Matt James on the Truth About the Fantasy Suite and Why He’s Giving Rachael Kirkconnell Another Chance

In a candid new interview with WSJ. Magazine, former Bachelor star Matt James spoke about his relationship with former controversial contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.

By Kaitlin Reilly May 05, 2021 8:49 PMTags

Matt James is telling all. 

In a new interview with WSJ. Magazine, the former Bachelor lead opened up about why he and Rachael Kirkconnell are giving their relationship another shot, months after the controversy surrounding resurfaced photos of her at a 2018 antebellum-themed party.

"I think the best way to put it is that we can have critical conversations about being in this relationship and what I need in a partner—especially if that woman isn't Black—[is] to understand what comes with me and my life and being Black," Matt explained. "It's on people who care about being allies to do the work to be truly antiracist. And I think it's unfair to leave people without the ability to unlearn and be better." 

In February, Matt called the photos of Rachael "incredibly disappointing" and shared that the situation was "devastating and heartbreaking," as he had given the contestant his final rose and hoped to build a life with her. The following month, he confirmed their breakup, which he said happened shortly after the show aired.

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In an Instagram video posted in February, Rachael asked fans to stop defending her party photos, which many saw as glorifying the institution of slavery. She added that the controversy was ultimately a "blessing in disguise because maybe it can wake a lot of people up, and maybe it already has started to." 

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Since, Matt and Rachael have gotten back together. A source told E! News earlier this week that the two are "in a great place right now."

"Matt and Rachael talk every day and have seen each other multiple times in the last few weeks," the insider shared. "They reconnected while spending a whole week together in the O.C."

As for Rachael and the other women who were once in Matt's life—The Bachelor finalists Michelle Young and Bri Springs—the college football player confirmed that his time with the three women in the Fantasy Suite never got physical.

"I can't speak for anybody but myself, but I think the women appreciated it," he told the outlet. "I did learn things about them that I hadn't gathered—that I don't think I would have learned if I hadn't used that time to really dive deeper into something that they might not have been comfortable talking about on camera."

Now, Matt and Rachael are ready to continue their new chapter.