The dust is settling between Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell, but that doesn’t mean they’re back on track.
Rachael rocked Bachelor Nation to its core when racially insensitive photos of her were resurfaced online, which eventually led to the temporary ousting of longtime host Chris Harrison when he defended her.
Though Matt chose to be with her at the end of the season, they didn’t get engaged and decided to cool off in the wake of the photo scandal. He said it made him “question everything,” adding, “I wasn’t okay because it was in that moment and the conversation that I had that—Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America.”
However, this week, the Bachelor stars reunited in New York City, prompting fans to wonder if they had officially reconciled after their split.
While Rachael and Matt have been in touch, they aren’t back together, a source close to him exclusively tells E! News. The Georgia native has been trying to reach Matt and he agreed to see her, the source says.
A second source explains that she’s been in NYC for a few days visiting friends. “Rachael and Matt are completely just friends. He has no intentions of dating her in the future,” the insider adds.
Everything discussed on After The Final Rose still stands, according to the second source, who notes that Matt is not looking for a relationship. He is focusing on his work projects at the moment, which include the non-profit ABC Food Tours.
Need further proof their relationship is platonic? A third, separate source also confirms they are not back together and are simply friends—so there you have it.
Rachael, who apologized for her old pics, admitted it has was a big learning experience, saying, “while i certainly wish things turned out differently, i also believe there is a reason for everything. we may not be able to control situations thrown our way, but we can control how we deal with it, and i believe good can come out every circumstance.”
As for Matt, he spoke on Good Morning America following the March 15 finale to say the drama has “hit me like a ton of bricks.”
The businessman added, “I felt the weight of everything that I was carrying throughout the season and with what we were dealing with as a country and having to explain that, why I think it’s problematic to me and our relationship, which was extremely difficult.”
He faced criticism from Bachelor viewers for splitting with his top choice over the controversy, and Rachael stepped in to defend him online against the haters.
“Some of the things I’ve seen being said to and about Matt are repulsive,” she wrote on her Insta Story after the finale. “I respect the decisions that Matt has had to make during this experience. If you are directing hate towards him, please stop. Recognize someone’s humanity and think about the impact your words have.”
And if you thought he was dating Heather Martin now that he’s ended things with Rachael, think again.
“I’m not dating Matt,” the reality star said on The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast this week. “I think he has a lot going on in his life. You know, he’s going through a ton. I can’t even imagine…so many different aspects of the show, just everything. So, I think he has a lot going on right now. So, no, I’m not dating Matt.”