Talk about a roller-coaster! Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell sparked reconciliation rumors earlier this week after being spotted together in New York City. “He flew her to NYC. They’ve been working on their relationship privately over the past few months and taking the next steps to get back together,” a source told Us Weekly on Friday, April 9.
Matt, 29, and Rachael, 24, left season 25 of The Bachelor as a couple. However, they announced their split during After the Final Rose on March 15 following Rachael’s racism scandal. According to the insider, the former flames have spoken and FaceTimed “daily” in the last month.
While visiting NYC, Rachael apparently discovered Matt was “talking to another girl,” the source noted. “She’s very emotional right now because she was very hopeful that things were going to work out. She’s still trying to process this.”
Popular blogger Reality Steve also reported Matt tried to “booty call” a woman named Grace while he was in Miami on Sunday, April 4, knowing he would be seeing Rachael the following day. Reality Steve claimed Matt and Grace had a physical relationship prior to his appearance on The Bachelor.
While Matt has yet to comment on the situation, a second insider close to the North Carolina native explained to Us Weekly that the ordeal is a “big miscommunication,” and that Matt wasn’t “looking for a romantic relationship with Rachael” after they broke up.
“He’s tried to make it clear to her that he just wants to be friends and support one another as they both have gone through this journey together,” the source added. “Matt is a caring and supportive person, so he wouldn’t just block her out of his life completely.”
As fans know, Matt and Rachael have been through a lot since falling in love on The Bachelor. Shortly after season 25 premiered in January 2021, rumors began to circulate online accusing Rachael of past racist behavior, most notably attending an “Old South” plantation party at Georgia State College & University in 2018, where all of the women were dressed in Antebellum style gowns.
In February, Rachael issued a formal apology on Instagram. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything,” she wrote at the time. “They are not acceptable or OK in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”
Prior to Rachael’s statement, Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison joined season 13 Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay for a virtual interview on Extra to address the backlash surrounding Rachael. When Lindsay, 35, suggested attending a party of that nature “wasn’t a good look,” Chris, 49, offered a controversial rebuttal.
“You’re 100 percent right in 2021. That was not the case in 2018,” he reasoned. “And again, I’m not defending Rachael. I just know that, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018. That was a type of party that a lot of people went to. And again, I’m not defending it; I didn’t go to it.”
During After the Final Rose, Matt reflected on how the scandal affected him. “As someone who grew up in the South, it takes me to a place that I don’t often like to think about. I wasn’t OK,” he expressed. “It was in that moment and the conversation that I had, that Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America.”