Colton Underwood Kissing in Hawaii ... Who's the Lucky Guy???

Colton Underwood appears to have ventured into the dating waters after coming out as gay ... and the water is fine.

The former 'Bachelor' has been in Hawaii at the Four Seasons in Maui with a mystery man -- enjoying the beach and packing on the PDA -- and TMZ's solved the mystery ... Colton's new beau is Jordan C. Brown.

BEACH BOYS
TMZ.com

Jordan is very involved in politics, having worked on John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004 and also advising on Barack Obama's campaigns in both 2008 and 2012 ... helping fundraise. He also worked on Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.

It's unclear how long the 2 have been hanging out, but we know they were both part of a group including Colton's pal, Olympian Gus Kenworthy, that took a trip to Provincetown, MA back in June ... though they weren't photographed together.

The photos tell the story. Colton looks relaxed and happy, so it seems he's finding his way.

As you know ... Colton came out in April, but claimed at the time dating was not even on his radar. Five months later ... it looks like things have changed.

Chris harrison no hard feelings on 'bachelor' exit ... My Mondays Are Mine!!!

FEELIN' FREE
TMZ.com

Chris Harrison doesn't seem to be holding a grudge after he was cut loose from "The Bachelor" -- if anything ... the dude's let it all go, and looks happier than ever.

We got the franchise's longtime host out Tuesday night leaving The Gallery restaurant in Westlake Village, with his GF, Lauren Zima, in tow. They were hand-in-hand ... and some congratulations were in order, 'cause CH had just turned 50 the previous day.

He tells us they were, indeed, out keeping the festivities going ... and when we asked how he was doing following his abrupt exit from 'Bachelor' nation, he seemed to have processed it and let it go.

Watch this clip ... Chris seems at peace with the way things turned out, and one reason lies in the fact that he can have one of his crucial weekdays back to himself for once in nearly 20 years. That's a good thing for him in 2021, 'cause the big 5-0 landed on said day.

After some pleasantries, our photog got right into the heavy ... namely, by asking if Chris felt any type of way now that Matt James ended up staying with Rachael Kirkconnell in the end anyway -- this after she was accused of racism and he lost his job for defending her.

It's the million-dollar question that everyone has for Chris ... but check out how he answered it with us. No harm, no foul, it would appear -- he wishes the couple all the best and says it's all water under a bridge.

Of course, we also had to ask if he was up to date with this season of 'Bachelorette' -- which has gotten terrible ratings -- and the 2 new hosts who are tag-teaming things. Chris may be gone, but he's keeping tabs.

'Bachelor' Stars Got PPP Loans During Pandemic ... Tayshia, Colton Respond to Criticism

Several big names from "The Bachelor" franchise are catching flak for receiving money from the government's Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic ... but 2 of them, so far, are defending it.

If ya don't know ... the PPP loans were meant to aid small businesses and allow them to keep their workforce employed during the COVID crisis, and new public records revealed companies associated with 'Bachelor' stars like Tayshia Adams and Arie Luyendyk received loans in the past year in the amounts of $20,833 and $20,830 respectively.

The companies that actually received the PPP loans are interesting -- Tayshia named her company Tayshia Adams Media LLC ... and Arie's is called Instagram Husband LLC. Yeah, fans are having a field day with that one.

Another notable one is the Colton Underwood Legacy Foundation, which received an $11,355 PPP loan. Dale Moss also applied for a $20k loan, but it doesn't look like that one has been disbursed yet.

Social media controversy about all this is picking up. The big question being ... why should these reality TV stars and influencers be granted PPP loans?

For her part, Tayshia insists her company's PPP loan was totally on the up and up.

Her rep tells TMZ ... "The primary purpose of the [PPP] Loan is to help business owners retain their existing employees and to create jobs for Americans who are financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a business owner, television and podcast host, and brand ambassador, Tayshia obtained a PPP Loan that enabled her to hire an employee, to whom she offers market-based pay and benefits."

We're told the employee Tayshia hired with the PPP money was previously laid off from a media company at the start of the pandemic.

The rep adds ... "Since exhausting the PPP Loan funds, but in light of the growing economy, Tayshia has committed to retaining her employee for the foreseeable future."

Likewise, Underwood's rep tells us ... "Colton's nonprofit filed for the PPP loan after their annual fundraising events were cancelled due to COVID. None of the PPP went directly to Colton. In fact, Colton has never received any form of payment from the foundation, all of the proceeds go directly to people living with cystic fibrosis."

