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Matt James Had a ‘Rude Awakening’ While Filming ‘The Bachelor,’ Chris Harrison Reveals (Exclusive)

Matt James admits in the first teaser for the upcoming season of The Bachelor that he’s never been in love before — and according to Chris Harrison, the revelation is just the beginning for the season 25 lead.

Related: Everything We Know About ‘The Bachelor’ Season 25

“It’s not that he hasn’t said ‘I love you’ before. I think the problem with him is he realized being the Bachelor, he had never fully understood what it means. He didn’t understand the weight of it,” the 49-year-old host exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting Sourced Craft Cocktails’ Most Dramatic Cocktail Kit Ever. “And now I think this has really opened [his] eyes and one thing about the Bachelor or Bachelorette — you can ask any of them — it changes you. … He is a different man than when he came to us in and he got really a crash course because he didn’t get the few steps of being on the show. He really just ripped the Band-Aid off and sometimes that hurts a little bit. So, I think he had a bit of a rude awakening of the man he is, the way he loves [and] what love means to him. It really is an amazing journey you’re going to take with Matt, not just as the Bachelor but also as this man who realizes, ‘Wow, OK, this is love and this is what it means and I’m really here to find this.’”

Chris Harrison Matt James Had a Rude Awakening Filming The Bachelor
Chris Harrison and Matt James Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock; ABC/Billy Kidd

Harrison also admitted that it was a learning curve to have a Bachelor who wasn’t featured on a previous season.

Related: ‘The Bachelor’ Season 25 Cast: Meet Matt James’ Potential Contestants

“There are some wonderful things to the naïveté and innocence to just coming in. But then there are little things that we had to really stop, and you know, [it’s] night one and he doesn’t know what to do,” he explained. “Because he never came up to the mansion before, he never went to a rose ceremony. He doesn’t even know how to get a rose or give a rose. So he doesn’t know the vernacular, he doesn’t know what I’m going to do. We really had to walk him through and teach him; it was Bachelor 101. And it was trial by fire.”

The host noted that there were “some mess-ups and some trip-ups,” but in an “endearing and cute” way. “Because this guy was just genuinely going through this and would stop and go ‘Wait, what are we doing?’” he recalled. “And so, there was some fun to it. But there were also some trials and tribulations and a few hurdles we had to overcome.”

Harrison added that James didn’t necessarily believe him when he tried to warn him about the intensity of the journey on night one.

“It is an extraordinary circumstance and a range of emotions. And I told him, ‘You’re going to feel it all. There will be moments where you want to punch me in the face and you’re going to be crying and upset.’ And he’s like, ‘Whatever, man, it’s all good,’” Harrison recalled. “And lo and behold, he didn’t punch me. But you know, there were just these moments, the show strips you down. It takes you on this emotional ride that most people don’t understand until you’re a part of it.”

Related: Bachelor Nation's Wildest Sex Confessions

While James’ journey begins on Monday, January 4, Tayshia Adams is still looking for The One on season 16 of The Bachelorette — and fans can join the franchise’s “massive nationwide cocktail party” by ordering the custom at-home Bachelorette-themed cocktail kit by Sourced Craft Cocktails.

“You can order your own cocktail kit and it will be delivered to your house. Everything you need is in there; you are good to go,” Harrison explained. “Everything you need to make this cocktail perfect is in the kit. This week [the name of the cocktail] is the First Impression Rose. It comes in this awesome Bachelorette bag, you’ve got a rose, and you have everything you need to make this cocktail, even the measuring cups. … You don’t have to go to the store. It’s all hands-free delivery. You can order today and it will show up at your house tomorrow and you’re good to go. The only thing you really need is a cup and some ice!”

Hear the Us Weekly editors break down the most surprising celebrity births during the pandemic in under 2 minutes!

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