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Matt James Says He Had ‘No Relationship’ With Heather Martin Before She Crashed ‘The Bachelor’ (Exclusive)

The remaining Bachelor season 25 contestants weren’t the only ones surprised to see Heather Martin arrive at Nemacolin Resort for a shot with Matt James.

Related: Heather Crashes Season 25 of 'The Bachelor:' What We Know

“I have met Heather before [but] I had no relationship with her,” the 29-year-old Bachelor exclusively told Us Weekly on the Tuesday, February 2, episode of the “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. “But she does have a relationship with one of my good friends Hannah Brown. I was just as shocked to see her as everyone else was when she arrives and I think it makes for a very interesting conversation.”

In the promo for the Monday, February 8, episode of the ABC series, Chris Harrison greets Heather, 25, after she shows up at the Pennsylvania resort.

Matt James No Relationship With Heather Martin Pre Bachelor
Matt James and Heather Martin ABC; Shutterstock

“Heather, what are you doing here? You could honestly destroy this whole thing for Matt,” the host says in the teaser.

Related: 'Bachelor' Contestants Who Returned After Elimination

While Matt wouldn’t reveal whether the Bachelor season 23 contestant officially joins his journey, he opened up to Us about how the ladies reacted to five additional women — Michelle Young, Brittany Galvin, Catalina Morales, Kim Li and Ryan Claytor— joining his cast during the January 25 episode.

“I tried to be empathetic to that because I would be upset if new women came when I was part of this journey. And you have all these newcomers [who are] very attractive, educated … everything that you would want in someone that you’re looking for, you see come through the door, five more, and I can see how that can be frustrating,” he told Us. “[But] I think there’s a certain way that you should deal with that frustration.”

While Kim was sent packing within hours of her arrival, Matt gave out roses to Michelle, Brittany, Catalina and Ryan. Rumors that Brittany was an “escort” subsequently spread throughout the house.

“I don’t think that the right way is to make up rumors and lies and hurt someone’s reputation. I think [the right way to handle it is] to be vocal about it with myself or within the group and just try to come to a general consensus on how you can coexist because they don’t wield that authority to send somebody home,” he said on the podcast. “So, they just got to deal with it. And you don’t want to make that environment difficult for other people to live in. Because then I’m going to hear about it. And then I’m gonna have to ask you to go home.”

Related: ‘Bachelor’ Stars Who Returned Again and Again

Anna Redman was one of the ladies Matt sent home during the Monday, February 1, episode for gossiping about Brittany.

“In Anna’s case, it was a lapse in judgment. You know, it’s a tough lesson to learn. And I hope that and I know that she’ll be a better woman for it,” he told Us, noting he wants Anna to try to be “empathetic to what it’s like to be on that side of the road.”

Matt continued: “I’ve never been a contestant competing for time with me. I don’t know what that’s like. So, I can only imagine it’s extremely difficult. With that being said, I try to be as understanding as I can, but there’s no room for name-calling and rumors because those things ruin people’s lives.”

During Monday’s episode, Matt made a statement by giving Brittany and Ryan the first roses at the ceremony amid the “OGs vs. newbies” feud in the house. (Michelle, meanwhile, had a one-on-one date rose and Catalina was eliminated.)

“I think the message there was that regardless of when you came or didn’t come, you’re here, and it doesn’t matter. To me what matters is our conversations, our connections, and if I could see a future with you,” he said. “Why I chose to make a statement like that, to let people know that’s not going to be tolerated. And moving forward, we’re going to be moving different.”

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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