Last woman standing! Matt James chose Rachael Kirkconnell as his final pick during The Bachelor finale on March 15. After an emotional day, where Matt cancelled his final date with Rachael, she got all glammed up for one last rose ceremony. Rachael wore a sequined gown with a high neckline and completely open back. The dress featured a high slit up the front, and Rachael completed her gorgeous look with her hair parted down the middle in loose curls.
Although Matt didn’t propose to Rachael, he let her know that he still wanted to be with her after the show ended. They agreed to give their relationship a shot, and left the show as a couple. The decision came after Matt dumped Michelle Young during their final date before the rose ceremony, as he began to have doubts about whether or not he was ready for a lasting commitment.
In the months since this finale was filmed at the end of 2020, Rachael has become the center of some major controversy. First, a woman who went to high school with Rachael claimed The Bachelor contestant bullied her in school, and then, fans began uncovering controversial posts that Rachael had liked on Instagram. The scandal blew up, though, when photos surfaced that showed Rachael attending an Old South/antebellum-themed party in college.
While some Bachelor viewers did not understand the racist nature of the photo and defended Rachael, she also received major backlash. It was made worse when Chris Harrison excused Rachael’s past behavior during an interview on Extra. Rachael eventually issued an apology to take accountability former actions. She told fans they should not defend her and urged others to educate themselves about why her past behavior was problematic.
Now, viewers will have to wait and see how this drama has affected Matt and Rachael’s relationship. They will both appear on After the Final Rose, which will not be hosted by Chris amidst the controversy. Instead, Emmanuel Acho will lead the discussion. Meanwhile, Chris also won’t be returning to host next season of The Bachelorette this spring — Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will be filling in instead.