Last month, there were definite hints that Matt James was considering reconciliation with Rachael Kirkconnell.
The Bachelor stars were clearly head over heels for each other before Rachael’s racism scandal was exposed.
And even her harshest critics acknowledged that she has been outspoken while unlearning some toxic things.
Even so …
It is stunning to see that Kirkconnell and James are currently together, in person, and working on mending their relationship.
Multiple outlets, including Bachelor spoilers kingpin Reality Steve, have shared the news of the Rachael and Matt meetup.
Also, UK celebrity gossip outlet The Sun reports that “Rachael is in New York City with Matt right now.”
According to their source, “they’re working on their relationship and seeing if it’s salvageable.”
Is it, though? “They still have a lot of work to do,” the alleged insider acknowledges.
“But they are figuring out things together instead of apart over text,” the source explains.
Apparently, the two have been in contact, and speaking back and forth with each other for “a few weeks.”
It sounds like Rachael wants to give them another shot, because the decision is “ultimately up to Matt.”
The insider notes that it was Matt who very understandably “needed time” to process recent events.
Meanwhile, Rachael has reportedly been “trying to win him over again” since everything fell apart so terribly.
“Now,” the source notes, “he has seen Rachael has done the work to educate herself and right her wrongs.”
The insider says that Matt has seen all of this “and he does believe she’s changed.”
“Though he did not believe she was a bad person,” the source says, “she did have ignorance.”
With all that being said, “he’s open to rekindling their romance,” the insider affirms.
“But,” the source notes, “is trying to take things slowly.”
The insider explains that the Georgia native is being careful “as he got really burned by the breakup.”
“She still needs to earn his trust,” the source continues, adding that it will be a tall order.
“But,” the insider adds, “he’s now finally ready to give her the chance to do that.”
The source shares that despite the jarring end of his season, he’s open to this “for the first time in months.”
Over the weekend, members of Bachelor Nation spotted and recognized Rachael in New York.
(Seriously, if you are famous, 8.5 million people is still too small of a crowd in which to hide.)
It was then confirmed left and right that yes, it was Rachael Kirkconnell. And now we know more.
The finale for the 25th and most controversial season of The Bachelor was filmed in November.
At that time, Matt gushed to Rachael that he could not “imagine his life without” her.
Matt confessed to an adoring audience that he was certain that Rachael was his “future wife and mother of his children.”
That was before Rachael appeared on television, prompting people who knew her to speak about their experiences with her.
After former classmates described her as having been a racist bully in high school, fans did some digging.
The results were, well, not pretty.
Rachael’s social media history showed a lot of overt racism in her orbit.
“Liking” a photo of your friends posing in front of hate symbols like the Confederate Flag or a MAGA hat is not the same as doing so yourself.
But it’s also alarming, especially to see from a woman who (at the time, as episodes were airing) was clearly an early frontrunner.
Another huge red flag was the social media activity of Rachael’s parents.
Cruel political posts, inexcusable donations, and volunteering for extreme right-wing nationalists set off alarm bells.
Additionally, Rachael’s mother went on to defend Rachael, but ended up digging the hole even deeper.
Rachael was also photographed just two years prior wearing period garb at a party held at a plantation.
This tasteless and abhorrent combination drew very fair comparisons to dressing in Nazi garb to party at a concentration camp in Europe.
With or without deliberate malice, the sites of history’s greatest atrocities are rarely good venues for a party, particularly when guests dress as the perpetrators.
Emmannuel Acho hosted the extremely uncomfortable (but very important) After The Final Rose segment after Chris Harrison had tried to defend Rachael, only to make the whole thing much worse.
By this point, Matt and Rachael had broken up — splitting in February, as the season was airing.
They were both visibly uncomfortable during all of that.
To her credit, Rachael has been extremely vocal since her scandal, supporting Black voices and defending Matt.
While past deeds do not magically go away, it is never too late to realize that you can and should be a better person.
It is always, always encouraging to see someone educate and better themselves.
if Matt and Rachael want to give it another chance, that is always their choice.
No one is born with absolute knowledge of right and wrong, and some, like Rachael, grow up in environments that are steeped in racism.
That does lead fans to ask: if they get back together, how in the world can their relationship survive Rachael’s parents?