“Only 26 years old at the time, I was trying to figure myself out and constantly asked myself such questions and more,” Underwood wrote in in The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, which was released on Tuesday, March 31. “Who was I? What should I do with my life? Perhaps identity and the search for it was a lifelong quest.”
Underwood first competed for Becca Kufrin’s heart on season 14 of The Bachelorette. After his elimination, the former football player had a stint on Bachelor in Paradise 5. He was subsequently named the new Bachelor.
“Out of the thirty contestants that night, I think five or six were picked especially for me,” Underwood wrote about filming the first episode of season 23 of The Bachelor. “They were the likely matches, the maybe-she-might-be-the-future Mrs. Underwood. The rest were strong, colorful personalities, with a couple of question marks, a couple of possibilities, a couple of you-never-knows, and a few unpredictable wild cards.”
After night one, Underwood named Hannah Godwin, Caelynn Miller-Keyes, Tayshia Adams, Hannah Brown and Annie Reardon as his standouts. That doesn’t mean the eventual winner and his current girlfriend, Cassie Randolph, didn’t leave an impression, however.
“Cassie Randolph handed me a box and said that she had butterflies, meaning she was nervous, though she added that she also had actual butterflies,” he wrote. Then she spilled a box of fake butterflies in front of me. I put one in my pocket, while trying to hide the fact I was staring at her. I couldn’t help it. And yes, she was cute and sexy, but what I noticed were her high heels. They had a Velcro strap and seemed practical, cool. She wasn’t spending a month’s salary on those heels with the red bottoms. I liked that about her.”
In the book, Underwood spilled secrets about how he really felt about his contestants, when he knew Randolph was The One and what really went down when he infamously jumped the fence to escape producers. The reality TV personality also opened up exclusively to Us Weekly about writing the memoir on the “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.
“I think the whole goal in the book was just to sort of take ownership back of my story,” Underwood tells Us. “I’ve been so appreciative of The Bachelor franchise for obviously introducing me to Cassie and everything that comes along with the business side of things, which is great. But I wanted to take ownership of my story that starts with the title.”
For details on Underwood’s life before he joined Bachelor Nation, head over to Us Weekly’s second The First Time revelations gallery. Or scroll through for the biggest takeaways about his time on reality TV: