The objective of this study was to develop a nonlinear and anisotropic three-dimensional mathematical model of tendon behavior in which the structural components of fibers, matrix, and fiber-matrix interactions are explicitly incorporated and to use this model to infer the contributions of these structures to tendon mechanical behavior. We hypothesized that this model would show that: (i) tendon mechanical behavior is not solely governed by the isotropic matrix and fiber stretch, but is also influenced by fiber-matrix interactions; and (ii) shear fiber-matrix interaction terms will better describe tendon mechanical behavior than bulk fiber-matrix interaction terms. Model versions that did and did not include fiber-matrix interaction terms were applied to experimental tendon stress-strain data in longitudinal and transverse orientations, and the goodness-of-fit was evaluated. This study showed that models that included fiber-matrix interaction terms improved the fit to longitudinal data over models that only included isotropic matrix and fiber stretch terms . Shear fiber-matrix interaction terms proved to be responsible for the best fit to data and to contribute to stress-strain nonlinearity. The mathematical model of tendon behavior developed in this study showed that fiber-matrix interactions are an important contributor to tendon behavior. The more complete characterization of mechanical behavior afforded by this mathematical model can lead to an improved understanding of structure-function relationships in soft tissues and, ultimately, to the development of tissue-engineered therapies for injury or degeneration.