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After handing Nick Viall the roses as The Bachelor lead in season 21, ABC disappointed fans further when it went back in time to find Arie Luyendyk Jr. the Bachelor in season 22, and now the network has returned to selecting a rejected finalist from the previous season’s Bachelorette with Colton Underwood. After appearing on Becca Kufrin’s season, Underwood made himself known by continuing on to Bachelor in Paradise, and now he is the season 23 Bachelor! Fans of the series are definitely divided on how they feel about the latest pick, so here is everything we know about him ahead of season 23 in 2019:
Before Underwood was tackling the reality TV dating realm, he was out there getting tackled. Underwood played as a tight end for Illinois State and afterwards he was signed by the San Diego Chargers in 2014. While he was signed in the NFL, he never actually played a regulation NFL game in his career. After a short stint with the Chargers, Underwood went to the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad but was released only a week later. After a brief return to the Chargers, he went to the Oakland Raiders’ practice squad but was released in August 2016 and decided to retire from football.
Although the 26-year-old is now known for his relationships made on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, before he was connected to Bachelor nation he was making headlines for a different relationship. In 2016, Underwood went viral when he asked out Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman on social media while congratulating her on her success at the Rio Olympics. After some social media exchanges the pair began to date and were seen attending some big events together and were constantly making headlines for their adorable relationship. After a year together the pair split because of distance, but Underwood said, “We’re taking a break right now. We’re still good friends and talk, but all that travel had been a nightmare. It ended fine. We’re in a good place.”
Colton Underwood was born on Super Bowl Sunday on January 26, 1992 and if that wasn’t any indication that football was in his future than his name sure was. Colton’s parents, Scott and Donna Underwood, named their son after the Indianapolis Colts football team. He went on to attend Washington Community High School in Washington, Illinois and Illinois Sate University where he played football and was a two-time All-American.
Although Colton competed on The Bachelorette vying for Becca Kufrin’s heart and even made it to the top four, another relationship of his took center stage. Before he was cast on The Bachelorette, he had dated Bachelor nation alum Tia Booth and apparently broke things off when he found out he had been selected for The Bachelorette. After Booth made an appearance on the season and it was clear the two still had feelings for each other, they made their way to Bachelor in Paradise, but yet again things didn’t work out (probably after he found out they wanted him for The Bachelor). For those Bachelor fans afraid that the Colton-Tia storyline will be dragged out even further, don’t worry because it has been confirmed that she will not be competing on season 23 of The Bachelor. “I would like to say we are finally on the same page for the first time in our relationship, and we’re just good friends,” Underwood said of their relationship now on the Bachelor reveal on Good Morning America while Booth tweeted, “And NO I will NOT be a contestant on Colton’s season. Lord bless.”
Although Colton had been in the discussion to be the next Bachelor since he was in Becca’s top four, it seems he was everyone’s least favorite pick. When Reality Steve spoiled the news that ABC had picked Colton for the lead, he said the news was met with overwhelming negativity. “To say the reaction on Twitter yesterday on my post was negative would be an understatement. I’d say it was running 95% in the camp of “Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!” Reality Steve shared.
The fact that Colton Underwood is a virgin may seem like a strange thing that has to be known heading into his season, but it is definitely important. For those who didn’t watch season 14 of The Bachelorette, Underwood’s sexual status became a focal point when he revealed the news to Becca Kufrin and also admitted he doesn’t tell many people because of the shame and how they react although now he is proud of it and values it. He added that he wasn’t necessarily waiting until marriage, but he was “waiting for the right heart,” so of course the topic of that person with the right heart and Colton potentially losing his virginity to her will be a major storyline during his season of The Bachelor.
One of the major reasons it seems ABC wanted Colton Underwood as the lead is because he is the perfect balance of jock and sensitivity. While he is most described as a “former football player,” what is more important is that he has a really good heart and at only 23 he started the Colton Underwood Legacy Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit that raises funds and awareness for those with cystic fibrosis and helps provide them with the resources and equipment that they need. He began the foundation after his cousin Harper was born with the disorder.
If playing football wasn’t a big enough indication, it should be no surprise that the new Bachelor loves being active! He is very fit and it seems enjoys sports of any kind. He likes hiking, playing golf, snowboarding and riding horses. He also likes the occasional adrenaline rush, such as zip lining.
Football and starting his own non-profit weren’t the only things Underwood set his mind to. In May of 2016, he announced that he was opening a sports bar called 4th & Goal in Washington, Illinois. “Excited to announce the opening of 4th & Goal Grill in my hometown of Washington, IL,” he wrote. “Cold beer, great food & sports.” It is unclear what happened or didn’t happen with the restaurant as Underwood ended up selling 4th & Goal only two years later and it is now a family BBQ restaurant called Brickhouse BBQ.
For women who can’t resist a handsome man with an adorable bond with their pets, then Colton Underwood is going to be irresistible. Much of his Instagram is dedicated to pictures of his adventures with his sweet dog Sniper and he documented Sniper recovering from a tumor. Most recently, Colton and Sniper welcomed another member to their group when Underwood adopted a German Shepherd named Thor.
A lot of Bachelor fans might not be happy with the news that Colton Underwood is the season 23 Bachelor, but he couldn’t be any more excited. Very early on after being eliminated from Becca’s season he tweeted that he would “love” the opportunity, and now that he has been selected, he said “I’m very excited. I’m so grateful. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been smiling.” He added, “Obviously you can tell how it was all so emotional for me. But it was also good for me. I can’t say enough good things about Becca and enough good things about Tia. They’ve helped me grow and discover who I am and what I’m looking for in a wife.”
As with every season of The Bachelor, fans are already skeptical that Colton took the lead for the “right reasons.” It seems appearing on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette has been just an attempt at fame by many, and a stepping stone to Hollywood, but after the announcement was made that he was the bachelor, Colton was quick to reassure everyone he only wants to find love and “absolutely” wants to propose at the end of his season. “That’s what I’m looking for … being engaged and then getting married shortly after that,” he said. “I’m very excited. Third time’s the charm, that’s what they say, right? That’s what I’m hoping for.”