The future Mrs. James, take notes!
ABC named Matt James the season 25 Bachelor in June 2020. He was initially set to compete on season 16 of The Bachelorette after his BFF and Bachelorette season 15 runner-up Tyler Cameron’s mother nominated him. Production was subsequently suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the network opted to take Matt out of the running for Clare Crawley’s heart and make him the lead.
Matt grew up with his mother, Patty James, and older brother, John, in North Carolina. After his parents split when he was little, his father was “absent” from their lives, per a 2019 Wake Forest Magazine article.
“He was always drawn to families where the mom and dad were together,” Patty told ABC’s New York affiliate in June 2019 while chatting about her son’s ABC Food Tours charity. “I am so proud of him. He overcame everything and he wants to be a role model for these kids.”
Matt made it clear where he stands with his dad in 2020 by shouting out single mothers on Father’s Day via Instagram.
“Happy Fathers Day Mom ?,” Matt wrote alongside a photo with Patty in June 2020, including a Bible verse that reads, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
Matt, who made history as the first Black Bachelor, is biracial.
“I’ve heard from a lot of my Black friends that aren’t Bachelor Nation faithful, that are excited about me and are honored I’m in the position I’m in and have this opportunity to just represent what it’s going to look like to have diverse relationships and tell those love stories,” he told Chris Harrison during a June 2020 interview. “I couldn’t be more excited about that.”
A source close to Matt told Us Weekly that the Wake Forest graduate “has a good family and he’s very loyal” to his relatives.
“He cares very much about his physical and mental health. He’s a spiritual person. He’s not a womanizer by any sense of the word. He’s an all-around, quality, genuine person. He is family-oriented,” the source explained, noting that he’s “definitely serious” about finding a fiancée on the series. “He’s always been looking for that right woman; he just hasn’t found one yet and I think this show is a great opportunity for him to do that.”
Matt also grew up very religious, which will be discussed during the season.
“He’s a Christian and I think that’s something that’s important to all Christians or people of faith,” the source said. “I think he’s definitely focused on the traditional way of starting a family.”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
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