‘Bachelor’ Winner Rachael Feels ‘Manipulated’ by Matt After He Talked to Her & His Ex at the Same Time

Rachael, Matt: 'The Bachelor'
Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin.

The drama continues. Bachelor Nation members may want to know more about Matt James’ ex-girlfriend, Grace Amerling, after claims that he tried to get back together with her amid rumors that he reunited with his Bachelor winner, Rachael Kirkconnell.

Matt, a 29-year-old real estate broker from New York City, met Rachael, a 24-year-old graphic designer from Georgia, while filming season 25 of The Bachelor in 2020. During the finale, Matt gave his final rose to Rachael and told her that he loved her and wanted to stay together but couldn’t propose. Rachael accepted his rose, and the couple continued to date after the show. Fast forward to February 2021 when Reality Steve reported that Matt had broken up with Rachael on Valentine’s Day after news broke of her racism scandal. (Rachael came under fire at the time when photos surfaced of her attending an Old South Antebellum-themed party. A TikTok user also claimed that Rachael bullied her and other students in high school for dating Black men.)

At the “After the Final Rose” special, Matt confirmed that he and Rachael had split. “We’re not [together],” Matt told guest host Emmanuel Acho. “It’s heartbreaking. If you don’t understand that something like that is problematic in 2018, there’s a lot of me that you won’t understand. It’s as simple as that…You know what was a long time ago? Plantations.” Fast forward again to April 2021, and Reality Steve reports that Rachael and Matt are “not over” after they were both photographed in New York City, where Matt lives.

Are Matt and Rachael back together after The Bachelor?

So what happened? Are Matt and Rachael back together after The Bachelor? The answer is no. A source told Us Weekly on April 9 that Rachael is “very hurt” and feels “manipulated” after Matt’s ex-girlfriend, Grace Amerling, claimed that he asked her out again after his breakup with Rachael. (More on that later.)

According to Us Weekly, Rachael visited Matt in New York City the week of April 6, where he told her that he was “talking to another girl.” The source noted that Rachael felt especially hurt because she and Matt were” talking about a future together” before she visited him. “Rachael is very emotional right now because she was very hopeful that things were going to work out. She’s still trying to process this,” the source said. “[It] doesn’t seem like they will be getting back together.”

A source close to Matt, however, told Us Weekly that Matt “tried to make it clear” to Rachael that “he just wants to be friends.” “Matt is a caring and supportive person, so he wouldn’t want to block her out of his life completely,” the insider said.The source also noted that Matt told Rachael he was “not looking for a romantic relationship with Rachael after he ended it with her” on the “After the Final Rose.”

Though Rachael is hurt by Matt, it seems like she’s over the relationship too, as the source notes that she “dropped him” after he told her he was talking to another woman.

Who is Matt’s ex-girlfriend Grace Amerling?

So who is Matt’s ex-girlfriend, Grace Amerling? Well, in an interview with Reality Steve on Friday, April 9, Grace, a professional equestrian, claimed that she met Matt in Florida in mid-2020 and “briefly” spent time with him and his best friend, Tyler Cameron. Grace also told Reality Steve that, after Matt was cast as the Bachelor, he asked her to be a contestant on the show, which she declined. Their relationship ended after that.

Grace went on to tell Reality Steve that she and Matt started talking again after his split from Rachael aired in March 2021. She claimed that Matt texted her “out of the blue” on April 4—days before he was photographed with Rachael in New York city—asking her to come to Miami “for the night,” which she declined. Matt was staying in Florida at the time.

When she saw photos of Rachael and Matt together, Grace went public with her experience with the Bachelor.

“It just didn’t sit right with me. I just felt like Rachael was so in love with him and for him to be trying to contact me and hang out with me – someone he’s had past romantic relationships with – two days prior in Miami… I felt like I had to say something for Rachael’s sake,” she said.  “Rachael really a victim here. At some point, it’s not OK.” She continued, “All the best to Rachael. I hope she finds someone better.”

The Bachelor is available to stream on Hulu.

"Bachelor Nation" by Amy Kaufman

Image: Courtesy of Penguin Books.

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

To get more of an inside scoop, check out Los Angeles Times writer Amy Kaufman’s book, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, for a deep dive into the Bachelor franchise. The book uncovers the secrets of Bachelor Nation, from how much the Bachelor and the Bachelorette are paid to the rules contestants have to follow, that producers don’t want fans to know. It’s a must-read for any Bachelor Nation member.

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