Nevertheless ... the backlash online has begun. Even former 'Bachelor' Nick Viall is weighing in by saying the loans might be perfectly legit, legally speaking, but to him at least ... something seems "s**tty" about it.

A rep for Arie had no comment. So far, no word back from Dale's rep.

Chris Harrison Leaving 'Bachelor' Role for Good ... 'I've Had a Truly Incredible Run'

10:25 AM PT -- Chris just broke his silence ... saying he's excited to start a new chapter after what he calls a "truly incredible" run as 'Bachelor' host.

CH says he's grateful for all the memories he's made on the show, and says the friendships he made during his two-decade journey will last forever.

10:16 AM PT -- Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment -- which control "The Bachelor" franchise -- have confirmed Harrison is stepping aside as host. The companies add ... "We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey."

Longtime 'Bachelor' host Chris Harrison is done with the popular reality TV dating franchise ... months after he sparked controversy by defending one of its contestants for her allegedly racist past.

After a 19-year run, Harrison will reportedly receive a massive payout to step away and keep quiet about his departure.

News of Harrison's permanent exit -- first reported by Deadline -- comes hours after the premiere of the 17th season of "The Bachelorette" hosted by Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe ... and just days after it was announced that David Spade and others would be guest hosting this summer's season of "Bachelor in Paradise."

Of course, Chris first stepped away from his 'Bachelor' duties indefinitely back in February, after he got immediate backlash for defending Rachael Kirkconnell's alleged racist past.

Many believed Harrison was dismissive and excusing of the racist behavior alleged against Rachael -- who was one of the final few women vying for Matt James' heart on the most recent 'Bachelor' season -- when he was interviewed by former 'Bachelorette' Rachel Lindsay.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

After Chris's initial apology wasn't very well received, he issued a more heartfelt one, then later did it in person on 'GMA' ... and said he was committed to change.

3/4/21
COMMITTED TO CHANGE
ABC

Despite that, it seems he never made it back in the good graces of Bachelor Nation ... and Harrison reportedly reached a confidential settlement with network honchos late Monday night to say farewell.

Originally published -- 7:32 AM PT

Matt James I'm Ready to Post Pics of Rachael ... Now Look Closely

Matt James posted the first pic of him with Rachael Kirkconnell, and imagery is everything.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

As you can see, a black child is hugging Rachael ... and it's pretty much undeniable the photo choice was intentional. As you know, Rachael's romance with Matt collapsed after a photo surfaced of Kirkconnell in her college days at a plantation-themed party. Matt said he couldn't be with her, but clearly had a change of heart.

Matt posted the pic with the caption, "The gift of conversation lies less in displaying it ourselves than in drawing it out of others 🙏🏾"

He goes on ... "Today we began a series focused on financial literacy (savings accounts, what is crypto currency, budgeting, etc.) 🐷💰. Our goal is (and always has been) to provide access to resources, individuals, & opportunities so that our students can make informed decisions for themselves and their families 🙌🏾.."

Seems like a great cause, so good for them.

'Bachelor' Matt James Still Holding On Tight to Rachael ... Reunited, Feels So Good in NYC

Matt James is keeping Rachael Kirkconnell very close by his side -- strolling around NYC -- as they attempt to bounce back as a couple after her racism scandal.

The former 'Bachelor' was hanging out Tuesday with Rachael in the Big Apple -- walking side by side on Manhattan's Lower East Side and even putting his arm around her back as they walked into a building.

Matt told People last week he was "focusing" on his relationship with Rachael, trying to make it work, and these shots show just how much energy he's pouring into it. An eyewitness tells us the couple was holding hands at one point.

He's still keeping a low profile, though, under a hoodie and sometimes a face mask. Kinda similar to what we saw a little more than a week after we saw them grabbing a beer with some friends in Santa Monica. Again, Matt was hiding out under a hoodie.

Despite all the public attention and pressure ... their NYC hangout sure looks like they're moving past the race issues. Even if 'Bachelor' nation hasn't since Matt rejected her during the 'After the Final Rose' ceremony.

As you know ... Rachael had posed for pics with sorority sisters at an antebellum-themed party, and also liked racially insensitive pics on IG, some featuring the Confederate flag.

