Will Matt & Rachael Get Back Together? Here’s How He ‘Blindsided’ Her With Their Breakup

"The Bachelor" 2021: Matt, Rachael
Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin.

When viewers found out who won Matt’s final rose, many wanted to know if Matt and Rachael were still together after The Bachelor 2021. Bachelor Nation got that answer during the “After the Final Rose” special on March 15.

Matt James, a 29-year-old real estate agent from New York City, chose Rachael Kirkconnell, a 24-year-old graphic designer from Cumming, Georgia, was his winner on the season 25 finale of The Bachelor. Before the Final Rose Ceremony, Matt eliminated Michelle Young, a 27-year-old teacher from Woodbury, Minnesota, after he realized that he was more in love with Rachael. However, Matt and Rachael did not get engaged. At the Final Rose Ceremony, Matt told Rachael that he couldn’t propose to her but would like to continue dating. She accepts his Final Rose and leaves without an engagement ring or a promise ring.

Are Matt and Rachael still together after The Bachelor?

Fast forward to the “After the Final Rose” special and Matt confirmed that he and Rachael are not together. “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.”

Reality Steve confirmed in February 2021 that Matt and Rachael are not still together after The Bachelor. Reality Steve reported that Matt broke up with Rachael after their Valentine’s Day weekend together. The report came amid Rachael’s racism scandal, which Matt talked about on “After the Final Rose.” “Before Rachael addressed anything or Chris Harrison spoke on anything, I’m trying to be there for her, and I dismissed them as rumors, because that’s what they were to me. You hear things that are heartbreaking…and you just pray they’re not true. And then, when you find out that they are, it just makes you question everything” he said.

If you’re not caught up on the controversy, here’s a recap: In January 2021, Rachael came under fire after TikTok user @maddyybierster, a former of high school classmate of Rachael’s, claimed that she was bullied by Rachael for dating Black men. “girlieee, remember when you bullied me in high school for liking black guys???” the user captioned a clip of Rachael on a date with Matt. After the TikTok went viral, the user shared several DMs from other women who claimed to have similar experiences with Rachael when it came to dating Black men.

A TikTok video by @feministmama then went viral in January 2021, where the user exposed Rachael for liking racist social media posts and associating herself with controversial groups. The TikToker shared three social media screenshots that Rachael liked: one of two women in front of a Confederate flag, one of three women dressed in sombreros, ponchos and mustaches, and one of a woman in a “Make America Great Again” hat. Rachael also came under fire at the time after a 2018 photo of her at a plantation-themed party at Georgia College went viral.

Rachael, Matt: 'The Bachelor' 2021

Image: ABC/Craig Sjodin.

Around the time of Reality Steve’s report, Matt broke his silence on Rachael’s controversy, which seemed to confirm that they are no longer together. “The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life, and while there are several episodes left of the season, it is important that I take the time to address the troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming,” he wrote.

He continued, “The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly…Chris’s failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch,” James continued. “As Black people and allies immediately knew and understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that ‘The Bachelor’ franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years.”

After Reality Steve’s report, a source told The Sun that Matt “blindsided” Rachael with their split and “refuses to speak” with her. “He’s ignored her messages and won’t provide any answers from when he blindsided her with the split,” a source told The Sun, claiming that Matt has “shut her out.” “The breakup came completely out of nowhere. He stood by her throughout the drama until he suddenly chose not to.”

During “After the Final Rose,” Rachael also confirmed that she felt “blindsided” by Matt’s decision to end their relationship. According to The Sun’s source, production “got to Matt” and “ruined” his relationship with Rachael. “He listened to producers who initially supported Rachael but became controlling and more unsupportive of them after Chris Harrison’s interview with Rachel Lindsay,” the source said. “Once the network started getting canceled and not just Rachael, their tone changed. It seems they got in his head and convinced him that his image would be saved if he dumped Rachael. So that’s what he did.”

So there you have it. Matt and Rachael are not still together after The Bachelor. And it doesn’t look like Matt will reunite with his runner-up, Michelle, either. Michelle, along with Katie Thurston, who was eliminated in 10th place on Matt’s season, were chosen as the next Bachelorettes. Click here for spoilers about season 17 of The Bachelorette.

As for if Matt and Rachael have a chance at a reunion, Matt hinted during “After the Final Rose” that he’s closed that chapter of his life. “As Rachael acknowledged in her apology, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” he said. “I have to take a step back and allow her to put in that work, and I’m looking forward to seeing her put in that work.”

Still, he acknowledged that his feelings for Rachael “go away overnight” and that he thinks Rachael can change. “You can still really care about somebody and want them to do better,” he said. “I don’t think that anybody’s irredeemable. There’s a lot of processing that I have to do, and it’s just not a situation that I think that I would help. [That’s] why I stepped back and let her do the work that she’s committed to doing.”

Rachael, for her part, is still very much in love with Matt. After the finale, she took to Instagram with a note about her experience on The Bachelor. “i knew from the first night i met matt that he was something special, and i was praying to share something exceptional between the two of us if that’s what was meant to be,” she wrote. “while i never expected this outcome, i respect his decision completely. of course i wish circumstances were different, but i still feel blessed for the time we did have together and the memories we made. i got to fall in love, and i truly believe he was the love of my life. he will always hold a piece of my heart. i’ll always be hopeful and believe what’s meant to be will be.”

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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