Josh Seiter, a former contestant on The Bachelorette, has revealed he is alive after a statement shared on his Instagram claimed he was dead.
In a video posted to his Instagram page on Tuesday (29 August), Seiter claimed that his “account was hacked” and apologised for “all the pain they caused when they made that post” announcing his death at age 36.
“As you can see, I am alive and well,” Seiter told the camera in his latest Instagram post. “My account was hacked. For the last 24 hours, I’ve been trying desperately to get into it. Somebody was playing a cruel joke and mocking my mental illness and the struggles I’ve gone through, with depression and suicide attempts, and I’m sorry for all the pain they caused when they made that post.”
He added: “I just got back into my account. I’m going to do all I can with my team to try to identify who was behind this, but again, I apologise for the confusion and I will update you guys as more facts come in.”
On Monday, a statement allegedly posted by Seiter’s family claimed to announce the former Bachelorette contestant’s passing. “It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share the tragic news of Joshua’s unexpected passing,” the statement read on Instagram. “As all who knew him can attest, Joshua was an incredibly bright light in an increasingly dim world. His fearless voice and indomitable spirit helped thousands of people in their darkest moments feel just a little less alone.”
“Although our heartache at Joshua’s passing pains us beyond measure, we find comfort in knowing that he is finally at peace,” the statement continued. “We hope and pray that his spirit can continue to live on in the pictures and words on this page, which we will leave up for the time being. While we do that, we would kindly ask for privacy as we grieve.”
The statement also included information for “anybody who is experiencing a mental health crisis” to call the 988 SMS Lifeline, which provides “free and confidential support for people in distress”. However, the post has since been deleted from Seiter’s Instagram account.
Seiter was known for his appearances on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette in 2015. He was eliminated the first week.
The former reality TV contestant currently works as an OnlyFans model and an adult film actor. According to Out magazine, Seiter came out publicly as bisexual in June after having previously identified as pansexual.
The Bachelorette alum has been open about his mental health struggles in the past. In a July 2021 Instagram post, Seiter wrote in the caption that he was a “suicide attempt survivor” who struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar depression, and generalised anxiety disorder. “But I refuse to give up,” he said.
Last month, Seiter detailed some of the mental health struggles he experienced in his early 20s. “When I was 21 I was completely catatonic and committed to a psychiatric ward. When I was 22 I tried taking my own life. At 23 I underwent electroshock therapy,” he captioned a mirror selfie.
Seiter went on to share that he “harnessed every bit of strength” to apply to law school, and at 25 years old he graduated law school at the top of his class. “By 30 I became one of the most followed mental health advocates online and one of the top creators on [OnlyFans],” he continued. “At almost 36, life is pretty dang near perfect. Never, ever give up. Your story isn’t written yet. Every chapter is leading to a more perfect ending. I promise.”
The reality TV star was also open about his sobriety, revealing on 27 June that he was celebrating “three years and eight months of sobriety.”
After Seiter revealed that his Instagram account had been hacked, many fans shared their relief that the death announcement was actually a hoax. “Thankful you are alive and thank you for all you do and share! Sorry you are having to go through someone’s cruelty!” one person commented on Instagram.
“So glad you’re alive!!” another fan wrote. “Keep on striving!”
“Glad to hear you’re alive and well. What a sick joke. People need to stop with their sick humour,” a third person said.
This article has been updated to include Seiter’s comments.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.