Matt James made history in The Bachelor franchise for not just one but two reasons.
He was the first-ever Black Bachelor to appear on the show, but he also was the first person ever to be named as a lead without previously appearing on a season as a contestant.
As one of Tyler Cameron’s best friends since the two met and attended Wake Forest for college, Matt had seen Tyler go through the Bachelor Nation experience during Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette.
After filming the show and ending as Hannah’s runner-up, Tyler and Matt decided to move in together in New York City; it was nice for Tyler to have his good friend with him during that difficult time.
In turn, Matt was with Tyler after the sudden death of Tyler’s beloved mother due to a brain aneurysm and helped him deal with the tragic loss of his biggest fan and supporter.
Not only was Tyler’s mom, Andrea, Tyler’s number one fan, but she was also a big enthusiast of Matt’s. Matt would have never been a part of Bachelor Nation if it hadn’t been for her.
Matt James reveals the true reason he decided to join The Bachelor
In his book, First Impressions, Matt revealed that Tyler’s mom had actually encouraged him to apply and go on the show when she was alive.
She knew how much it had meant to Tyler to be on the show and how it opened him up to love with Hannah and in general; thus, she wanted Matt to experience that as well.
Matt said, “I wouldn’t have gone on the show if it hadn’t been for Tyler’s mom. She was so adamant about me having been a part of this experience because she saw what it did for Tyler and his relationship with Hannah… I felt like I owed it to her to see it through.”
Matt James’ run in the franchise
While Matt was initially supposed to first appear on Clare Crawley’s Season 16 of The Bachelorette, that didn’t happen due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Because the franchise was familiar with Matt, in the sense that he was one of Tyler’s best friends, they decided to name him as the next Bachelor before Clare’s season even aired.
While he ultimately chose Rachael Kirkconnell as his winner and final rose recipient, the two broke up as the show aired due to some racially insensitive actions from Rachael’s past.
However, the two were able to reconcile and move forward together, and they seem happier than ever.
Although there has been speculation that Tyler and Rachael have a love-hate relationship and that she has somewhat come in between their bromance, Tyler has come out and stated that he and Matt are still great friends.
The Bachelor is currently on hiatus.