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After choosing not to propose to Rachael during the finale of “The Bachelor” in March 2021, Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell remained in a relationship but secretly split in February of the same year. The split came after Rachael faced accusations of racism when photos of her attending an antebellum-themed party at a plantation during her time in college resurfaced. Rachael publicly apologized for her actions twice on Instagram and later sat down with Matt and guest host Emmanuel Acho during the “After the Final Rose” special to address the controversy.
Rachael expressed her initial confusion and feeling of being blindsided when Matt decided to end their relationship. She admitted to being hurt by the breakup and mentioned that she had thought their relationship was strong. Despite the difficulty of losing what she described as the love of her life, Rachael acknowledged that she understood that Matt must have been deeply hurt by everything that had transpired. Their breakup was emotional for both parties, but they ultimately decided to give their romance another chance.
In April 2021, Matt and Rachael were seen together again, confirming in May that they were indeed trying to work things out. Speaking exclusively to Us in July 2023, the couple admitted that they have learned to cope with the constant speculation about their relationship status. Both Matt and Rachael acknowledged that their schedules sometimes don’t align, leading to rumors of potential breakups, but they have developed a thick skin and are not fazed by the speculation.
Matt shared that even his own mother has joined in the speculation, expressing concern if Rachael is not with him. He mentioned instances where Rachael had to return to Atlanta to be with her family, causing his mother to worry about their relationship. Despite external pressures, Matt and Rachael have been committed to making their relationship work and continue to support each other through any challenges they may face. They have both acknowledged that their journey has been filled with ups and downs but are determined to focus on their love for each other.

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