The bachelor of season 25, Matt James, and winner, Rachael Kirkconnell, confirmed on After The Final Rose that they were no longer together after her racism controversy.
Matt James chose Rachael Kirkconnell to be his girlfriend on the season 25 finale of The Bachelor. On Monday, 15 March 2021, while on The Bachelor: After the Final Rose, Matt confirmed that he and Rachael were no longer together, following the racial controversy surrounding her.
On Monday, 4 January 2021, Maddy Bierster, a TikToker claimed that she went to high school with Rachael, and posted a video accusing Rachael of teasing her in the past for liking Black men. Maddy received tons of messages and comments from people stating they also experienced racially embedded bullying from Rachael.
On Thursday, 4 February 2021, following the viral video, photos emerged of Rachael at an Old South antebellum-themed party. Rachael attended the formal at Georgia College and State University in 2019. The formal was hosted by Kappa Alpha Order, two years after the fraternity’s board of directors nationally canceled it.
Following the news, Rachael made a public apology for the photos and her past actions, stating “At one point, I did not recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.” She added, “I don’t think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions.”
Matt learned about everything halfway through the airing of the season. On Monday, 22 February 2021, Matt took to Instagram and expressed that the past few weeks had been some of the most challenging of his life. He further expressed his concern over the “incredibly disappointing” photos of Rachael.
Matt and Rachael sat down together for The Bachelor: The Final Rose and had a very painful discussion. Rachael stated, “I just want to take the time to say I’m really sorry,” adding, “I really do think that our relationship was very strong and the love that we shared was very real. I’m really sorry that I hurt you.”