The one that got away? Matt James reunited with runner-up Michelle Young during The Bachelor: After the Final Rose on Monday, March 15 — and she had questions about their split.
“I wasn’t OK, and … I needed to say my piece, because I didn’t get the chance to. And so I asked if I could talk to Matt for two minutes, and not to change his route, to not get in the way of the relationship that he was pursuing that was still there. It was just for me to say my piece, but he refused to have that conversation with me,” Michelle told host Emmanuel Acho. “I think I deserved the two minutes to get my closure and move on.”
When Matt joined the conversation, Michelle revealed she “crumbled” because she didn’t get closure.
“I had to walk away without closure, and I had to fill in the gaps of what our relationship really was, and I wasn’t OK. I wasn’t OK at all,” she said. “And producers were in my room … seeing how bad I was hurting and I asked you for a conversation, and it was not a conversation where I was trying to change your trajectory or trying to change your mind or fight for you. It was a conversation so that I could have my inner peace when I left Pennsylvania, and you said no.”
He subsequently apologized.
“I just wanna start by saying I’m sorry that you were going through that. There’s no justification for why I didn’t have that conversation, and if I would have known that this is how you were feeling in that moment, then I would have fought to have that conversation,” Matt said. “Just in terms of there being any doubt in how I felt about you, what I can tell you is that when you showed up when you did, it was a breath of fresh air, and I always tell people who ask that you weren’t late. You were right on time.”
During Monday’s two-hour finale, Matt, 29, broke up with Michelle, 27, to give his final rose to Rachael Kirkconnell. After his conversation with Michelle, viewers will get an update on the former football player’s relationship with the 24-year-old graphic designer, who made headlines while the show was airing for her past racially insensitive actions, including attending an “Old South”-themed bash on a planation in college.
Rachael apologized twice before her sit-down with Matt and After the Final Rose host Acho, who replaced Chris Harrison after the longtime host came under fire for defending Rachael during an interview on Extra with Rachel Lindsay last month.
“While there have been rumors circulating, there have also been truths that have come to light that I need to address. I hear you, and I’m here to say I was wrong,” the Georgia native wrote on February 11 via 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. They are not acceptable or OK in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”
Michelle, meanwhile, was among the contestants who shared a message of support for the season 13 Bachelorette after her controversial interview with Harrison.
“We are the women of Bachelor Season 25. Twenty-five women who identify as BIPOC were cast on this historic season that was meant to represent change,” the cast said in February via a joint statement. “We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism. Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and continued experience of BIPOC individuals. These experiences are not to be exploited or tokenized.”
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The group added: “Rachel Lindsay continues to advocate with ‘grace’ for individuals who identify as BIPOC within this franchise. Just because she is speaking the loudest, doesn’t mean she is alone. We stand with her, we hear her, and we advocate for change alongside her.”
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