He may have won The X Factor back in 2012, but after scooping the title that series James was determined not to go down the reality route, despite being offered £250,000 to appear on CBB.
Speaking to Daily Star Sunday, James revealed he had said no to both CBB and I'm A Celebrity, even though he could have done with the money at the time.
He explained: "I got offered loads of reality shows including I'm A Celebrity and Celebrity Big Brother. They were life-changing amounts of money. The most I got offered was £250,000 for CBB, which I really needed at the time, not knowing if I had a career."
While James admitted he is a "huge fan" of both reality shows, he claimed that he doesn't think he would have achieved a number one with his latest single 'Say You Won't Let Go', if he had decided to appear on either of them.
After releasing his comeback single, James was re-signed by Simon Cowell's record label, Syco, and has since said it is a "massive compliment" to be back working with them again.
During an appearance on ITV's Lorraine, James said: "I guess they saw that I turned my life around and the single has done so well without any promo, any airplay, any radio, and we talked about it previously, potentially working together again, but that idea was kind of a bit of a fairytale."
"Then what happened, happened, and thanks to my fan base, the song has done amazingly well and Syco wanted to be involved again and I just thought that story was too good to pass up," he said.
"I'm a sucker for that kind of thing and when the history books are written and all is said and done, people will say 'I was the one guy that they came back for' and that is testament to my music and that makes me proud."
Simon, meanwhile, had publicly welcomed James back to the label following his performance on The X Factor. James returned to the show during the first week of its live shows this series to perform.
Simon tweeted a photo of himself and James together and said: "Couldn't be happier to welcome back @JamesArthur23. Huge congratulations."
His former mentor, Nicole Scherzinger, meanwhile, told Reveal she is "so proud" of James' recent success.
She said: "It's been really hard for James, I'm not going to lie. There's been a lot of negativity out there, unnecessarily, and haters. I've always told him, 'Put it in the music, I know it's hard, but if it's meant to be, it will happen.' I'm so proud. It's just so great to see that he is on top now. I've always thought the world of him."
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