James Compares His Upbringing And Love To His Temptation Island Experience - Exclusive

Do you enjoy living vicariously through the stars of reality dating shows? Sometimes our own relationships are so stable that tuning in to "The Ultimatum" or "Love Is Blind" gives us a peek into the messy romantic lives of single hopefuls. What we see on television is not at all what dating in the real world is like — we're not painstakingly watching two people share a cup of coffee, but rather observing romantic hopefuls in absolutely bonkers settings. One man just simply isn't supposed to be pursued by over 30 women at once. And you're not really designed to meet the love of your life through an opaque wall, only to see them after you get engaged. 


Phew — dating shows. How do people end up on them, and what background do some of the stars have that makes them so good on television? We had to get to the bottom of this question, so we sat down with James Patterson of USA's "Temptation Island" to get his insider story. How did he come to the show that literally tempts people in committed relationships to pursue other romances? What was his upbringing like, and how did that help him throughout the show? In our exclusive interview, we got all the answers Patterson was willing to give.

James' 'Army brat' childhood helped develop his dynamic social skills

It's definitely harder for some kids to develop social skills — being a social butterfly at any age can be tough, but kids can face a whole variety of pressures, embarrassments, and stressful situations that truly feel like the end of the world. But for James Patterson, his outgoing demeanor started at a young age, and the jovial and easygoing man we see in "Temptation Island" is thanks to Patterson's unique childhood. The star grew up in a military family, he told us. His dad was in the Army, and as such, Patterson traveled around the United States throughout his childhood — the experience, he shared, taught him to be adaptable.


"I loved being an Army brat. It opened me to a lot of experiences and meeting tons of different kinds of people and cultures," Patterson told us. "That's why I'm thankful that I can converse and be friends with people of all races, backgrounds, ethnicities, etc., and that translated to my love life. I've met, growing up, all different kinds of girls, and it's built me into the man I am today."

While Patterson acknowledged that it was a "little crazy" to move every three years, he shared that the experience "benefited" him in the long term.

He took important lessons from his parents

James Patterson may have been searching for love on "Temptation Island," but the experience wasn't the first time he'd been exposed to a crash course about love. In our interview with the newly minted reality star, we asked Patterson a little bit more about his upbringing, and the topic of his parents' marriage came up in conversation. While his parents are no longer married, Patterson learned from their example in nuanced ways and brought much of that insight to the show.


"They've been divorced since I was probably ... nine or ten," Patterson told us. "The one thing I was always thankful for is that they stayed friends. They're literally the best of friends."

The fitness guru went on to tell us that while he didn't have a quote-unquote successful marriage to use as an example for his own life, he did learn a lot from both his mom and dad. "My dad was a great dude and my mom, great woman, and I took in what I can from them, and it's helped me shape into the guy I am today," Patterson said.

You can catch new episodes of "Temptation Island" on USA on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET.