'The Bachelor': Inside Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell's 'Critical Conversations' That Make Their Relationship Work

Last season of The Bachelor ended up being somewhat of a dumpster fire. Matt James’ journey as the Bachelor was overshadowed when photos of Rachael Kirkconnell at an antebellum themed party began to surface. Ultimately, the incident resulted in host Chris Harrison taking a break from the franchise and James and Kirkconnell breaking up. Now, James and Kirkconnell are back together and being intentional about working through Kirkconell’s past.

Rachael Kirkconnell photo

While the season was airing, Kirkconnell stayed largely silent about the photos of her from the 2018 party. But after Harrison got in trouble for defending her attendance at the event, she took to social media to apologize.

“I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist,” she wrote in a lengthy note on Instagram. “I am sorry to the communities and individuals that my actions harmed and offended. I am ashamed about my lack of education, but it is no one’s responsibility to educate me.

“I deserve to be held accountable for my actions,” she continued. “I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong. I don’t think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions.”

Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell’s breakup

Though James and Kirkconnell ended the show together, they broke up shortly after as James had a hard time with Kirkconnell’s past actions.

“When he first called me to end things, my initial reaction was I was very confused,” Kirkconnell told host, Emmanuel Acho, at the After the Final Rose ceremony. “Once that initial reaction went away, I thought about how strong our relationship was, so for him to end things, he must’ve been very, very hurt by everything. It was hard because I lost the love of my life, but in the process of that, I hurt him by doing so.”

When James came on the stage, he said that he was taking a step back from Kirkconnell to allow her the space to do the work she promised she would do.

‘The Bachelor’ star Matt James is back with Rachael

After being spotted together around NYC, fans started wondering if James and Kirkconnell were back together. In an interview with WSJ. Magazine, the former Bachelor revealed that the two were back together and working through their issues.

“I think the best way to put it is that we can have critical conversations about being in this relationship and what I need in a partner — especially if that woman isn’t Black — to understand what comes with me and my life and being Black,” he told the outlet.

“It’s on people who care about being allies to do the work to be truly antiracist,” he said. “And I think it’s unfair to leave people without the ability to unlearn and be better.” 

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