Despite splitting on After The Final Rose, it seems Bachelor Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell have found their way back together again. The 29-year-old first Black Bachelor and his final rose selection split following his season after photos of her attending college antebellum parties and other racially insensitive past social media posts surfaced. But the pair has been spotted together once again, this time in New York City, where Matt looked like a protective gentleman to the jean-jacket clad 24-year-old in photos obtained by TMZ.
Matt — seen in a grey hoodie — put his arm lovingly around Rachael on Tues. May 4, as they headed into a building in NYC’s Lower East Side neighborhood that housed a Target and a Trader Joe’s market. The hunk now lives in the Big Apple, and Rachael paid him a visit there in early April. This latest Matt and Rachael sighting comes under two weeks after the on-again couple hit up two beach town restaurants in Southern California.
On Thurs. Apr. 22, Matt and Rachael were photographed enjoying lunch at Bear Flag Fish Co. in Newport Beach, CA and then grabbed dinner two nights later at JuneShine in Santa Monica, CA. Photos snapped by fans showed the pair looking comfortable together and they reportedly had spent the week in SoCal together, visiting friends.
While Matt and Rachael didn’t get engaged on The Bachelor, she did receive Matt’s final rose. But by then the controversy about her antebellum party attendance photos had already raised red flags for Matt, even though the Georgia native apologized profusely via Instagram posts and took accountability for her past actions.
Matt was done with Rachael by the time they saw each other again on ATFR. He told her she could never understand his experience as “a Black man in America.” Matt went on to add, “As Rachael acknowledged in her apology, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. I have to take a step back and allow her to put in that work. I’m looking forward to seeing her put in that work. We’re not together.”
On Apr. 28, Matt confirmed that he was giving the brunette beauty a second chance at love. “I’ve seen Rachael a handful of times,” The Bachelor star told People. “I’m not pursuing any relationships right now outside of that. I said I was going to focus on my relationship with her and that means focusing on it.” Six days later, he’s looking very much like a boyfriend as he put his arm around Rachael in NYC.