Bachelor in Paradise‘s Colton Underwood is a football player, and he acted like one on the season premiere in the sense that he has us all Wednesday morning quarterbacking his in-game choices. Colton arrived in Paradise with a history with Tia Booth. They spent a weekend together in January, and then Tia went on The Bachelorette and told Becca Kufrin that she still had feelings for Colton, which contributed to Colton getting eliminated from the show.
When Tia got to Paradise, she was there for Colton. But Tia and Colton didn’t talk in the month between him getting sent home and arriving in Paradise, and when Colton arrived on the second day of filming, it felt like another month went by before he talked to her and gave her a date card. His strategy of dragging out the inevitable and making Tia squirm about him maybe being interested in other women had people at home going “Don’t string her along! Go talk to her, dude!”
But in Colton’s mind, if Tia feelings about him were so strong that she had to go on The Bachelorette and tell Becca about it, the onus was on her to reach out to him. “I didn’t owe Tia a conversation,” he tells TV Guide. “If anything, Tia should have pulled me. That’s how I felt. Tia and I didn’t speak prior to going down there. I was going into Paradise with an open mind. Everybody was on the table, and I was there to form a relationship with somebody. I was pulling people just to talk to them and feel everybody out.”
He says he doesn’t resent Tia for what she did on The Bachelorette, even though his life could be very different right now if she hadn’t, but he was the one left confused and frustrated by her actions. “I don’t see why everybody thought that I owed some big explanation when it was the other way around,” he says.
The season teaser seems to show that Colton and Tia don’t work out and she continues her budding relationship with Chris Randone, but he promises that by the end of the season, viewers will know where he and Tia stand.
Colton is satisfied with how he was portrayed on The Bachelorette (though he thinks the virginity stuff was made into a bigger deal than it actually was), and says that watching it back was “therapeutic” because he got to see Becca’s relationships with the other guys, and that gave him closure on his own. But he doesn’t know if he’ll feel the same when he watches Paradise. “I’m sort of nervous to see how that all plays out, because I do know how emotional and raw it was to film that,” he says.
And stuff happened to him in Paradise outside of Tia, too. He says he gained 12 pounds during filming due to a steady diet of chips and guac, brought an air conditioning unit with him to resort and still “sweat like an animal,” and repaired his relationship with Jordan Kimball, with whom he clashed on The Bachelorette.
“I respect Jordan and I like Jordan when I’m not dating the same girl as Jordan,” he says. “That’s what I found out in Paradise. It allowed me and Jordan to clear the air on all our beef.”
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.
Additional reporting by Tim Surette.