‘The Bachelor’: Matt James Reveals ‘What You Didn’t See’ With Rachael Kirkconnell ‘After the Final Rose’

Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell’s relationship got off to a rocky start after his season of The Bachelor. After learning of Rachael’s controversial photos, many criticized the couple for giving their relationship another shot.

Recently, Matt spoke with Ben Higgins and Ashely Iaconetti about what fans didn’t get to see during “After the Final Rose.” Find out the actual timeline of Matt and Rachael’s relationship. Matt also says there’s a lot the couple couldn’t share with Bachelor Nation during the special. 

Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James smile for cameras at the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards
Rachael Kirkconnell & Matt James | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Matt James says he and Rachael Kirkconnell left ‘After the Final Rose’ holding hands 

While taping “After the Final Rose,” Matt explained why he broke up with Rachael in the first place. “You want to believe that you know your person better than anybody else,” he said at the time. 

“When she spoke out and publicly acknowledged that she would do better and she apologized is when I was finally able to check on myself and see where I was at. I wasn’t OK … Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America …

Speaking to Rachael, he added: “When I questioned our relationship, it was in the context of you not fully understanding my Blackness and what it means to be a Black man in America [or] what it would mean for our kids. When I saw those things floating around on the internet … it broke my heart.”

But as Matt reveals on the Almost Famous Podcast, he and Rachael left together. “We left the stage hand in hand,” Matt said.

“We weren’t speaking [before the reunion show],” he added. “You have to stick to the script.” After cameras stopped rolling, the couple was free to be themselves.

‘The Bachelor’ couple felt they couldn’t talk about their relationship openly 

As Matt explained, he and Rachael didn’t have a lot of freedom with what they could talk about on air. “There [were] things that the show wanted out of that moment [but] we were done giving control of our narrative and lives,” he said. The couple didn’t want “to be exploited for the most part” anymore. 

He concluded: “We had enough. We [didn’t budge] on anything we wanted to share. After that moment, we could finally be at rest.”

Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell back together and ‘doing their own thing’

As Matt told the Bachelor Nation alums, he and Rachael have been “incredible” since the show ended. “Being able to live our lives outside of everyone’s expectations has allowed us to establish a really strong foundation,” he said. They’re still getting to know each other and “learn and grow in a way that is hard to do when you’re trying to please everybody else.”

Instead of mimicking other Bachelor Nation couples, Matt and Rachael are “doing their own thing.” Matt elaborated:

“It’s been so freeing to not have to worry about what other people think after going through what we’ve been through. We do practically everything together which allows us to … get to know each other on a more personal level.” 

Matt admits it took a while to understand he was “wrong with a lot of things.” Now, he and Rachael have been together for a year and it’s been “smooth sailing.” 

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