The Bachelor just featured one of the most emotional conversations in the history of the show, but not everyone agrees that it should have aired on ABC. After contestant Caelynn Miller-Keyes opened up to Colton Underwood about a devastating date rape experience she had in college, The Bachelor star used the gut-wrenching moment to talk about his own experience with an ex-girlfriend he described as his “first love.”
After Caelynn broke down about her rape, Colton assured her she was safe with him. The Bachelor star gently segued into a personal story about his first love, whom many fans believe is Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman.
“I want you to know with me you’re safe. I have had a situation in my past where I was in a relationship in which she was sexually abused. For me, that was the hardest thing I ever had to watch, going through something with someone — looking into her eyes and knowing just the pain associated with it. Who am I to feel the pain when I wasn’t the victim.”
Colton Underwood did not name his former girlfriend by name, but it is widely known that he dated Ay Raisman for six months before becoming The Bachelor. Raisman has been vocal about her own sexual abuse and her brave testimony helped get former team doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing dozens of young U.S. gymnasts, according to People.
— Access (@accessonline) January 16, 2019
On The Bachelor, Colton Underwood opened up to Caelynn about his very personal experience dating a sexual assault victim, and he hinted that it contributed to the fact that he is still a virgin at age 27.
“I’ve been on the other side of it. For me, for that to be my first love and the first person that I found for me and it didn’t happen. Opening up last year about my virginity wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but I think the thing I realized is everybody who asks me, ‘why are you a virgin,’ they expect this simple answer. They want a reason. My reason’s complicated.”
While some fans were sympathetic to The Bachelor star, Colton’s story alluding that his ex’s intimacy issues were part of the reason he never had sex rubbed some Bachelor fans the wrong way. Angry viewers took to Twitter to blast the ABC reality show for using a conversation about Aly Raisman’s experience to explain Colton’s virginity. You can see some of the viewer reaction to Colton Underwood’s revelation below.
Is Colton really talking about Aly Raisman right now? After months of insisting it wasn’t his place to talk about? Talk about disappointing #TheBachelor
— Essie Cue (@essiecue) January 29, 2019
Could you even IMAGINE going through what Aly Raisman went through only to have Colton use her story and her pain to seem relatable to another girl on national television #TheBachelor
— Jen (@ohjenxo) January 29, 2019
colton literally blaming the fact that he is still a virgin on aly raisman’s sexual assault is what is wrong with men in this world like UR KIDDING i am fuming #TheBachelor
— Erin Vlamis (@erinVlamis) January 29, 2019
I feel like making Caelynn talk about her assault on television so that Colton could talk about his past with Aly Raisman was super disrespectful to everyone in the situation and it also made me cry but thats beside the point #TheBachelor
— Hannah Goldman (@hannahgoldman16) January 29, 2019
Colton Underwood has said in interviews that Aly Raisman was his first love, recently telling the LadyGang podcast that his breakup with her in early 2017 was his “worst heartbreak.”
On Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette, Colton first referenced his relationship with Raisman when he told Becca he had only said “I love you” to one other person in his life and that it wasn’t reciprocated. As for why he didn’t mention Aly Raisman by name on The Bachelorette, Colton Underwood later revealed he didn’t want to distract from the work that the Olympic gold medalist was doing for abuse victims.
In an interview with Us Weekly last summer, Colton Underwood said Aly Raisman was “going through enough” and didn’t deserve to be involved in The Bachelor at all.
“I have so much love and respect for Aly and the voice that she is and the role model that she is for every young woman out there,” Underwood said at the time. “There is no reason to distract from what she’s doing right now.”
Colton Underwood’s season of The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.