‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Star Thomas Jacobs Talks Growing Up Biracial, His Mental Health Journey

Thomas Jacobs for The Bachelorette
ABC/Craig Sjodin

Thomas Jacobs’ time in the Bachelor Nation franchise — on Katie Thurston‘s season of The Bachelorette and then in Bachelor in Paradise — may be a bit controversial, but he is still being positive and grateful about what happened.

He links some of his behavior — he fought with the other suitors, and he and Katie didn’t part on the best terms — to being “in his own head” while sitting down with Bachelor Nation favorites Mike Johnson and Dr. Bryan Abasolo for their podcast.

“In hindsight, as an adult now, I realize more often than not for someone to be able to step up they need to actually step back to assess what’s going on. Because what happened with me in New Mexico — and I think one of the reasons a lot of the animosity ended up [carrying] over to Paradise — was I tried to fully step up before really understanding the landscape of what the situation was,” he said on Talking It Out with Mike & Bryan. “I was in my own head and I was so worked out to try to be like, ‘All right, this is my journey,” I did not account for, ‘Wait, there’s 31 other people here on this journey going through that same exact thing.'”

Thomas admitted that his family couldn’t watch the season he was on of The Bachelorette, nor could he. “I don’t necessarily believe in holding on to just negative components of what other people are saying because for me, at the end of the day, what someone said about somebody else says more about the person saying those things than the actual person,” he shared. “One of the things that I’m grateful for in Paradise is we saw that firsthand. The people on that beach in a collective listened and they acknowledged where people’s viewpoints were coming from, yet they still took the time to get to know me for me.” Overall, he said he has no qualms about his journey and he’s proud of how things were handled.

From his time in the Bachelor Nation franchise, he’s learned “you’re not going to please everybody” and attributed his attempt to try “to make everybody as happy as possible at all times” for why “things went so sideways.”

On the podcast, Thomas also opened up about growing up as a biracial man and his struggles with depression when he was younger and in college. He grew up in a predominately white, upper-middle-class neighborhood and was one of only a few minorities where he lived. “I’m Black, I’m Russian, Polish, a little Native American,” he said. “Everyone thinks I’m Latino, and I’m everything but Latino.”

As he transitioned away from athletics and figuring out what was next in his life, he fed into thoughts of insecurity, which led to a deep depression and bad injuries that gave him access to pain pills, Thomas shared. “It was a dark path of just getting into my own way and diving into a life that wasn’t fruitful. It was abusing pain pills and whiskey, trying to get away from facing what was next.” He sought help and was able to find his way out of it.

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As for where he is in his personal life now, Thomas remained vague about that and his future in Bachelor Nation. “I will say I’m at a point in my life where I am extremely happy and I’m not wanting for anything else,” he shared.