A true friend is someone who sticks by you when you are down and celebrates with you when you are up. It's a person you trust. Someone who understands you, knows the real you and appreciates the individual you are. For the past four years, I have called Juan Pablo, "Mi Amigo."
It all started when we were both working for Mega News. I was the entertainment contributor from New York City and he was the sports contributor from the Miami studios.
When the recent allegations of Juan Pablo surfaced, portraying him as homophobic and hateful towards the gay community, I was hurt. The media outlet that reported the news created a sensational headline despite the consequences.
Eventually, the show got cancelled and we kept in touch. Every now and then I would fly to Miami and we always connected. As our friendship started to develop, Juan Pablo always talked about his love for his daughter and how challenging it was for him to find a woman who understood him. I witnessed a painful break up from a woman he loved.
I was also going through a difficult separation with my partner. After several years of being together, we decided to move apart. Juan Pablo was there. We chatted almost every day for emotional support. It was a relief to find a friend who comprehended how I felt from a different perspective – since I was dating a guy and he was dating a girl – but the sense of loss was the same. He lent me an ear and a shoulder to cry on. He was honest and compassionate at the same time.
I never imagined that I would become friends with a sports guy and be able to talk about my sexuality and personal challenges. Juan Pablo has absolute clarity on his values. He strives for excellence. I reached out because I trusted him and felt that he gave me confidence to be myself.
Life itself is a teacher. When the recent allegations of Juan Pablo surfaced, portraying him as homophobic and hateful towards the gay community, I was hurt. The media outlet that reported the news created a sensational headline despite the consequences.
Juan Pablo texted me right away.
"You know me and the interpretation was out of proportion,” he wrote.
It broke my heart to know that Juan Pablo was sad. I knew I had to do something. That is why I am writing my statement publicly.
I learned that problems can't be solved with the same frequency as they were created. When the world gives you attitude, take altitude. Juan Pablo just did that. He corrected the misunderstanding and created social responsibility toward the LGBT community. Juan Pablo is not homophobic and does have a lot of gay friends. He is not only “The Bachelor" guy, he is just Juan Pa ... a true friend!
Carlos Anaya is a journalist/multimedia producer, contributor for MY Lifestyle Extra on Fox News Latino, Telemundo New York and Managing Editor of MY Lifestyle Magazine. GLAAD Award Winner for Best Spanish Journalism. Moderated Panels at The New York Times, News Corporation, among others. @carlosanaya