Matt james and Rachel kirkconnell‘s Bachelor love story has been a journey – on and off screen.
ABC named the 29-year-old Wake Forest graduate to lead Season 25 in June 2020, later revealing that the series had received a record number of nominations for nominees. Among the 38 women who got to meet Matt was Rachael, a 24-year-old graphic designer from Georgia. Although it did not receive the coveted first impression, the rose (Abigail Heringer did), she caught Matt’s attention the first night. (Season 25 of The single person shot at the Nemacolin Resort in fall 2020 and premiered in January.)
“She was beautiful, wow,” he said after she got out of the limo.
After several group dates, Rachael scored one-on-one with Matt on the February 1 episode of the show. During the night of the date, the couple revealed that they were falling in love with each other.
“The first night, what she chose to use her time with me to talk about was very intentional. And that wasn’t something that wasn’t going to move our relationship forward, ”Matt said of Rachael on Us weeklypodcast “Here for the Right Reasons” on February 2nd. the relationship was lived, you know, I hadn’t had that one-on-one moment with her yet. And when I had this day to spend with her and really get to know her better, it just confirmed how much I had already felt.
As Matt and Rachael dropped L-bombs on the show, she made headlines for her past race-insensitive actions, including photos of herself at an ‘Old South’ themed frat party in 2018. The controversy intensified after Chris Harrison asked fans to have “thanks” for Rachael as they navigated the scandal. The Georgia native broke her silence on February 11, two days after the host’s interview and more than a month after being shot. Rachel’s mother, Kim Kirkconnell, also stood up for her daughter and hinted at how the situation might affect their potential happy ending.
“If he chooses Rachael and supports her, then you know Matt really loves him,” Kim said. The sun February 25. “If he chooses Rachael, then leaves her, then that wasn’t supposed to be the case, and there’s someone else for her.”
While The bachelor: after the final rose on Monday, March 15, fans learned that Matt and Rachael had decided to step down while the show aired.
Months after getting back together in April 2021, Rachael gave Us weekly an exclusive update on their romance – and the pressure they feel from Bachelor Nation to get engaged.
“We’re in a great place,” she told New York Fashion Week in September. “We just needed to take that time away from everyone and really get it all figured out, and I think we were so fed up with the noise outside and we were like, ‘You know what? We just need to put it all aside and really focus on our relationship and how we feel about each other and nothing else. It has been so amazing.
Scroll down for a full timeline of Matt and Rachael’s relationship: