“Bachelor in Paradise” alum Tia Booth clapped back at social media trolls who called her out for staying silent after her ex Colton Underwood came out as gay.
“@coltonunderwood knows how I feel. Love who you wanna love,” Booth, 29, wrote on her Instagram Story Thursday alongside screenshots of messages she received from Bachelor Nation fans urging her to speak out.
“There’s my statement. I am my own PR team gtg bye,” the physical therapist joked in her post, which was set to T.I. and Rihanna’s song “Live Your Life.”
Underwood, 29, opened up about his sexual orientation for the first time during a candid “Good Morning America” interview with Robin Roberts that aired Wednesday.
“I’ve ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time,” he said. “And I’m gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know.”
The former football player joined Bachelor Nation in 2018 when he competed on Becca Kufrin’s season of “The Bachelorette.” Prior to going on the show, he exchanged DMs with Booth, but their friendship did not take a romantic turn until they competed on Season 5 of “Bachelor in Paradise” later that year. Their relationship ended up being short-lived.
“We were better off as friends, and we’ve remained friends,” Underwood wrote in his 2020 memoir, “The First Time,” in which he called Booth one of his “most trusted confidantes” to this day.
After his stint on the Mexico-set spinoff, ABC named the athlete the Season 23 “Bachelor,” making him the franchise’s first virgin lead. He ultimately chose Cassie Randolph as his winner but did not propose to her during the March 2019 finale.
Underwood and the speech pathologist, 25, continued dating off-screen for more than a year before announcing their split in May 2020. She obtained a restraining order against him in September, claiming he had harassed her and tracked her car. Randolph dropped the order in November as Underwood revealed they had reached “a private agreement.”