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A partner and a best friend might be the two most important people in a person’s life, but what happens when they don’t always get along? It seems that might be the case for The Bachelor’s Matt James. According to a recent interview, his girlfriend Rachael Kirkconnell and his best friend Tyler Cameron might not always see eye to eye. 

Despite this potential friction in his key relationships, though, it seems that James is more serious than ever about his future with Kirkconnell. 

Matt James (R) with Rachael Kirkconnell (L), smiling
(L-R) Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James | Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Matt James and Tyler Cameron met in college

As most well-versed Bachelor Nation fans know, James came to The Bachelor franchise through his relationship with Cameron. The pair met in college as teammates for Wake Forest’s football team, per StyleCaster. Later, Cameron would be the runner-up in Hannah Brown’s Bachelorette season in 2019.

Cameron encouraged James to participate in the Bachelor franchise, and that encouragement was the reason James applied. He was originally slated to be a part of Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette, which postponed filming because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Instead of joining the ensemble for Crawley’s season, James instead was cast as the Bachelor himself for Season 25. 

Through much of this, James and Cameron remained close friends and even roommates living in New York City for a time. 

Rachael Kirkconnell laughed when James mentioned her relationship with Cameron

Though James and Kirkconnell weathered a tumultuous end to their season of The Bachelor and a subsequent breakup when photos of Kirkconnell at an Antebellum-inspired plantation party surfaced, the two reconciled in April 2021 and have been together ever since. 

On a recent May episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, James answered several questions from the host. Some were about Crawley (she and James never ended up meeting), others about his first celebrity crush (Rooney Mara). 

At one point in the show, James describes Kirkconnell as having a “love-hate relationship” with his best friend, per Us Weekly. James doesn’t elaborate, since he makes the comment in the middle of a game, but Kirkconnell was seen laughing in the audience. 

James says his relationship with Kirkconnell is ‘not for show’

‘The Bachelor’: Matt James & Rachael Kirkconnell Have a ‘Genuine Connection, Marriage Could Be in the Cards’ According to Relationship Expert

It’s hard to say how much truth there was in James’ remark, or if it was an off-the-cuff joke, as Cohen’s games are meant to inspire. We have seen less of Kirkconnell and Cameron together on James’ social media pages — or each other’s — lately. 

That might be more because of Cameron’s split with former girlfriend Camila Kendra in August 2021, as the two couples had spent time double dating before that. Whatever the true status of their dynamics are, it’s clear that James is invested in growing his relationship with his girlfriend.

He also thinks that as they date outside the confines of a television camera, their fans will see that it’s not a ruse. “As we continue to live out our lives I think people will see that we’re real, we’re authentic, we love each other, and it’s not for show,” James said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight

What’s more, it’s also obvious James is serious about his future with Kirkconnell. “At this point in my life I wouldn’t be dating someone or with somebody that I wouldn’t consider marrying,” James said. “That’s the end goal and that’s what we’re working towards.”