Manny James is the estranged father of Bachelor Matt James. Since James is new to The Bachelor franchise, little is known about his family. However, he has mentioned being raised in a “single-parent home.”
STOP! Spoilers ahead for season 25 of The Bachelor.
Reality Steve first reported the family reunion on his blog, writing, “I don’t know at what point it happens, but I’ve recently found out the show brings Matt’s dad on this season. Matt doesn’t speak much about his dad publicly, and when he has, it’s to say the guy wasn’t around and that he and his brother were raised by their mom.”
A recent promo confirmed Manny’s arrival.
All I hope is that people watch that conversation with nuance, care, and also an understanding that there are real systemic issues at play. I’m so proud of myself for being vulnerable, and I’m so proud of my mother. I wouldn’t be who I am without my dad. That’s a fact.
— Matt James (@mattjames919) March 9, 2021
Describing their conversation as “hard” on Twitter, Matt touched on the importance of understanding the nuance of the situation. He continued the thread, writing, “I just wanted to say that too often, we see dangerous stereotypes and negative depictions of Black fathers in media. And they have consequences when presented without context.”
All I hope is that people watch that conversation with nuance, care, and also an understanding that there are real systemic issues at play. I’m so proud of myself for being vulnerable, and I’m so proud of my mother. I wouldn’t be who I am without my dad. That’s a fact.”
Here is what you need to know:
1. Manny James Was Previously Married to Patty Cuculo James
Manny was previously married to James’ mother, Patty Cuculo James. Together, they welcomed two sons: Matt and his older brother, John.
“My dad’s Black, my mom’s white and it wasn’t something I saw as out of the normal,” Matt said during his season’s introduction. “Unfortunately my parents split up before I could remember.”
He revealed on the Tamron Hall Show that infidelity played a part. He told the host, “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.”
2. Manny and Matt Have Been Estranged
Matt has previously alluded to his mother filling the role for both parents. He highlighted her on Father’s Day, writing on Instagram, “Happy Father’s Day Mom… Psalms 68:5.” That particular psalm reads, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
And it seems, based on the promo for Monday’s episode, tensions run high when Manny and Matt reunite on The Bachelor. During the conversation, Matt tells his father, “When I needed you, you weren’t there.”
He later opened up about Manny’s presence in his life as a child, referencing occasional visits. “I remember growing up, he’d come around every now and then, drop off some shoes, pizza,” he said during a confessional. “I didn’t need shoes, man. I didn’t need any shoes. I didn’t need any pizza. I needed a dad.”
3. Manny’s Father Died When He Was Young
Tonight’s convo with my dad was hard to experience, and it’s just as hard to watch all this time later, especially knowing the world is watching with me.
— Matt James (@mattjames919) March 9, 2021
While Matt was opening up about his father’s absence in his life, Manny revealed he too did not have a father figure growing up.
“I hate to stop you though. I didn’t have that either,” Manny said. “My father was killed when I was five, Matt. So yeah, I’ma take some of that blame of me not showing up as a father figure much as supposedly it’s supposed to be, but do you know what I went through? You want me to tell you the reality of what I went through.”
4. Manny is From Africa
The real estate broker originally grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina before he attended college at Wake Forest University.
According to Monsters & Critics, despite not being active in Matt’s life, Manny was still local. They reported, “He appears to still be residing in Raleigh, North Carolina where Matt grew up.”
But, growing up, Manny lived in Africa, revealing his father died when he was five years old. As Matt responded, “We’ve all been through a lot and I get that I don’t know what it was like to grow up in Africa without a dad like you did, but I know what it’s like to grow up here without a dad and a bunch of other stuff that hardens my heart and closes me off.”
5. Manny’s Absence Inhibited Matt’s Ability to be Vulnerable
When first meeting the real estate broker at the start of the season, Matt revealed Manny’s absence in his life caused problems in his relationships.
As the Bachelor revealed on night one of this season, he has never been in love. He later said, “My mom did a great job, but growing up in a single-parent home, I feel like I missed out on a lot of what it takes to be in a good relationship. In the past, I’ve struggled with opening up and being vulnerable.”
The emotional reunion ended with Matt saying he wanted his father in his life and Manny apologizing, saying he would “try.”