Rachael made it clear she was still in love with Matt after the split, and all signs point to him being all-in for her as well.

Cue that Peaches & Herb track!

Cassie Randolph Getting Serious with New Boyfriend ... Still Mum on Colton

Cassie Randolph still hasn't said anything about her ex, Colton Underwood, coming out as gay, but she's clearly moved on.

Sources close to the former 'Bachelor' winner and her new boyfriend -- 23-year-old singer-songwriter Brighton Reinhardt -- tell TMZ ... the 2 have been dating for a few months.

Though they've been spotted out together from time to time, their most recent outing is telling -- Brighton was hanging out with Cassie's family and we're told things are gettin' serious.

Cassie and Brighton spent the afternoon at the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach with her parents, along with her brother Landon, sister Michelle and her pretty famous boyfriend, Gregg Sulkin. Pretty good-lookin' crew.

As you may know ... Colton and Cassie dated after he gave her the final rose on his season as 'Bachelor,' but things fell apart and led to Cassie taking out a restraining order against him, which she later dropped.

We're told after she dropped it, there may have still been some bad blood, because Brighton dropped a song called "Creep" with the following lyrics --

"You can’t stop thinking about my baby / What once was yours in the world is changing / God, I hope you get your thinking right / GPS on the underside / Told her everything will be just fine / Damn, I can’t believe these guys." In other words, a clear shot at Colton.

Anyway, Colton recently revealed he's gay, and Cassie has yet to address it other than to say she wouldn't be discussing it, adding ... "There's a lot of layers to it, and I just think the best thing for me at this time is to move forward and just focus on going forward."

So the question ... why are both of them totally mum about each other? If we know anything here at TMZ, when people drop legal cases, they often agree not to trash each other or even mention the other person's name.

Chris Harrison Not Married ... Despite Wedding-ish Pic

Chris Harrison's wedding-y photo with his girlfriend might seem like it's cause for celebration -- but it's not really, because they're not hitched. Not yet, anyway.

Sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ ... Chris' latest IG photo with his girlfriend, Lauren Zima, is misleading -- especially if fans only looked at the image. Yes, it kinda looks like they're dressed for their own nuptials, but that's not the case ... they were just at a friend's wedding in Dallas, where Lauren was a bridesmaid.

You can't really blame Chris for people getting the wrong idea, either ... 'cause his caption was a dead giveaway. He wrote, "'I’d stop the world and melt with you' @laurenzima there’s no one I’d rather celebrate love with and I’ll be your plus one anytime."

Grooms don't typically refer to themselves as a "plus one" at their own wedding. Not out loud, anyway.

BTW, you might also be wondering why Chris is in Dallas and not on the set of the 'Bachelorette' ... which just wrapped filming. Remember, he's on a hosting hiatus due to the racism scandal after his controversial convo with Rachel Lindsay.

Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe have replaced him for this season, and his future with the 'Bachelor' franchise remains up in the air at this point.

At least he seems to be enjoying romance elsewhere.

'Bachelor' Matt James Hanging Out with Rachael Kirkconnell ... Amid Reunion Rumors

Matt James might've walked away from Rachael Kirkconnell on national TV after the racism dust-up ... but he seems to have circled back with her in the real world for another go.

The former 'Bachelor' was seen hanging out with his ex Saturday in the City of Angels -- grabbing brew at a bar called JuneShine in Santa Monica, with some friends in tow. Matt was trying to be all incognito for the outing, but it's pretty obvious to us that's him and her.

His bottom-half attire pretty much gives it away ... so does the skateboard. The guy's often seen shredding and wearing short-shorts ... especially those green/blue ones. He even seems to have ran a marathon in NYC with them back in 2019, as you see here.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

As for Rachael ... well, she's all about that sunglasses-resting-on-the-head look, and this gal who's with Matt in these photos sure bears a striking resemblance to RK from the side. Pair that with rumors they've reunited in recent weeks ... and there ya go.

There didn't appear to be any PDA between the two for Saturday's get-together ... but they were definitely leaving together. We got a shot of them walking away from the bar, and it's clear they were heading in the same direction, and possibly to the same next destination.

So ... what does this all mean??? Seems Matt has forgiven Rachael and/or gotten over the controversy ... maybe both. If that's the case, it certainly appears to be a full 180 from how he said he felt when he broke it off with her during the 'After the Final Rose' ceremony, when he explained why they couldn't be together.

