Matt James and Ex Rachael Kirkconnell Are Not Back Together: They're 'Just Friends,' Says Source
Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell’s romantic relationship came to an end after racially insensitive photos of her surfaced on social media
"They are not together. He supports her as a friend. He is not looking for a relationship," the insider says. "Matt is focused on engaging in meaningful projects in the community at this time."
Though James and Kirkconnell left season 25 of The Bachelor as a couple and remained together for a period of time after the cameras stopped rolling, their romantic relationship came to an end after photos of Kirkconnell attending an antebellum plantation-themed party in 2018 surfaced on social media. She has since apologized and said that she is "learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist."
During an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast last month, James, 29, reflected on his relationship with Kirkconnell. When asked if he would consider being in a relationship with Kirkconnell, 24, down the line, the former Bachelor said, "I don't think that anyone's 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 continued.
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.
"The tough thing is having to explain to America why those pictures are problematic to me," he said. "You hear people harping on forgiveness and I forgave her when she told me. That doesn't mean I'm not disappointed and that I don't want her to do better."
Will you accept this rose? Sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly Bachelor Nation newsletter to get the latest news on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and everything in between.
As James continues to heal from their split, the real estate broker said he won't be dating while he jumps back into doing "meaningful work in the community."
"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."
- Jana Kramer Shuts Down Real Housewives of Nashville Rumors: 'But We Did Film Something' Else
- Nicky Hilton Reveals What She'd Never Dress Her Daughters In: 'Children Should Dress Like Children'
- Bachelor in Paradise's Raven Gates and Adam Gottschalk Are Married
- Keith Urban Says Co-Hosting 2021 ACM Awards with Mickey Guyton Is 'So Natural' — We 'Hit It Off'