Matt James Reunited With Estranged Father, Manny James, on 'The Bachelor'

Tatayana Yomary - Author
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Sep. 28 2023, Updated 2:24 p.m. ET

Matt James and Manny James
Source: ABC

Season 25 of The Bachelor was filled with major twists and turns. From the addition of five new women competing for Matt James' heart, Heather Martin making a surprise appearance, to the escort scandal, Bachelor Nation had a lot to unpack during the season. And of course, it didn’t stop there.

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Everyone knows that The Bachelor serves up drama on a silver platter, but many viewers didn’t realize that a major incident involved Matt's father. Fans were stunned as Matt reunited with his father — Manny James — on-screen to have a discussion. And of course, things were tense. That said, their conversation opened up a new can of worms and has left viewers wondering who his father is and why their relationship is strained.

So, who is Manny and what effect has he had on Matt James' life?

If you watched Season 25 of The Bachelor, then you know that Matt often shares details about his family life. And while he has always been loving and appreciative of his mother, his father is a whole other story. The two were estranged.

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Matt James on the bachelor season 25
Source: ABC

Manny is the father of Matt and his younger brother John. He divorced Patty when Matt was a young boy. As a result, Patty raised Matt and his brother John as a single mom.

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While it’s clear that Patty has done a great job, Matt has harbored resentment for his father. It was clear as day as he shaded him on Father’s Day by honoring his mother instead of his dad.

“Happy Father's Day Mom,” the former football player captioned a since-deleted pic with his mother, adding “Psalm 68:5," which reads "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."

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Matt also spoke about how his father’s infidelity affected him on The Tamron Hall Show in January 2021.

“There are very tough conversations that I have with individuals that allude to where I’m at in my life and why it’s been so difficult for me to be in a relationship,” he said. 

“A lot of that stems from my dad and my mom’s relationship," he continued. "I saw what infidelity looked like at a young age. I saw family members that were against the relationship and doubling down on it after seeing the infidelity between my dad and my mom.”

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“Infidelity is such a selfish thing to happen. For it to take place when you’ve made that commitment to somebody — and knowing how serious I take that commitment — is why I want to make sure that I’m going about this process as seamlessly and focused as I can so I’m not putting someone in the situation to get hurt.”

Matt James walking in the woods
Source: ABC
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Manny admits that it’s been a minute since he spoke with Matt.

There’s no denying that emotions were high during Matt's season of The Bachelor. And aside from the obvious reasons of Matt preparing for Fantasy Suites, Manny had a major effect on Matt. Since Matt’s goal was to address his personal issues with commitment and relationships before getting down on one knee, he decided to go to the source.

Things quickly took a turn as Matt confronted Manny about cheating on his mother Patty.

"I want to have a family. I want to be a dad, Matt said. “I want to be a father. What that means to me is showing up, having tough conversations, being there. When I needed you, you weren't there to have those conversations. You started other families. That affected me. I need to know where your head was at, so I don't make those same mistakes going forward."

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matt james father manny the bachelor
Source: ABC

While Manny shared that he doesn’t want Matt to make the same mistakes, he brought up issues he had with Patty — her leaving him after his infidelity — which made things go left.

"For good reason! Who wants to be with someone who’s not going to be faithful to them?" Matt shared. "I thank God that she had the courage to stand up for herself and do something because of the situation you put her in."

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It was clear that Manny wanted to keep the conversation light-hearted, but Matt was on a mission looking for answers. And while things further escalated between the two, Manny eventually shared that he’s “not proud of his actions.”

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Manny eventually apologized for his actions to Matt. “It had to get to this point. Whatever I can do to make it better, I’ll work on it," Manny shared. “I want you to be happy. I want you to have a relationship that’s healthy and not what I went through.”

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Matt James's mom, Patty, is a contestant on ABC's 'The Golden Bachelor.'

Mama needs a partner, too! During Season 25 of The Bachelor, fans were saddened to learn about the circumstances regarding Patty and Manny's divorce. That said, many fans shared their hope of her finding a partner in the future.

Patty's promo shot for The Golden Bachelor
Source: ABC
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So, once The Golden Bachelor was announced, social media users suspected that Patty would likely join the cast. After all, Matt and his main squeeze Rachel Kirkconnell are still going strong after rekindling in 2021 So, who's to say that Patty can't also find her special someone?

That said, fans were not shocked to learn in late August 2023 that Patty is indeed one of 22 women vying for the affection of the first Golden Bachelor, Gerry Turner.

Per Patty's Golden Bachelor bio, the 70-year-old retired real estate professional has been single for nearly three decades but is ready to find her special someone.

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In a promo clip, Patty is also seen saying, "I want to meet someone who loves and cherishes me that I can live out my golden years with." Will Patty land the man and make history as the first mom of a contestant to win the competition? Only time will tell.

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