There's a reason why the Season 25 lead has played it coy about his past love life: Apparently, Matt James rarely dated before The Bachelor. During a Jan. 12 appearance on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, James told co-hosts Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin that his pre-Bachelor love life was basically non-existent, and his explanation was relatable AF. When asked about his mysterious relationship history, James said, "My dating history in New York is slim to none because I was broke. Like, I didn't have any money, so I couldn't take anybody out on a date. New York is expense, so just by default I wasn't doing a lot of dating." I stan an honest man.
According to James, his lack of funds wasn't the only thing keeping him from diving into the New York City dating scene. "I was focused on the charitable work I was doing, or I'm at work, or I'm trying to hustle," he added. "I moved to New York to grind, and I knew that the relationship part would come, but it had been a while since I dated in a serious relationship." However, James was rumored to have dated at least one lady while getting that bread in NYC, and she reportedly almost appeared on his season of The Bachelor.
James was previously linked to Madison Nelson, a communications expert from Indiana who now lives in New York and who was reportedly being considered for the show at one point, per Reality Steve. Nelson and James were reportedly spotted at a fashion show together in summer 2019 where Gigi Hadid was walking the runway, which was back when James' BFF, Tyler Cameron, was dating the supermodel. According to Reality Steve, the two reportedly dated for "a least a couple of months," and Nelson ultimately wasn't selected for the show due to her rumored history with James.
TBH, I'm surprised James found time to date anyone in New York, considering his packed schedule. Though James kicked off his professional career at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Bachelor lead moved to NYC in 2017 and started at his current job with CBRE Group, Inc., a commercial real estate and investment firm. James also founded ABC Food Tours in 2018 with Cameron, which is a nonprofit that funds excursions for children from underserved communities to restaurants around New York City. So yeah, James def keeps himself busy.
Though James' NYC schedule seemingly kept him from finding love before The Bachelor, I'm hoping that changed during his time in Nemacolin.