It all goes back to social media posts and old photos of Rachael -- which many considered racist. She posed for pics with sorority sisters of hers at an antebellum-themed party -- which has racist roots in the South -- and liked racially insensitive pics on IG that featured the Confederate flag and white girls dressed in ponchos and sombreros.

There's also a claim that Rachael used to make fun of a white classmate for dating a Black guy back in high school. She copped to some, but not all, of the resurfaced behavior ... and apologized numerous times, while also telling people they shouldn't defend her actions.

We reached out to Matt's rep ... so far, no word back.

Rachael professed her love to Matt even after they split -- and based on this ... it looks like he's giving her another chance. To each their own, we suppose. 🤷🏽‍♂️

Colton Underwood Chills Out at Gay Bar in Denver ... Face Buried in Cell Phone

One of Colton Underwood's first orders of business as a new openly gay man was to hit the town and dip his toe into the scene -- but it looks like he got distracted along the way.

The former 'Bachelor' -- who just came out publicly last week -- went to a gay bar in Denver Sunday ... a place called Charlie's, which seems like a pretty happening place complete with a dance floor, private booths and bumpin' music.

All that was in full flex while Colton was there ... but based on these pics and video we got of him there, dude was more interested in his phone, at least for part of the night.

CHILLIN' AT THE CLUB
TMZ.com

Anyway, eyewitnesses tell us CU was at Charlie's with his friend, and mentor of sorts, Gus Kenworthy. The Olympic skier's kinda showing Colton the ropes in the community ... and will be featured on Colton's Netflix docuseries.

Speaking of them ... we're told Netflix cameras were NOT rolling for this outing -- at least it didn't appear that way to the folks who saw Colton sitting off to the side. We've heard production for Colton's new show is well underway, and that a crew's been following him around lately.

Colton Underwood Let's Stop with Dating Talk ... I'm Not Even Starting!!!

Colton Underwood's gay and single, but apparently not ready to mingle ... TMZ's learned dating is not even on his radar after coming out.

Sources close to the former 'Bachelor' star tell us ... Colton isn't dating anyone now and wasn't dating anyone before he made his big announcement this week on "GMA."

ACCEPTING MYSELF
ABC

Our sources say shortly after Colton came out publicly to Robin Roberts, he left NYC and is back home with his family in Denver to hang out.

Of course, as we first told you, there's also a film crew in tow ... as Colton's new journey as a gay man is being documented for an upcoming reality series on Netflix.

Colton's dating life is an interesting topic because his coming out sparked talks among 'Bachelor' producers about having a gay season of the show, and obviously his name came up as a likely candidate.

We know he's got the 'Bachelor' experience ... but it seems he's in no hurry to date at all, let alone speed-date.

Colton Underwood Coming Out Sparks Production Talks ... Time for a Gay 'Bachelor'???

Colton Underwood's coming out story is not only going to be covered in a new reality show ... it may inspire a major change in the reality show that made him famous.

'Bachelor' production sources tell TMZ ... Colton's been getting a lot of support not just from former cast members and Chris Harrison, but also from many producers of the popular dating series.

We're told a number of producers were moved by Colton's revelation, and they've informally talked over the last few days amongst themselves about a gay 'Bachelor' season.

ACCEPTING MYSELF
ABC

Our sources say the bigwigs on the show haven't weighed in and there has been no formal discussion, but creative ideas for TV shows typically begin with shop talk among producers and other staff, and that's happening now.

We have no idea whether Colton would be interested, but we do know this ... there's a lot of love for him in the production offices of the show. We're told many people on staff cheered Colton as he revealed to Robin Roberts he's hidden the fact he's gay for most of his life.

Colton is not under contract with "The Bachelor" anymore. We're told he booked the interview on his own and chose Robin because he's appeared with her in the past and felt comfortable with her. Nevertheless, we're told Colton called producers the night before his interview aired and gave them the heads up.

We broke the story ... Colton's been filming the past few weeks with a Netflix crew for a new reality series chronicling his journey as a newly out gay man.

Netflix does dating shows too, so ... just sayin'.

Colton Underwood Tayshia & Hannah Voice Support ... 'Bachelor' Runners-Up Happy for Him!!!

There are no hard feelings coming from the 2 women who came up just short of receiving the final rose from Colton Underwood ... they're both fully in his corner.

