Giving it all he’s got! Matt James was not sure how his time as the Bachelor would go, but he decided to bare it all and be open with his Bachelorettes in hopes of finding his future wife.
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“It was difficult leading up to the show because I’m like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to talk about this. I’m going to leave this out,’” James, 29, exclusively told Us Weekly on Monday, January 4, while promoting The Bachelor’s season 25 premiere. “And then when I got there, I put everything on the table.”
The North Carolina native added: “I put it all out there because I need them to know who I am, where I’m coming from and what I’ve been through for them to make an assessment on me. I’m courting them, but they’re [also] courting me.”
The ABC Food Tours founder noted that each of the women on his season had to decide whether he was right for them while he was searching for his happily ever after.
“They’d be, like, ‘This guy is not what I’m into, I’m out.’ I want them to be able to make that assessment on me too,” he said. “And that only comes through being real with them and not holding back.”
James, who was announced as the show’s leading man in June 2020 after previously being cast on Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette, revealed that it was not always easy being so vulnerable.
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“It was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do, but I would do it again,” he told Us. “It’s tough because there’s a lot of things that I’ve avoided in my personal life that, as you saw in the preview, brought me to tears.”
He added: “There’s a lot of emotional situations and life experiences that I’ve gone through that I’ve kinda [tried] to repress and those things came to light when you’re trying to have these women know everything about you. I want to be vulnerable and show them that I’m here and I’m not going to hold back. You never know where that’s going to take you when you’re that real in the moment, you know.”
The former college athlete’s journey was a little harder than most since he did not compete on The Bachelorette before stepping into the limelight as the lead. Last month, Chris Harrison exclusively told Us that filming James’ season was unlike any other, since he didn’t understand all the ins and outs of shooting.
“There were some times where he would just — we’d be talking a thousand miles an hour and he would just stop and say, ‘Guys, I don’t know what you’re saying,’” the TV host, 49, said in December 2020.
Harrison recalled James telling him, “I’ve never done [this]. I don’t know what a rose ceremony is. And we’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’”
James, who is the franchise’s first Black male lead, did get some advice from other Bachelor Nation stars before starting his adventure.
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The Wake Forest University alum’s BFF Tyler Cameron told Us that he advised James to “have fun” with the process.
“Don’t get enamored by all the glitz and glamours of how amazing this can be. Really see what this is, be in that moment and see who that girl is for you, and see if it can work,” Cameron, 27, said.
Sean Lowe, who met his wife, Catherine Giudici, on season 17 of the ABC show in 2013, told Us that his “biggest piece of advice” would be “don’t let all of the stuff after the show distract you from who you choose, because it’s super easy to allow that to happen.”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Emily Longeretta
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