Matt James’ Dating History: Has He Ever Been In Love?

ABC's "The Bachelor" stars Matt James.

ABC ABC's "The Bachelor" stars Matt James.

The Bachelor season 25 premieres on January 4, starring Matt James as the reality dating series’ latest lead. While James is making history as the franchise’s first Black male lead, that is not the only thing that makes James’s journey on the show unique: Matt James claims that he has never been in love before.

In the promo video for Matt James’s season of The Bachelor, host Chris Harrison can be heard telling James “You said you’ve never been in love? My job is to change that.”

In another promo clip, shared on The Bachelor‘s Instagram account, James says he is ready to “finally find love.”

If Matt James has never been in love before, what does this say about his dating history and past relationships? Has he had girlfriends in the past? Here’s what we know:


James’s Ex Was Almost One of His ‘Bachelor’ Contestants

While James’s first introductions to his contestants happened during the limo entries on night one of filming, he was almost reacquainted with a former flame. In a tweet, Bachelor Nation’s spoilers blogger Reality Steve revealed that James’s ex, Madison Nelson, was almost a contestant for his season of The Bachelor. Reality Steve tweeted, “Some tea for you already: Apparently Madison Nelson was dating Matt last summer when Tyler was seeing GiGi. Went to one of the fashion shows with him. Here they are together. Heard they were together for at least a couple months.”

Ahead of the season premiere, Reality Steve published his spoilers, including an update about Nelson. Reality Steve explained that, while Nelson was anticipated to be one of the contestants vying for James’s heart, Bachelor producers ultimately decided against adding her to the cast. On his blog, Reality Steve wrote, “I originally thought that Madison Nelson was one of the five, but was told she is not. Was actually told once they found out she HAD dated Matt last summer, they decided against bringing her on.” Fans should not expect to see Nelson appear on the show after all.


James’s Earlier Instagram Posts Feature Possible Past Love Interests

The only named woman linked to James as an ex-girlfriend is Nelson, which is not surprising as James only recently stepped into the spotlight. Nevertheless, a deep dive into his Instagram posts published pre-reality stardom unveils a few woman from his past. On photo, posted in October 2019, features James standing next to two female friends from college. While one is in a wedding dress, could the girl in the middle, named Hilary McLeod, have been James’s date to the affair?

The Instagram posts, while couple-y in nature, do not identify any of the women in them as former girlfriends, so it is possible that they are just old friends of James.

If social media is any indication, the only woman in James’s life as of late appears to be his mom, whom he has a very close relationship with. When James was announced as the next Bachelor, his most recent Instagram post was a photo of him hugging his mom from behind, and wishing the woman who raised him a “Happy Fathers Day.”


New episodes of The Bachelor season 25, starring Matt James, air on Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC.

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