Since The Bachelor finale and the After the Final Rose special aired on Monday night, Bachelor Nation has been trying to deal with the aftermath.
The episode finally gave Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell a chance to discuss the racism scandal that happened during the season.
Fans have had mixed feelings about whether or not the show adequately handled the situation. But Bachelor alums have rallied around both Matt and Rachael, making it clear they support what was said on the episode.
Below is everything that’s happened since the finale aired.
Matt James Pinpoints the Moment He Knew He Needed to Break Up With Rachael
The morning after the finale, Matt appeared on Good Morning America where he further discussed what happened between him and Rachael.
“When she spoke out and publicly acknowledged that she would do better and she apologized is when I was finally able to check on myself and see where I was at, and I wasn’t OK. It was in that moment… [I realized that] Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America.”
He recalled having a difficult time explaining to her why the antebellum photos were problematic and how frustrating it’s been trying to explain it to the public as well.
“That’s the frustrating part about the position that I’m in — having to explain, not only to Rachael but to the rest of America, why things like that are problematic. We don’t have the chance to have that ignorance. Think about Breonna Taylor, think about Tamir Rice. They didn’t have the opportunity to have that ignorance.”
“It’s heartbreaking. If you don’t understand that something like that is problematic in 2018, there’s a lot of me that you won’t understand. It’s as simple as that.”
As for whether or not he thought he could ever get back together with Rachael, he seemed pretty adamant that things were over for good.
“I think there is a lot of work that needs to be done before I can think about being in a relationship with anybody. I need time to process everything that is going on and I want to respect Rachael and what she has to do as well.”
“I know that Rachael’s a good person. Everything that she outlined in her apology, in her statement, I’m looking forward to seeing her do, because I know she’s capable of it.”
Bri Springs Admits She Was Surprised By Matt and Rachael’s Break Up
Bri Springs recently spoke out on E! News’ Daily Pop and admitted that she was surprised that Matt ended things with Rachael. She said,
“I thought they were in love, and I thought they were the end all, be all for each other.”
But that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t understand Matt’s decision. She explained,
“I also do sympathize with Matt and I understand where he’s coming from as a Black woman and having been in an interracial relationship. I can see how it would be hard to feel like you can move forward.”
“I feel for both of them and it was the first time that I saw those conversations take place and I’m happy that they did.”
As for Bri, she’s ready to move on with her life — without Matt.
“I can confidently say that I am not still in love with Matt but I do — I wish him the best.”
Michelle Young Says She Was Completely Shocked When Matt Chose Rachael Instead of Her
After appearing on ATFR, Michelle stopped by the podcast Bachelor Happy Hour to discuss what happened between her and Matt. She said that she thought Matt was just as into her as she was him. She said,
“It’s very clear that I didn’t know it was coming. I read other people’s body language. If I kind of felt like he was holding back a little bit, I would have too. And I would’ve kind of figured out what’s wrong, what’s going on.”
She admitted that she was extremely vulnerable with Matt, something she wouldn’t have done in hindsight.
“For me, it was so hard to continue to put myself in that vulnerable position and fall.”
“I kept getting a positive response. That was the hardest part for me. I felt like I did the groundwork to cover my bases to make sure, ‘Ok, cool, I’m going to keep being vulnerable.’ And it was pulled away a little bit.”
Luckily for Michelle, she’ll get another chance to fall in love onscreen. Except, this time, men will be competing for her, not the other way around. Michelle is set to appear as The Bachelorette in the fall.
Emmanuel Acho Reveals the Unaired Rachael-Michelle Confrontation
Photos from the ATFR special showed Rachael and Michelle sitting down together but no such segment actually aired on the show.
Fortunately, host Emmanuel took to Instagram to clear up exactly what went down. He explained,
“Michelle had reached out to Rachael but had never heard back and so Michelle was broken over that. I sensed that over the course of our conversation. So, during that next commercial break, I called an audible. I reached out to the producers via my microphone and I said, ‘Hey, we have to get Michelle and Rachael to somehow reconcile.'”
Everyone, including Rachael, agreed it was a good idea. Emmanuel continued,
“Michelle walks out, they sit down on the couch together and after Michelle pours her heart out and Rachael pours her heart out, the two shared an embrace. And I simply sat there and witnessed it and thought, ‘If we could see this collectively as a society, we could all grow.'”
Emmanuel said it ended up being his favorite part of the entire sit-down.
“It was a beautiful depiction that I got to witness.”
Rachael Kirkconnell Apologizes to the Other Women
Shortly following the ATFR, Rachael took to Instagram where she shared pictures of her with her fellow castmates. She expressed remorse for taking away the spotlight from the other women. She wrote,
“One of the biggest disappointments has been the overshadowing of these beautiful women and their stories. They are some of the strongest, most brilliant, most extraordinary women and I was lucky enough to have met them. You all deserve more, but I promise to always stand by and support each of you in any way I can.”
In the same post, Rachael made it clear that she was still very much still in love with Matt and hoped they still had a future together. But she knew that was highly unlikely. She wrote,
“I truly believe he was the love of my life. He will always hold a piece of my heart. I’ll always be hopeful and believe what’s meant to be will be.”
The Ladies Rally Around Rachael
It’s clear that many of Rachael’s castmates still have a lot of love for her. Many of her took to her Instagram comments to support her with heart emojis and words of encouragement. Her supporters include Serena Pitt, Pieper James, Jessenia Cruz, M.J. Snyder, Sarah Trott, Abigail Heringer, and Mariela Pepin.
ATFR host Emmanuel Acho even commented on the post and wrote,
“Appreciate your vulnerability and humility. Wishing you nothing but the best my friend.”
Rachel Lindsay Says Matt Has ‘Issues’ He Needs to Work Through
“I hope that the finale gave her the closure that she needed. I think that she’s going to be fine.”
As for Matt, Rachel definitely indicated that it would be hard for him to recover. She explained,
“I think Matt has some issues that he needs to work through, and he was starting to work them out on this season, but that journey for him isn’t over yet. So I think once he can get through that … then he can finally get there.”
As for whether or not Matt should have tried to work it out with Rachael, Rachel declined to weigh in.
“I think it’s hard for us to give an opinion as to what Matt should do or how he should navigate his relationship with Rachael. I think it’s just a personal decision.”
Tyler Cameron Gives An Update on His Bestie
“He’s going through it. He’s doing good. It was definitely tough, you know.”
He added that he believed Matt would definitely need to recover before he could start dating again.
“I’m sure he’s going to take some time. I’m sure he needs to figure himself out and get his mind right and he’ll be ready to go.”
Juan Pablo Empathizes with Matt
In a weird twist of events, everyone’s most hated Bachelor Juan Pablo decided to speak up. He expressed support for Matt, even recalling his own experience with racism on the show. He tweeted,
“It’s SAD to see the PERSISTENT racism and DISCRIMINATION is finally coming to LIGHT after 25 seasons of @BachelorABC. I can PERSONALLY attest to this SITUATION as the FIRST Latino on the show. @TheRachLindsay thank you for CALLING out @chrisbharrison.”
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.