said.
"While there is tension with providing a platform, we think his complicated story, which includes him taking accountability, is one others can learn from, and we trust Colton and the producers to address it in a thoughtful way."