"I felt like I had to say something," Grace Amerling said in an Instagram Live on Friday

By Naledi Ushe
April 10, 2021 12:12 AM
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matt james
Matt James
| Credit: bachelor nation abc/ youtube

A woman claiming to be Matt James' ex is speaking out after the former Bachelor and Rachael Kirkconnell were photographed in New York together.

James, 29, concluded his season with Kirkconnell, but the pair broke up after former social media posts of Kirkconnell's that showed racist behavior resurfaced online (she has since apologized and said that she is "learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist"). The duo were spotted together this week, prompting a woman named Grace Amerling to share her alleged experience with James.

Amerling joined Bachelor Nation blogger Reality Steve (Steve Carbone) for an Instagram Live chat on Friday, saying that she first met James in Florida and "briefly" spent time with him and Tyler Cameron at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pair's alleged romance fizzled out after James was cast on the ABC dating series, Amerling, a professional horse rider, said. She also told Carbone that James tried to recruit her to join the show, but she declined.

grace
Credit: realitysteve/instagram

Amerling told Carbone on Friday that she and James started casually talking again after his public split from Kirkconnell, 24.

James was in Florida on Sunday when the equestrian said she received texts from the ABC star "out of the blue" asking her to come to Miami "for the night." She said she declined because she was tired. 

Days later, the Bachelor star was spotted out with Kirkconnell and rumors swirled that the pair were rekindling their relationship.

Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James
Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James
| Credit: Rachael Kirkconnell/ instagram

"It just didn't sit right with me. I just felt like Rachael was so in love with him and for him to be trying to contact me and hang out with me – someone he's had past romantic relationships with – two days prior in Miami... I felt like I had to say something for Rachael's sake," Amerling told Carbone. 

"Rachael really a victim here," she added. "At some point, it's not okay."

RELATED VIDEO: Rachel Lindsay Opens Up on Matt James, Rachael Kirkconnell and Their Split After The Bachelor Finale

Amerling said she has made contact with Kirkconnell out of concern, but it wasn't clear if the former contestant responded.

"All the best to Rachael," she said Friday. "I hope she finds someone better."

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

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James previously said he wasn't actively pursuing reconciliation with Kirkconnell after their breakup, but didn't feel Kirkconnell was "irredeemable."

"And, I think that for Rachael, there's a lot that we didn't discuss that we probably should've talked about. I probably should've asked more clarifying questions. And I'm giving her that space to do that," he said during an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast last month while reflecting on his relationship with Kirkconnell.

James, the first Black Bachelor, told Simmons he found out about Kirkconnell's resurfaced photos "just like everybody else did" — through social media — and that it was "heartbreaking" to find out they were real.