James, 29, spoke out about the ups and downs of his season while appearing on the Friday, March 19, episode of “The Bill Simmons” podcast. “I’m wearing all my emotion on my beard right now,” he joked, before revealing, “I’m good. I’m good right now.”
James also touched upon how he got involved the The Bachelor franchise in the first place, whether he’s forgiven Kirkconnell, 24, and what he really thought about Chris Harrison’s explosive interview.
His season premiered in January, but as the dates unfolded on air, controversy off screen began plaguing his search for love. In February, Harrison came under fire for asking fans to have “compassion” regarding contestant Kirkconnell who was accused of racially charged actions after photos surfaced of her attending a plantation-themed sorority event in 2018, and she “liked” photos with a Confederate flag in the background.
After publicly apologizing twice for not denouncing racism during his interview with Rachel Lindsay last month, Harrison, 49, stepped back temporarily as the show’s host. Kirkconnell, for her part, also apologized for her past actions, admitting, her “ignorance was racist.”
During the March finale, James chose Kirkconnell as the winner, giving her the last rose and asking her to continue to date him. He didn’t propose, but they ended the show as a couple. As her past continued to make headlines, however, James pulled the plug on the relationship, which came out during the After the Finale Rose special.
“You don’t have your phone. You don’t have a computer. You’re completely tapped out of what’s going on, which really allows you to foster these relationships with women,” the former football player told Bill Simmons on Friday, admitting he feel hard for Kirkconnell. “In reality, your friends, your family, would have something to say about it. When you get out of that bubble, you’re reintroduced to all these distractions, people’s opinions, and it started to get difficult.”
When he did breakup with the Georgia native, James said it was “frustrating” to think that all of the “teaching and learning was put on me” regarding Kirkconnell’s education about racism.
Despite how it ended, James said the conversations he had with the women throughout the season brought about “a lot of personal growth” which made him feel good.
“I can only speak for myself. It felt like three months of therapy. I met incredible women,” he said. “I left in a relationship that I thought had the potential to go the distance. Unfortunately, things played out differently, but all things considered, these conversations [that] came out of the craziness that followed the season [were good]. I don’t regret going on at all.”
The Raleigh, North Carolina, native, admitted that he is “exhausted” after the emotionally draining process, but being back in New York around friends and family has him “in the right spirit.” He added: “All I try to be is a good person at the end of the day.”
Scroll down to read the reality star’s revelations from Friday’s podcast.