Two weeks after revealing that he’d tested positive for COVID-19, Colton Underwood is on the mend and recuperating with the support of girlfriend Cassie Randolph at her family’s home in Huntington Beach, Calif. That’s where the former Bachelor star and newly minted author called in via Skype to update Yahoo Entertainment on his coronavirus fight — from comparing his quarantine with the Randolphs to a super-sized “hometown date,” to fending off death threats and criticism over his diagnosis.
“I’m doing so much better,” said the reality star, whose memoir, My First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, was published on March 31. “I’m feeling healthy and back to my normal self.”
The 28-year-old credits Randolph — whom he has been dating since they met on The Bachelor — with “nursing me back to health.” And it turns out that the ABC show was good practice for being stuck at home with a girlfriend and her family.
“I joked to [Bachelor host] Chris Harrison that this is like a mix of ‘hometowns’ and ‘happy couple,’” Underwood told Yahoo Entertainment. “While the show is airing we have these things called ‘happy couple’ where you go and you spend time [together] so Cass and I spent time at four-day, five-day chunks where we couldn’t leave this house in L.A. ... And that’s sort of essentially what this has been — not to downplay the coronavirus at all, but it’s been like one big ‘happy couple’/family bonding experience.”
But there’s of course been enormous stress, too — and not just that brought on by battling a fever, cough, breathlessness and body aches, which Underwood experienced as a result of having COVID-19. After he told fans about his diagnosis, the former football player was subjected to online abuse and even death threats. Some accused him of using his celebrity status to get a test — which he denies, noting that two doctors denied him one — while others tried to shame him for being treated and potentially exposing others.
“Weirdly enough I was getting death threats for taking certain people’s medications, and told that I deserved it,” he shared, but added that any criticism was “minuscule” compared to the messages of support he received.
“I think it was good, to be honest, and I don’t really have any regrets about being public with it at all,” he added. “I mean, just like everybody else, I called three doctors and finally I got a really good doctor down here in Orange County ... I had to call around and try to find [out] what was going on.
“I’m sort of in the same boat as every other American,” he continued. “I didn’t use my name, I didn’t get tested just because I’m a celebrity. I got turned down by the first two doctors. I had to fight for my health. I mean, I wasn’t doing well and I wanted to know what was wrong with me and get treated … As far as that goes, I tried to be very transparent with everything that was going on, with my struggles, with what I was getting prescribed.”
Underwood also addressed the tweet — which he later deleted — he sent in response to President Donald Trump’s own message sharing quotes from a largely critical New York Times article about his coronavirus briefings being a “ratings hit” on par with The Bachelor. The reality star urged the president to focus instead on the pandemic crisis.
“President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’ Numbers are continuing to rise...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
Why’d he delete the tweet?
“I took a bunch of the political stuff down because right now all that matters is the human beings and trying to save as many lives as we can and I think getting the message out that this thing affects everyone, it doesn’t care if you’re left or you’re right, or you’re black or you’re white.
“It really can affect and change a lot of people’s lives and right now we just need to be listening to our doctors and our health care and medical personnel because there’s so much going on, and this thing changes almost on a daily basis. We just really need to listen to them and respect what they’re saying about staying quarantined, staying away, and if you’re not going to do it for your own health, do it for the people you love.”
Video produced by Jon San.
For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle's newsletter.