Following the news that he and Rachael Kirkconnell are trying to work out their relationship, the North Carolina native shared tons of behind-the-scenes secrets in a new profile for WSJ. Magazine and explained why he decided to give his ex another chance.
“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 said in the interview, published on Wednesday, May 5. “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.”
In the season 25 finale, Matt and Rachael did not get engaged but decided to keep dating and see where their relationship took them. During After the Final Rose, though, Matt revealed that the couple had split after filming because of the Georgia native’s past racially insensitive actions, like attending an Old South–themed party at a plantation in 2018.
“If you don’t understand that something like that is problematic in 2018, there’s a lot of me that you won’t understand,” he told guest host Emmanuel Acho during ATFR. “It’s as simple as that.”
The controversy affected other members of Bachelor Nation as well. After longtime host Chris Harrison seemed to defend Rachael during an interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, he temporarily stepped down from his hosting duties. Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams will step in for him during season 17 of The Bachelorette, premiering June 7.
Though some viewers thought Matt’s personality was dull, he told WSJ. that he kept much of himself closed off during filming, especially regarding his past.
“What was most important to me was that people [on the show] understood where I came from and who I was so that they could make an informed decision for themselves — if they wanted to be with someone like me, who had this quote-unquote baggage, because that’s what I saw it as initially,” he explained. “It wasn’t until I became more comfortable with who I was as a man, as a Black man, as a brother and a son, that it just became more of my story.”
He also claimed that he did have deeper conversations with the women that ended up on the cutting room floor. “Ultimately The Bachelor’s about more than myself,” he said. “It’s about all the women who were there and their journeys. There’s a lot of things that didn’t make air that you’ve just got to hope that [the editors] knew a lot better than I do.”
Keep scrolling to read more revelations from Matt’s interview: