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Colton Underwood said he was blackmailed into coming out after visiting a spa for gay men.
Underwood told Variety he received an email threatening to leak nude photos of his visit.
The former "Bachelor" star announced he was gay during a "Good Morning America" interview in April.
Before he came out on national television, Colton Underwood said he was being blackmailed after visiting a spa for gay men.
The 29-year-old former "Bachelor" star, who announced he was gay on "Good Morning America" in April, told Variety's Elizabeth Wagmeister this week that he had expected to stay in the closet his entire life. Then, he received an anonymous email that he says threatened to out him.
"I, at one point, during my rock bottom and spiral, was getting blackmailed," Underwood told Variety. "Nobody knows I was blackmailed."
Colton Underwood went to the spa in Los Angeles last year
After visiting the spa - which is "known for catering to gay clientele," according to Variety - Underwood says he got an email from an anonymous sender, who claimed they had nude photos of him from the visit and were going to leak them to the press.
Unsure of what to do, Underwood forwarded the email to his publicist Alex Spieller. It was the first time he had opened up to someone in his life about his sexuality.
"I knew that out of anybody in the world, my publicist wasn't going to ruin me," he said.
Since then, Underwood has come out to the world - and soon, the world will be able to watch the ex-NFL star's coming-out journey play out on a Netflix reality show, which he's currently filming.
The upcoming Netflix series won't be the first time the former NFL player has been in the spotlight
Underwood appeared on both "The Bachelorette" and "Bachelor in Paradise" before he was given the starring role on "The Bachelor." Underwood's season aired in 2019.
He also told Variety that, before he went on the show, he joined the dating app Grindr under an alias and "did experiment with men."
"I remember feeling so guilty, like 'What the hell am I doing?'" he said. "It was my first time letting myself even go there, so much so that I was like, I need 'The Bachelorette' in my life, so I could be straight."
Once Underwood found himself in the limelight - and heavily promoted by ABC as the virgin "Bachelor" - he worried that one of the men he'd previously connected with would reveal his secrets to the media.
Underwood made headlines following the show, but not for his sexuality
Four months after he split with his winner Cassie Randolph in May, she filed a restraining order against him.
Randolph, now 26, accused Underwood of putting a tracking device on her car and sending her a text message pretending to be an anonymous stalker, according to court documents obtained by People at the time. She also alleged in the documents that Underwood would drive to both her apartment in Los Angeles and her parents' home in Huntington Beach, California, in the middle of the night.
Randolph dropped the restraining order in November, and Underwood also addressed the end of their relationship in his recent interview.
"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," Underwood told Variety. "Controlling situations to try to grasp at any part of the straight fantasy that I was trying to live out was so wrong."
But Underwood's past has made many question why he's being given a platform at all, much less one as big as a Netflix series. More than 35,000 people have since signed a Change.org petition asking the company to cancel his series.
Read the original article on Insider