'Bachelor' Star Matt James' Romantic History: An Inside Look

Matt James' marriage and relationship history have come into question as the star takes on a newfound central role for this season of 'The Bachelor.'

Chris Barilla - Author

Jan. 18 2021, Updated 3:16 p.m. ET

matt james married before
Source: ABC/Craig Sjodin

As the new season of The Bachelor unfolds, Matt James seems to be hitting his stride as the show's latest male contender, but what was his dating life like before starring in the hit reality show?

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Reflecting on his experiences during the time he lived in New York City, Matt has been particularly candid about the ideas of marriage, dating, and romance as a whole. He painted a clear picture of his romantic successes and defeats associated with living a bachelor lifestyle in the Empire State.

Instead of marriage, Matt was focused on his career.

was matt james married before
Source: ABC Press

Before he became the lead of Season 25 of The Bachelor, Matt was as single as could be.  However, his choice to remain a real-life bachelor prior to joining the ABC franchise was seemingly out of financial necessity, not a reluctance to date.

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During a recent appearance on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, Matt elaborated on his lackluster dating history while living in New York, "My dating history in New York [was] slim to none because I was broke. Like, I didn’t have any money, so I couldn’t take anybody out on a date. New York is expensive, so just by default, I wasn’t doing a lot of dating."

The reality star went on to add that while in the city he was more "focused on the charitable work" for his nonprofit organization, ABC Food Tours, which he was heavily engaged in at the time. Due to this, he left the prospect of dating on the wayside for quite a while.

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Matt hasn't been in a relationship in quite some time

was matt james married before
Source: ABC Press

"I’m trying to hustle. I moved to New York to grind," he explained about the work he was focused on at the time instead of dating around. "And I knew that the relationship part would come, but it had been a while since I had been in a serious relationship."

Matt made headlines from the moment he was chosen to be the new season's star. Between being the first Black lead on any Bachelor program and his bombshell reveal to show host Chris Harrison that he hasn't ever been in love before, the North Carolina-native is in a league of his own compared to past bachelors.

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Yes, Matt claims he has never been in love before!

was matt james married before
Source: ABC Press

Matt was quick to explain the reasoning behind him never achieving true love prior to taking part in The Bachelor. 

"I had said that in the past, but I wasn’t willing to make those sacrifices and do the things that I [am] willing to do now," he said referring to his conviction regarding finding romantic happiness now that his position mentally on the subject has changed.

That conviction has seemingly maintained as Matt navigates his role as the lead in this season of the hit reality program. Despite never having been in love before, the real estate broker maintains that being on the show has afforded him an opportunity to explore that side of himself more frequently than ever before.

On letting potential courters into that previously shut-out side of himself, Matt told the podcast hosts, "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."

Watch The Bachelor Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. 

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