As 'Bachelor' fans will recall ... Hannah Godwin and Tayshia Adams finished as co-runners-up in Colton's season, and both are voicing support for the former target of their affections now that he's come out as gay.

Hannah tells TMZ ... "I support Colton for having the courage to finally be able to live his life authentically. Nobody should have to hide from who they really are." She adds ... "I’ll always wish Colton the very best and hoping he has found his peace."

A rep for Tayshia tells us she's very happy that Colton's "able to now live his life openly and without fear of being his true self," adding ... "There is absolutely no ill will -- only support for Colton, his willingness to share his truth, and the additional representation for the LGBTQ community."

Colton revealed he's gay Wednesday morning on GMA, telling Robin Roberts he struggled with his sexuality for years, but is taking control of his life now.

TMZ also learned his journey as a newly "out" gay man is being chronicled as a reality series for Netflix.

BTW -- Tayshia and Hannah have been doing great since departing from Colton's season, as well. Tayshia went on to become "The Bachelorette" and is engaged to Zac Clark. She's also co-hosting the next 'Bacherette' season -- which is currently filming -- after replacing Chris Harrison.

Hannah has moved on to become a very popular social media influencer, and is also engaged.

Colton Underwood 'Bachelor' Star Reveals ... I'm Gay

ACCEPTING MYSELF
ABC

8:21 AM PT -- Chris Harrison says he's very proud of Colton. He adds ... "Happy to see you stand up and openly live your truth. You have my love and support my friend."

Colton Underwood -- former star of "The Bachelor" is opening up about his sexuality ... telling the world he's gay.

Colton opened up to Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" saying ... "I've ran from myself for a long time. I've hated myself for a long time ... 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."

Underwood added, "I got into a place for me in my personal life that was dark and bad and I can list a bunch of different things but they'd all be excuses ... I would have rather died than say I'm gay and I think that was sort of my wake-up call."

Colton said it was so bad he thought of taking his life ... "There was a moment in L.A. where I woke up and I didn't think I was going to wake up. I didn't have the intention of waking up and I did. And I think for me that was my wake-up call ... this is your life, take back control."

As 'Bachelor' fans know ... Colton's virginity became a hot topic when he appeared on Becca Kufrin's season of "The Bachelorette" in 2018. Of course, this storyline continued when he became the 'Bachelor' for Season 23 ... but there was a lot more drama than that.

Colton notoriously jumped a gate during filming in the middle of his season and threatened to leave the show, but ultimately decided to return. He wound up choosing Cassie Randolph, though the 2 never got engaged and -- as we reported -- had a very messy breakup.

In his GMA interview, Colton said he was sorry for how things ended with Cassie, and that he truly loved everything about her, which made things more difficult. He says he remembers thanking God once he was picked as 'The Bachelor' because he believed his prayers to be straight had been answered.

"I'M SORRY"
ABC

Also worth noting -- Colton stated in his March 2020 memoir, "The First Time," his time on "The Bachelor" actually helped him realize he WASN'T gay. He said he questioned his sexuality in his early 20s ... the result of being bullied growing up. The bullies said he was gay, and he says he believed it.

Originally published -- 4:47 AM PT

'Bachelor' Matt James Therapist Tweet Sparks Concern ... Network Says It's There for Him!!!

Matt James' tweet about searching for a therapist -- whether in jest or not -- is not being taken lightly by "The Bachelor" fans ... but we're told the help is there for him from the network if he seeks it.

If you missed it, Matt fired off a tweet Tuesday suggesting he's seeking therapy ... the day after the emotional finale of "The Bachelor" and the revelation on "After the Final Rose" that he broke it off with his final pick, Rachael Kirkconnell, due to her allegedly racist past.

Production sources tell TMZ ... the tweet set off alarm bells ... despite not knowing if Matt's being serious or just adding some levity to his situation.

Either way, we're told the show makes the mental health of its cast a priority and offers therapists and counseling both during production and years after filming is over.

Our sources say production makes this well-known to 'Bachelor' and 'Bachelorette' participants ... and has for years.

So, we're told if Matt truly wants help ... the network is there for him.

MARCH 2021
LEFT HEARTBROKEN
ABC

As we reported ... Matt opened up about how difficult the 'Final Rose' episode was for him, and said his experience was compounded by all of the racial strife in the country the past year.

Rachael also expressed her disappointment with what went down this past season, but insisted she thought Matt was the "love of my life."

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!