Still dealing with the aftermath. Matt James got candid about his split from Rachael Kirkconnell and the future of Bachelor Nation during his first interview after the Monday, March 15, finale.
During Monday’s After the Final Rose special, the 29-year-old reality personality revealed that he ended his relationship with Rachael, 24, after she made headlines for her past racially insensitive actions, including attending an “Old South”-themed party on a plantation in college in 2018.
“That’s the frustrating part about the position that I’m in … having to explain not only to Rachael but to the rest of America why things like that are problematic because we don’t have that chance to have that ignorance,” Matt said on Good Morning America on Tuesday, March 16. “Think about Breonna Taylor, think about Tamir Rice, they didn’t have that opportunity to have ignorance.”
On After the Final Rose, Matt told host Emmanuel Acho that he and Rachael split after she publicly apologized for her past via Instagram last month.
“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. It was in that moment and the conversation that I had, that Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking. If you don’t understand that something like that is problematic in 2018, there’s a lot of me that you won’t understand. It’s as simple as that. … You know what was a long time ago? Plantations.”
Rachael, for her part, admitted she was “blindsided” by the split.
“My initial reaction was I was very confused. I was very blindsided,” she told Acho. “But once that initial reaction went away, I thought about, you know, how strong I thought our relationship was. So for him to end things, like, he must have been very, very hurt by everything. It was hard, because I lost the love of my life.”
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According to a source, Matt initially stood by Rachael.
“Matt broke up with her to protect himself. It came at a bit of a shock to Rachael,” the source exclusively told Us Weekly. “He told her over and over again that he believed her side of the story and that he knew she wasn’t racist.”
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Scroll through for everything we learned from Matt’s GMA interview: