Did Matt James choose Rachael Kirkconnell or Michelle Young? We finally have the answer after a wild “Bachelor” Season 25 finale!
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
In the end it was Rachael that walked away with the final rose... but not an engagement ring.
Fans later learned during the "After the Final Rose" special that Matt and Rachael are no longer together.
Going back, here's a look at what happened during the finale.
Before the non-proposal to Rachael, Matt broke things off with Michelle.
The pressure was on and during their last date he was having doubts.
"We're like, a day or two away," he said, "This is the first time I've felt any type of thing outside of wanting to be with you forever and having just any doubt in my mind at this point for me is just like, scary. I've been pushing through that feeling today and trying to get there because of how I feel about you and what I know life could look like with you. And I think the easy thing for me to do would be to tell you what you want to hear."
Young insisted "that's not what I'm looking for," telling it felt like "with the flip of a switch" their connection was gone.
James told her, "I don't want you to think of it as a flip of a switch," before they eventually parted ways in tears.
After the breakup, Matt needed time to get some clarity and canceled his date with Rachael. She was upset, saying, "I feel pretty in the dark right now. He never expressed any kind of worry or concern or confusion. Not once. It's like, very blindsiding."
After some time to think, Matt invited Rachael to the lake because he felt he owed her some answers.
She told him, "I want to be there for you when you're hurting. And when you're hurting, I'm hurting. And I don't know what happened yesterday, but I do know I'm not going to run just when it gets tough."
He explained to her, "I want to be everything to you, I want to be everything for you that my dad wasn't to my mom. And as I'm wrestling with what I'm going to do today, the easy thing for me to do would be to brush those feelings and emotions off and make you happy. That's to propose to you today. But I couldn't live with myself if I put you through what my mom has been through. I've seen what rushing into a proposal, a marriage can do in my family and it's ugly and it's not something I want for you or for us. And that's why I can't propose to you today."
James insisted, "When I think about the life I want to live, I think about living that life with you. And I want to leave here with you. And I want to commit to you and to every day moving on, what we started here. And the truth is that I love you."
She told him, "I love you too."
He said of their future, "I do see you as my wife. I see you as the mother of my kids."
Afterward, she accepted the final rose and they left together in a carriage.
During the "After the Final Rose" episode, Matt revealed that they are no longer together, due to issues stemming from her past racially insensitive behavior, like attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018.
He told Acho Emmanuel, "As Rachael acknowledged in her apology, there's a lot of work that needs to be done. I have to take a step back and allow her to put in that work."
While she admitted that she was "blindsided" by his decision to end their relationship, Rachael said, "For him to end things, he must've been very, very hurt by everything. It was hard because I lost the love of my life, but in the process of that, I hurt him while doing so."
Holding back tears, Kirkconnell admitted, "I love him so much and I always will. And I do feel like I finally do know what real love feels like."
When asked if there was anything he wanted to share to Kirkconnell, James took a long pause before saying, "The most disappointing thing for me was having to explain to you why what I saw was problematic and why I was so upset. And that's why it was problematic, because when I'm in a relationship, it means that I'm committed to that person — and commitment for me when I'm dating someone is on track to get married."
"And so when I questioned our relationship, it was on the context of you not fully understanding my Blackness and what it means to be a Black man in America. And what it would mean for our kids when I saw those things that were floating around the internet," Matt stressed. "It broke my heart, because this is the last conversation I thought we'd be having. I didn't sign up to have this conversation. And I knew that I had to take a step back for you to put in that work that you outlined that you needed to do. And that's something you gotta do on your own. And that's why we can't be in a relationship."
Following the episode, Rachael took to Instagram to reflect on life. She wrote, "Just when you think you found your way, life throws you onto a new path. it’s unpredictable, unexplainable, and things might not go the way you hoped for. 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."
Of her breakup with Matt, Rachael shared, "I respect his decision completely. of course i wish circumstances were different, but i still feel blessed for the time we did have together and the memories we made. i got to fall in love, and 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."
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Kirkconnell ended her post by stressing the importance of educating oneself, unlearning bias, and initiating change. She pointed out, "There are so many actions you can take, but i believe it starts within the small corners of your life, and having these conversations with those around you. it can’t happen overnight and will be a never-ending ride, but i encourage you to take the leap and make a difference. we can change the world, together. i love you all and here’s to new beginnings."