'Too Hot to Handle': Matthew Explains Why He Has No Regrets About Leaving the Show Early (Exclusive)

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Warning: Major Too Hot to Handle spoilers ahead! Do not proceed unless you've watched the first six episodes of the Netflix dating series.

Matthew Stephen Smith has no regrets about leaving the Too Hot to Handle retreat early.

ET recently caught up with the 30-year-old fashion model (famously nicknamed "Jesus" by his housemates) via Zoom chat, where he explained why he ultimately chose to walk away from the no-sex dating show.

During episode six, which introduced three new contestants -- Madison Wyborny, Lydia Clyma and Kori Sampson -- Matthew revealed to Lana that he was removing himself from the villa. The announcement came shortly after everyone learned that Francesca Farago and Harry Jowsey had sex in the private suite, costing all the housemates $20,000. And, after another $3,000 kiss between Chloe Veitch and Kori, the group's initial prize of $100,000 was now down to $55,000 with less than a week to go.

"I was kind of holding on to the last bit [of hope]. Where someone would be coming in that I found attractive and I could test myself more in that way, and there just wasn't," Matthew, who fans briefly saw flirting with Madison, told ET's Lauren Zima. "So I could selfishly decide to stay or I could make the mature decision to leave."

"I also thought that there was great value in my absence because it allowed some of the guys that I was overseeing to kind of be their own sex cop," the Colorado native continued. "Like, what can people do when I'm not looking over their shoulder? Which I think is very fitting with the Jesus thing. I don't know if they show this or not, but I did say as I left, 'The story goes, Jesus does leave.' Like, you guys can figure it out!"

Matthew also admitted that he never would have thought coming into the show that he'd become Lana's "sex cop," putting people in check whenever they tried to sneak in a kiss and cost the group money. As fans may recall from the first episode, Matthew talked a lot about spreading his seed around the globe and often questioning the idea of monogamy.

"Nope, I did not expect that, but I'm happy that was my role," he said, laughing. "As the oldest guy that was there, I felt like it was fitting."

"I do believe in love, I just think it is more rare than what the common public likes to believe," he added, on whether his views have changed since doing the show. "So I'd rather be surprised by a good thing than be disappointed with a bad thing. I try to set my expectations a bit lower and see where it goes from there."

Matthew continued on, further explaining his real intentions with his partners versus how he may have been perceived on the show.

"I've always been a sexual person. I like sex as much as anyone, but just because you're a sexual person doesn't mean you just act on it all the time," he shared. "I've never been one to just go sleep around; that's never been my style."

"I have to have a connection with someone on a deeper level. Otherwise, as bad as it sounds, I'd rather just masturbate, because it doesn't bring on the baggage of a whole other person's life," he added. 

Matthew told ET that he is currently dating post-show, but played coy when we asked him to spill the intimate details.

"The relationship status part I'm going to keep private. This can turn around and bite me in the a**," he said, adding that he "can't confirm or deny" whether it's someone from the show. "Yes, I have hooked up with people in the past year. I'll say that."

"What matters a lot I keep close. I believe in that, you know what I mean?" he continued. "A lot of good things can be ruined if you don’t give it the proper respect."


Before our chat with Matthew ended, we had to ask him one last question. In addition to Too Hot to Handle, fans may also recognize him from America's Next Top Model cycle 21. So naturally, we pressed him on who was the harsher judge of character: Lana, or Tyra Banks?

"I would say that I was more intimidated by Tyra. Me and Lana just had a deeper connection; we understood each other better.  But I was attracted to both equally," he joked. "You can put that out there. Matt likes robots as much as Tyra Banks!" 

Hear more from the Too Hot to Handle cast in the video below.


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