Emotions always run high during fantasy suite week on The Bachelor, but Matt James’ overnight dates were extra dramatic after the season 25 lead sat down to talk to his estranged father.
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Manny James arrived at Nemacolin Resort in Pennsylvania to talk to his 29-year-old son during the Monday, March 8, episode of the ABC series.
“It’s been a minute,” Matt said before Manny acknowledged that his son has “done well” for himself.
It wasn’t long before things got tense between the two men when Matt confronted his dad about cheating on his mother, Patty James.
“My father was killed when I was 5, Matt. … Do you know what I went through with your mom when you guys were like 2 or 3? I came home one day and your mom was gone,” Manny said. “It wasn’t a good thing that I was cheating. I’m not proud of it.”
Matt fired back, “I don’t want you to make excuses. … I thank God that she had the courage to stand up for herself and do something because of the situation you put her in.”
While his dad wanted to keep the conversation light, Matt didn’t want to miss out on a chance to solve their issues. “This isn’t a celebration. This is a journey that I’m going on,” he told his dad. “That’s why you’re here dad. I want to have a relationship with you going forward and in order to have that, you have to understand where I’m at.”
Manny subsequently apologized for hurting him. “It had to get to this point. Whatever I can do to make it better, I’ll work on it. I want you to be happy. … I want you to have a relationship that’s healthy and not what I went through.”
“I forgive you. I’m not holding grudges,” Matt replied. “I want us to move forward.”
Matt has been candid about his falling out with his father on the reality series, revealing that his mother raised him and his brother, John, on her own. The same month he was named the Bachelor in June 2020, Matt made headlines for shading his dad on Father’s Day via Instagram.
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“Happy Fathers Day Mom 🐼,” the former football player captioned a pic with his mother at the time, adding a Bible verse that reads, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
The Wake Forest alum also spoke about his parents’ divorce on The Tamron Hall Show in January.
“A lot of [my trouble with relationships] stems from my mom and dad’s relationship. 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,” he told Tamron Hall, adding that he went into The Bachelor “not wanting to perpetuate that behavior.”
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Patty, for her part, is set to appear on the upcoming season finale of The Bachelor, which airs on Monday, March 15. Back in 2019, she spoke about how Matt’s absent father affected his life.
“He was always drawn to families where the mom and dad were together,” she told ABC while discussing her son’s ABC Food Tours charity in June 2019. “I am so proud of him. He overcame everything and he wants to be a role model for these kids.”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
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