‘The Bachelor’: Matt James Says He ‘Grew Up’ By the End of His Season

At the start of The Bachelor Season 25, Matt James admitted he’s never been in love. Now, Bachelor Nation fans are wondering whether James ends up finding his happily ever after on the ABC reality series. But with or without an engagement in the grand finale, it seems the new lead still gained something of value by the end of his journey — here’s what he said.

Matt James says he never experienced love before ‘The Bachelor’

'The Bachelor' Season 25 star Matt James
‘The Bachelor’ Season 25 star Matt James | Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

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In The Bachelor Season 25 premiere, James told host Chris Harrison that he’s never been in love before. But in an interview with Entertainment Tonight from January 2021, James explained his previous comment, noting that he didn’t realize what true love meant. He also hinted he found love while filming at the Nemacolin Resort in Pennsylvania. 

“Love to me looked different before I got to Nemacolin because of what I experienced up to that point,” James said. “And yes, I guess I’d say I haven’t experienced love until I got out there.”

James also promised Bachelor Nation fans he was ready to get married.

“Absolutely [I’m ready for marriage],” James said. “That’s why I came out there. I don’t think that anyone is more ready or not. It’s something that you just know when you experience it.”

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Meanwhile, when speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, James revealed that he started thinking about the possibility of an engagement after he was cast for Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette

“The soul-searching had started to take place throughout quarantine. I knew that I was going into a position where the end result is going to be an engagement,” James said. “I was trying to think about things in my life that were holding me back from getting there with somebody.”

He added, “I had already been doing this type of thinking [for The Bachelorette], in terms of being mentally prepared to be in a relationship and to be married.”

Matt James on why he ‘grew up’ by the end of ‘The Bachelor’

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Whether James ends his season of The Bachelor with an engagement, it seems the new lead still grew as a person. In the above interview with Entertainment Tonight, James opened up about his emotional journey and how the reality series impacted his life.

“[The Bachelor] really did break me down,” James said. “There were a lot of conversations that I had, that I needed to have that I hadn’t had and I wasn’t planning on having.”

He continued, “But that’s where this whole experience took me. And I’m so fortunate for it because I grew up as a man. It allowed me to be vulnerable for these women, so I could experience what I experienced.”

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James also shared what’s changed since he filmed his ending on The Bachelor. But the 29-year-old promised fans they will see the layers unfold on-screen.

“I don’t think it’s a maturity thing,” James said. “It’s more so… me taking ownership of those experiences, like being OK with where I’m at and not having something that doesn’t necessarily have to deal with me, holding me back.”

He added, “Not to give too much away, but we’ll get into that as the season rolls on. You’ll see some things that were holding me back in relationships, like head-on.”

The Bachelor Season 25 with Matt James airs Monday nights on ABC.