"I deserved the 2 minutes to get my closure," Michelle Young said on After the Final Rose before seeing Matt James for the first time since their split

By Jen Juneau
March 15, 2021 10:19 PM
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Michelle Young is opening up about how she "wasn't okay" after her breakup with Matt James, and never got the "closure" she needed on the show.

On Monday night's After the Final Rose special, The Bachelor runner-up told host Emmanuel Acho that James "refused" to speak with her after he decided to send her home during the finale episode.

For more on Matt James' season finale of The Bachelor, listen below to the episode of PEOPLE Every Day.

"I needed to say my piece because I didn't get the chance to," she said of their breakup.

"I asked if I could talk to Matt for 2 minutes — and not to change his [mind], to not get in the way of the relationship that he was pursuing that was still there. Just for me to say my piece," continued Young, 27. "But he refused to have that conversation with me."

"I think I deserved the 2 minutes to get my closure and move on," added the elementary-school teacher.

Young also confirmed she was truly in love with James, 29, on the show, telling Acho, 30, "Yeah. I really was."

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James broke up with Young during the evening portion of their date during Monday night's finale, admitting he was "having doubts" for the "first time" before the two parted ways. Afterward, the Bachelor told host Chris Harrison that he "wasn't in love with" Young. (James instead gave his final rose to Rachael Kirkconnell, though he didn't propose.)

After James came out for his sit-down with Young on the ATFR special, he told her he was still "processing" everything that had happened between them and asked Young how she was feeling.

"This is hard to sit here, watching that entire night and everything that that was. I mean, you said that you needed to move forward — to do this on your own, or without me, or in the other relationship — and you left," she said. "The moment you left, I completely crumbled."

"I had to walk away without closure, and I had to fill in the gaps of what our relationship really was," Young continued, adding through tears, "I wasn't okay at all. And producers were in my room, seeing how bad I was hurting. And I asked you for a conversation, and it was not a conversation where I was trying to change your trajectory or trying to change your mind or fight for you — it was a conversation so that I could have my inner peace when I left Pennsylvania. And you said no."

James apologized to Young, saying he was sorry she went through those emotions alone: "There's no justification for why I didn't have that conversation, and if I would've known that this is how you were feeling in that moment, then I would've fought to have that conversation."

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Matt James, Michelle Young
Matt James and Michelle Young
| Credit: Craig Sjodin via Getty

"In terms of there being any doubt of how I felt about you," James continued of Young, who joined the contestant lineup in week 3, "what I can tell you is that when you showed up when you did, it was a breath of fresh air. And I always tell people who ask that you weren't late — you were right on time."

"I would hope you would know that I really did care about you, and everything you had shared with me and seeing your heart," he said. "And the way that you carried yourself throughout the show and the emotional labor you took on and continue to take on as a Black woman in your position, showing grace and composure through a lot of situations where I probably would've snapped. My respect and admiration for you is through the roof."

"If I could do it over again, I would've had that conversation with you, knowing how you feel," James told Young. "And all I can say now is I'm sorry."

When asked by Acho if she still loved James, anger aside, Young told her ex, "I care about you. We went through a lot together, we laughed a lot together, and I'm a very forgiving person. I mean, you and me talking about it right now — I've honestly already put it down. And I'm not in love like I was leaving the show, but it does help hearing that what you felt for me was real and what I was feeling — we were on the same page somewhat up until that point. But I think that was what I was really struggling with the most, so I do appreciate [your apology]."

Their chat ended on a lighthearted note, with the two laughing after Young told James, "I hope you find your happiness, I hope you move on with kissing with your eyes closed and I hope you come up with more phrases than just, 'Thanks for sharing.' "