On Tuesday morning, ABC announced that Colton Underwood is the Bachelor franchise's newest leading man. The 26-year-old rose to fame earlier this year on Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette, where he revealed that he's never had sex before. ET had to get former Bachelor Sean Lowe on the phone for his reaction; the 34-year-old Bachelor Nation favorite had been known as the 'virgin' Bachelor until now. Lowe decided at age 24 to stop having sex until marriage and didn't until marrying wife Catherine, his final pick on The Bachelor.
ET: There’s some backlash over Colton Underwood being the choice this morning. Do you think it’s an unusual amount?
Sean Lowe: Everyone has their favorites, and they’re not all going to be the same! Even if 50 percent of the people love Colton, that means 50 percent wanted someone else. … I know everyone has their fan favorites, and if Colton wasn’t yours, it’s OK. You can still watch the show and enjoy it. It’s not life or death here.
Knowing how the show works, any guess on what producers were thinking in choosing Colton?
He has an All-American feel to him, he’s likable and a good-looking, athletic guy. Given those tangible attributes, it’s going to be good for the women there; they’ll be attracted to him and it’ll build a lot of buzz and create a lot of drama as well. … They also want to build Bachelor in Paradise, and by choosing someone who was on Bachelor in Paradise, that helps give a little credence to that show as well. There’s certainly a production side of things that the normal viewer isn’t privy to.
Of course, comparisons are being made between Colton and you. Colton revealed he’s a virgin and you abstained from sex, and you're both former football players and handsome guys! Is this Sean Lowe 2.0?
From what I’ve seen of Colton, he seems like a nice guy, and I think nice guys have typically done pretty well for the franchise. When word got out I was going to be the Bachelor, I received my fair share of criticism as well. I remember a lot of people thought, "He’s going to be boring." At the time it was between me and Arie [Luyendyk Jr.], and a lot of people wanted Arie and thought maybe I was a little too clean-cut to be Bachelor. But we ended up having good ratings. I think Ben Higgins falls in that same category; just a nice guy, and I think people enjoy watching nice guys! Especially when a love story starts to develop, people really root for the nice guy.
You're still the only Bachelor to ever marry his final pick. Do you think not having sex helped in you finding a really strong match?
Yes, but the reason I chose not to have sex was purely faith-based. I believe God has his hand in my life and I try my best to live a life that would make God proud. I want to live in God’s blessing, and I know I sound preachy, but that’s always been my goal. … That was something I felt convicted about and I wanted to honor God by doing, and in doing so I think I’ve been blessed.
What advice do you have for Colton on how he handles the ‘virgin’ label? There will be the show, press and lots of fan reaction for him to deal with.
For me, it wasn’t a topic of conversation while I was the Bachelor. The women were unaware of it and it didn’t come out that I was waiting until marriage until after shooting. Then I was met with countless interviews where that’s all anyone wanted to talk about. It was kind of frustrating, because on the one hand it’s something you’re proud of, and on the other hand I was thinking, "I just got engaged to this amazing woman and I’d rather talk about this than how weird it is in this day and age to be waiting." My advice to Colton is be who you are, stand up for what you believe in and don’t take anything personally!
What about how he should handle fantasy suites?
I talked to production before those evenings started and said, "I want to make it clear to the women that this isn’t about sex. I don’t want to have sex, but I think that time alone without cameras is important." I wanted them to capture that on TV, which they did. I wanted the people at home to not have any bad ideas about what I was doing. I wanted it to be clear to the women and the viewers at home that this wasn’t about sex, it was just about having that time.
But physicality is a huge part of the show. How should Colton handle dating and being physical with a big group of women?
I was always really conscious of the fact that not only my parents but also my grandparents, would be watching! Having that in the back of my mind made me act in a way that was probably more respectful. That’s my advice: just keep in mind that Grandma is watching!
What would you say to Colton’s contestants on how they should approach him being a virgin; how they should talk that through with him?
Instead of forming opinions and judgments ahead of time, I’d suggest they sit down with him and hear his side. … At the end of the day, if a woman has a problem with it, she’s not going to be the one for him. So, it might make things a little easier for him! Hopefully, he finds some good women who really support his decision and those are the contenders in the long run.
Some are saying Colton is too young to be Bachelor, and pointing out that he was just on both The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. What do you think of people wondering whether he’s ready for this?
Look, 26 is a young age. I don’t think I would’ve been ready at 26. But if he’s serious about finding someone he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and takes that attitude into The Bachelor, it can certainly work for him. … I have seen on Twitter that a lot of people are leery of his intentions. But I think the show has a way of being able to detect BS, and it has before. I think in the first few episodes you’ll probably figure out pretty quickly if he’s genuine or not. … I’ve met guys who are 35 and not ready to get married, and I’ve met guys who at 22 got married and have wonderful marriages. It just depends [on the person.]
While we have you, have to ask how you and Catherine are doing in these first few months of being parents of two!
We are doing awesome. Isaiah is doing well, he’s just a sweet, little baby and has given us no issues. He’s happy, healthy and is starting to sleep, which is great news for us -- especially Catherine! Samuel has handled it so well, he loves being a big brother and is constantly kissing on Isaiah. It’s been fun for me too because as an infant, he has to be around Mom a lot more, so it’s given me a chance to do one-on-one bonding with Samuel. It’s been great.
You two have your successful furniture line with Wayfair and you’re also now part of a new dating app called Vouch. How busy is all that keeping you?
Yes, we have Home by Sean and Catherine Lowe, and we have been blown away by its success. It's one of the fastest-growing brands on Wayfair, which is absolutely exploding. We’re so thankful, and it’s been fun to learn that new business. Vouch is a dating app that was the brainchild of two of my best friends, who were groomsmen in our wedding, and we’ve been able to build it out. We just did our national launch and it’s growing each day. … So you get your friends involved; I can vouch for one of my single friends [on the app] and give a little blurb about them and why they’re great. … People have always used friends to help them date … we found that dating apps today can often be isolating and lonely and we wanted to break out of that shell. It’s kind of a wholesome take and we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Monday and Tuesday nights on ABC.
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