A source previously told PEOPLE that Matt James "wanted to get back together" with Rachael Kirkconnell "one day and still pictured a life for them together"

By Dory Jackson
April 26, 2021 06:47 PM
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Matt James and ex Rachael Kirkconnell appear to be spending time together again.

The former Bachelor, 29, and Kirkconnell, 24, were spotted hanging out at JuneShine in Santa Monica, California, on Saturday, according to photos posted by TMZ.

The real estate broker tried to be incognito while hiding beneath a blue hoodie and black sunglasses, while the graphic designer was pictured in an all-black ensemble. 

A rep for James did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Kirkconnell was the frontrunner on James' Bachelor season, despite her facing multiple allegations offscreen regarding her past racially insensitive actions. She apologized via Instagram in February for her previous behavior after longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison controversially defended her, resulting in him receiving backlash and taking a step back from the popular franchise

RACHAEL Kirkconnell, MATT JAMES
Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell
| Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty

"I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong," she wrote at the time. "I don't think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions."

James ultimately picked Kirkconnell over runner-up Michelle Young, but it was confirmed during The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special that they were no longer together. That same month, James said on The Bill Simmons Podcast that he would not be dating anytime soon. 

"In the meantime, I'm working on myself. I'm not going to be dating," he said. "I'm just solely focused on getting back into that meaningful work in the community and centering myself around projects that are going to elevate all the work that I've been working on doing in the city and special interest things that I appreciate outside of reality television."

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Matt James
Matt James
| Credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images

But earlier this month, fan speculation regarding the pair reconciling surfaced after the exes were spotted together in New York City, though a source previously told PEOPLE that James and Kirkconnell "are not together."

Neither James nor Kirkconnell have publicly addressed their reunion, but a source close to Kirkconnell told PEOPLE that the first Black Bachelor lead purchased a ticket for her to "stay with him" in New York. Kirkconnell visited under the belief that she would be rekindling her romance with James. 

"He's been telling her he loves her and has never felt this way for anyone else before," the source said. "After the scandal, he said it would take time for them to work on themselves separately, but he wanted to get back together one day and still pictured a life for them together, with a family and everything."

The insider also noted that Kirkconnell "understood why he publicly said he couldn't see a future with her because of what she had done and the responsibility he felt as the first Black Bachelor, and she supported him."