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Why Matt James Thinks Ex Katie Thurston Will Be the "Best" to Ever Lead The Bachelorette

Matt James is ready to pass on the torch to his ex, Katie Thurston, as she's set to become the next Bachelorette this summer. Here's why he thinks she'll make everyone "fall in love" with her.

By Alli Rosenbloom, Lindsay Weinberg Apr 29, 2021 12:00 AMTags
Watch: Matt James Addresses Recent Bachelor Nation Controversies

Now that Matt James has had his shot at finding love on The Bachelor, he's eager to watch his ex try to find her dream man. 

As Katie Thurston prepares to step into the spotlight on the next season of The Bachelorette, Matt spoke exclusively with E! News about why he'll be cheering her on, as well as details on his new single life. 

The former football player, 29, sees no need to give Katie any advice for her upcoming season, which is expected to debut this summer. If anything, Matt jokes, "I should've [asked] Katie for advice! She's incredible. She's going to do so well, and I'm excited for her to have this space to find her person." 

He continued, "I think that she's going to be one of the best to ever do it, and it's not going to be a surprise to me as we watch everyone across the country fall in love with her." 

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In the first promo for the 17th season, Katie declared, "I am who I am... I want to meet someone who knows who they are. My person is still out there."

As for Matt, he emphasizes that he's still single after his breakup with Bachelor finalist Rachael Kirkconnell. (He announced their split in March, following her controversial photo scandal). 

Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

For the moment, he's prioritizing athletics over dating. "I'm focused on my training right now," he shares with E! News. "I've got a marathon coming up and a triathlon I'm training for as well. And I'm not pursuing any—I'm not, I'm not… I'm just super focused right now."  

Even though it didn't work out with Rachael, he wouldn't change anything about his season. 

"It is what it is. You're on a TV show and that's the reality of it. It was a great life experience and I'm really excited about what's next and a lot of impactful things that I'm working on [in] the community," Matt explains. "I don't regret anything. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about myself… So, I'm very appreciative of that opportunity and I hope that it sets other people out there of color up for a similar opportunity." 

However, with such a big opportunity came increased attention on his personal life. It turns out, one way he copes with stress has been through training.

Before the show, Matt lived in a house with about 10 people during the coronavirus lockdown and used his workouts as an outlet, explaining, "The only escape for me was getting out and running and exercising." 

ABC/Craig Sjodin

He added, "I know how much it's done for me from that capacity, as well as [when] the show was airing and dealing with everything you have to deal with and that comes with being in that position." 

It also seemingly helped him while filming The Bachelor and handling the drama that arose when Rachael's racially insensitive photos resurfaced.

Matt shared, "A liberating thing for me was just talking to my headphones, putting on a podcast or putting on some slow jams and just getting out and running. Knowing that that [has] done so much for me, I try to encourage people who may be dealing with things in their life to handle them in a positive way like that." 

Another reason he loves a good workout? "It's important to me to stay physically active so that you can, hopefully... when I do have kids eventually, I'll be able to do similar things with them," says Matt, who recently partnered with DICK's Sporting Goods on their annual National Runners Month campaign.

His love for running helped inspire the partnership, as he encourages fans to share their running photos with the hashtag #SeeYouOutThere.

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