One month after Bachelor star Matt James broke up with his season’s winner, Rachael Kirkconnell, on national television, citing her history of racist actions and ignorance, the couple are rekindling their relationship. Yes, really. After all of that. We’d quote something from Get Out, but frankly, we’re exhausted. The duo have been spotted together in recent weeks in both New York City and Los Angeles, with James now confirming to People that they’re indeed back in each other’s romantic orbits. “I’ve seen Rachael a handful of times,” he explained. “I’m not pursuing any relationships right now outside of that. I said I was going to focus on my relationship with her and that means focusing on it.” If you’re confused about this reconciliation, it’s because it’s the antithesis of everything James stated during his Bachelor finale: At the time, he said that learning about Kirkconnell’s past, coupled with her initial defensiveness, made it clear that they “can’t be” together.
“The most disappointing thing for me was having to explain to you why what I saw was problematic and why I was so upset. And that’s why it was problematic,” James explained to her in the March 15 finale. “When I questioned our relationship, it was in the context of you not fully understanding my Blackness and what it means to be a Black man in America. And what it would mean for our kids when I saw those things that were floating around the Internet. And it broke my heart, because this is the last conversation I thought we’d be having.” James was referring to photographs that emerged of Kirkconnell gleefully attending an antebellum-South-themed party in college. While not discussed in the finale, social media users have also unearthed Kirkconnell’s history of “liking” photos of Confederate imagery.
Through tears, Kirkconnell accepted James’s engagement breakup in the finale, and blamed her “ignorance” for her past actions. She has since been keeping her social media followers appraised with the steps she’s taking towards her antiracism education, in addition to admonishing supporters who have been sending racist insults to James. As for James, he’s expressed frustration that he had to take on the role of a racism educator for the franchise, stating that “we don’t have that chance to have that ignorance.” Let’s check in with Chris Harrison to see how he’s feeling about this. Not.
Update, May 5: Giving the Wall Street Journal his first post-Bachelor interview, Matt James expounded on his decision to get back together with Rachael Kirkconnell. “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 explained. “It’s on people who care about being allies to do the work to be truly antiracist. And I think it’s unfair to leave people without the ability to unlearn and be better.” Kirkconnell also confirmed via email to WSJ that they’re indeed back together, noting that she’s kept Instagram-quiet about their reconciliation for privacy reasons. And now, let us cleanse our galaxy brains of James’s Bachelor season with this incredible detail from the piece: “At one point during an interview, he used two glasses of water to demonstrate how NFTs work.”