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Last night was the long-awaited finale of Matt James’ season of The Bachelor. Going into the evening, he still had Michelle Young and Rachael Kirkconnell left to choose from. In the end, he told Young that he didn’t think he returned her feelings and chose Kirkconnell. Unfortunately, the two broke up before the After the Final Rose Special. So, why did James and Kirkconnell breakup?

Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James on 'The Bachelor' Season 25
Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James on ‘The Bachelor’ Season 25 | Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

Rachel Kirkconnell’s antebellum party

While the show was airing, pictures of Kirkconnell attending an antebellum plantation party began surfacing. Since then, Kirkconnell has apologized for her past actions.

“I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist,” she wrote in a lengthy note on Instagram. “I am sorry to the communities and individuals that my actions harmed and offended. I am ashamed about my lack of education, but it is no one’s responsibility to educate me.”

She pledged to learn to do better.

“I deserve to be held accountable for my actions,” she continued. “I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong. 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.”

Why did Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell breakup?

During the After the Final Rose special, Kirkconnell spoke about the controversy once again.

“I don’t want to sit here and blame my upbringing or where I grew up,” Rachael said. “In my eyes, there’s no excuse. I got a lot of people saying, ‘This is normal where I grew up.’ I think that people need to realize that just saying, ‘This is normal where I cam from, or common where I came from,’ that doesn’t make it right or okay.”

Ultimately, her relationship with James ended because of the situation.

“When he first called me to end things, my initial reaction was I was very confused,” she told host, Emmanuel Acho. “Once that initial reaction went away, I thought about how strong our relationship was, so for him to end things, he must’ve been very, very hurt by everything. It was hard because I lost the love of my life, but in the process of that, I hurt him by doing so.”


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When James joined Kirkconnell on the stage, he revealed that he broke up with her to allow her to do the work she promised she would do.

“As Rachael acknowledged in her apology, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. I have to take a step back and allow her to put in that work,” he said. “And I’m looking forward to seeing her put in that work.”