WATCH: Former ‘Bachelor’ Colton Underwood Comes Out as Gay

The Bachelor 2019 Final Four

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Colton Underwood sat down with Robin Roberts to “reveal his truth.” In the pre-taped interview on Wednesday’s Good Morning America, the former Bachelor explained this past year has served as a catalyst for admitting what he has long known about himself.

“Obviously, like this year’s been a lot for a lot of people and it’s probably made a lot of people look themselves in the mirror and figure out who they are or what they’ve been running from or what they’ve been putting off in their lives,” Underwood said. “And for me, I’ve run from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time.”

“And I’m gay,” he continued. “And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it.”

Underwood’s announcement marks the first time a Bachelor Nation lead has come out. The former football player was first introduced on Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette before starring in season 23 of The Bachelor.

He left the franchise dating Cassie Randolph. However, shortly after their split last year, she filed a restraining order against Underwood for harassment and stalking. The former couple later reached an agreement and she dismissed the filing.

“I got into a place for me in my personal life that was dark and bad and I can list a bunch of different things but they’d all be excused,” the former Bachelor in Paradise contestant explained. “But overall the reason why now is because I got to a place where I didn’t think I was ever going to share this. I would’ve rather died than say ‘I’m gay.’”

While pondering if he regretted being the Bachelor, he admitted “I could’ve handled it better.”

“I just wished I wouldn’t have dragged people into my own mess of figuring out who I was,” Underwood explained. He added, “I can sit here and say I’m sorry to all of those women. I can also say thank you because without them and without the Bachelor franchise I don’t know if this would have ever come out.”

In fact, he revealed he literally thanked God when he was cast for “making me straight.”

He shared, “I remember that vividly of, like, ‘Finally, you’re letting me be straight. Finally, you’re giving me a life, a fiancée. Then I’m gonna have the kids, then I’m gonna have the house.’”

As Underwood explained, he first realized he was gay when he was a child, but was only able to really understand it as a freshman in high school. He explained, “And by that time I had already grown up in the Catholic church. I have gone to Catholic grade school. I had learned in the Bible that gay is a sin. I had made mistakes in my sports and my athletic career and when you make mistakes, ‘That play was gay.’”

However, now ready to come out, he credits the support of his family and friends for taking this step.

While he admits to receiving a range of responses, “the underlying most common one was almost ‘I wish you’d told me sooner.’ And when I hear that I wish I would’ve had faith in my friends and my family a little bit more.”

Roberts revealed his father was with him at the interview. “My dad, I told him and his reaction was sort of the same, like ‘I wish you would’ve trusted me sooner’ but then he followed it up with ‘How can I help you? How can I help take this off your plate? Who can I tell?’ And to me, that was more meaningful than ‘I love you.’”

Underwood Admits to Thoughts of Self-Harm

When Roberts asked Underwood if he ever contemplated self-harm, he admitted to suicidal thoughts.

“There was a moment in LA when I woke up and I didn’t think I was going to wake up. I didn’t have the intentions of waking up and I did,” he tearfully said. “And I think for me that was a wake-up call of like ‘This is your life. Take back control.’”

He added, “I’m driving my car close to a cliff, like, ‘Oh if this goes off the cliff it’s not that big of a deal.’ I don’t feel that anymore.”

Underwood Apologizes to Randolph After ‘Tumultuous’ Split

After their split, Randolph filed a restraining order against Underwood for harassment, loitering outside her and her parents’ homes and even placing a tracker on her car according to court documents obtained by TMZ. Now, he is issuing a public apology to the speech pathologist.

“I’d like to say sorry for how things ended. I messed up, I made a lot of bad choices,” he said.

When asked by Roberts, he revealed he did love her. “That only made it harder and more confusing for me. If I’m being very honest, I love everything about her,” he explained. “It’s hard for me to articulate exactly what my emotions were for her and going through that because I obviously had an internal fight going on.”

He reiterated, “I would just say that I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I’m sorry for any pain and emotional stress I caused. I wish it wouldn’t have happened the way it did. I wish I would’ve been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else.”

READ NEXT: ‘Bachelor’ Star Opens up About Father’s Cancer Diagnosis