The Bachelor star Rachael Kirkconnell is speaking out following her and Matt James' breakup. While Kirkconnell ultimately received the final rose in Monday night's Bachelor season finale, James revealed during the After the Final Rose special that he ended things with Kirkconnell in the wake of her resurfaced and racially insensitive photos from 2018. Hours later, Kirkconnell broke her silence on the end of their relationship.
Taking to Instagram shortly after James explained why the relationship ultimately ended, Kirkconnell, sharing a series of photos from her time on the ABC dating competition, admitted life is "unpredictable, unexplainable, and things might not go the way you hoped for." She wrote that while she wishes "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." Kirkconnell went on to write she "never expected this outcome," calling James "the love of my life."
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"i knew from the first night i met matt that he was something special, and i was praying to share something exceptional between the two of us if that's what was meant to be. while i never expected this outcome, i respect his decision completely," she shared. "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."
Kirkconnell said she hopes the drama that went down on After the Final Rose "sparks conversations and a level of understanding" and "opens your mind to unlearning bias, to educating yourself, and gives you the push to initiate change." Kirkconnell, who found herself wading controversy after she shared photos of an antebellum plantation-themed college party she attended, said she believes "it starts within the small corners of your life, and having these conversations with those around you," adding that "it can't happen overnight and will be a never-ending ride."
During Monday night's After the Rose special, James revealed that the first few weeks after cameras stopped filming were like "an extended honeymoon period" for himself and Kirkconnell, though things grew more complicated after her photos resurfaced. James said that has "to take a step back and allow her to put in that work," adding that "it's heartbreaking."