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Matt James on Dancing With The Stars: Everything you need to know about the Bachelor star

Matt James, one of the 15 contestants on the new season of Dancing With The Stars, will be immediately recognised by fans of The Bachelor.

James was the titular Bachelor on season 25 of the dating show. He made history as the first Black male lead in the franchise.

A native of North Carolina, James once played professional US football. He has since worked as a real estate broker, entrepreneur, and community organiser.

He is a co-founder of ABC Food Tours, an organisation for underserved students facing food insecurity and adversity.

During his time on The Bachelor, James picked contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, awarding her the final rose. However, Kirkconnell faced allegations of past racist and offensive behaviour while the show was airing.

She apologised in a social media note in February this year, stating in part: “At one point, I didn't recognise how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

James and Kirkconnell split for a time and announced their breakup in the franchise’s After the Final Rose special. “I want you to do this work, because that’s the best thing that could come out of this,” James told Kirkconnell, adding: “And that’s something that she’s got to do on her own.”

The couple have since got back together. Kirkconnell told Us Weekly at New York Fashion Week earlier this month they’re in a “great place”, adding: “We just needed to take that time away from everyone and really figure everything out, and I think that we were just so sick of the outside noise and we were like, ‘You know what? We need to just put all of that aside and really focus on our relationship and how we feel about each other and nothing else.’ It’s been so incredible.”

Dancing With The Stars’ 30th season begins on 20 September on the ABC network.

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