Mike Johnson Says Matt James Asked For His Advice Before Becoming 'The Bachelor' (Exclusive)

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Mike Johnson has nothing but positive feelings about Matt James becoming the Bachelor. James became the franchise's first Black male lead when his announcement was made in June; many fans had thought Johnson, a fan favorite from Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette, would have gotten the gig. 

After James' casting, Johnson took to social media to share his support. And as he told ET's Lauren Zima this week, he's confident James will be "the best Bachelor ever." 

"We've hung out... He's read my book and he knows the tools that he needs," Johnson said. His new self-help book, Making the Love You Want, is out Friday. "I remember him asking me some advice before he knew he was the Bachelor." 

"I was telling him to just simply treat women how your mom told you to be. And have a better body than Tyler [Cameron]," Johnson quipped. "That's all he has to do, so he'll be good." 

James' casting seemed to come out of left field for a lot of fans, as he hadn't yet appeared on a Bachelor franchise show. The 28-year-old was originally supposed to be a contestant on Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette, and the last time The Bachelor cast a fresh face as lead was in 2008, with Matt Grant. 

Fans had pulled for Johnson to get the Bachelor gig last season, though it ended up going to Peter Weber. Many got their hopes up again this year, including former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. However, in a June interview with ET, Lindsay said she was told "there was a reason" Johnson was not cast as lead. 

"That's pretty annoying to me that someone told Rachel there was a reason without telling me the reason, because if it affects me, my life," Johnson told ET, sharing he wasn't aware of the behind-the-scenes reason Lindsay referred to. "I feel like it would be OK for me to know about my life, [but] I have no idea." 

One reason viewers thought Johnson might not have been chosen is because he didn't express as much emotional range as other contestants during his time on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.

"To all the people that said, 'Mike doesn’t cry,' I have been through things in my life that I am not going to fake cry on TV," explained Johnson, whose book, Making the Love You Want, dives deep into those experiences. 

The Air Force veteran didn't open up as much on TV, because it didn't come out naturally -- but he's still confident he could have found "love for life" on The Bachelor. 

So, is there any possibility his love story could be featured alongside James' on the upcoming cycle, as The Bachelorette will showcase both Crawley and Tayshia Adams' journeys

"I think my personality [could support] the show on its own," Johnson said. So, for now, he's focusing on his book, an upcoming TV project and gearing up to release some other exciting news. 

"I can for certain say that I am making the love that I want and I am heartfully content," Johnson shared. "I am extremely happy." 

Making the Love You Want is out Friday. See more on Johnson in the video below. 

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