We learned during the finale that Matt gave his final rose to Rachael, though they did not get engaged at the end of the season.
After they finished filming the season, photos from Rachael‘s past surfaced and showed how she had attended a plantation party and also liked racially insensitive posts on social media. The controversy blew up after the show’s host Chris Harrison defended Rachael during an interview and dismissed that racism was an issue in the situation.
Chris later stepped back from the remainder of the season and Emmanuel Acho was named the replacement host of the After the Final Rose special. He also is not hosting the upcoming season of The Bachelorette.
Click inside to find out if Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell are still together…
While being interviewed on the After the Final Rose special, Matt revealed that when the photos of Rachael surfaced, he stood by her side at first and “dismissed” the speculation.
“You hear things that are heartbreaking and you just pray they’re not true,” Matt said on the show. “When you find out that they are, it just makes you question everything. As someone who grew up in the South, it takes me to a place I often try not to think about. When she spoke out publicly and acknowledged that she would do better and she apologized, was when I was finally able to see where I was at. I wasn’t okay. It was in that moment and the conversation that I had when I realized Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America.”
Matt then revealed that he broke up with Rachael.
“As Rachael acknowledged in her apology, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” he said. “I have to take a step back and allow her to put in that work. I’m looking forward to seeing her put in that work. We’re not together.”