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Rachael Kirkconnell’s Racism and ‘Bachelor’ Controversy, Explained

Rachael Kirkconnell's Racism and 'Bachelor' Controversy, Explained

Matt James’s season of The Bachelor went from cute to controversial within the blink of an eye fixed. After a number of allegations about contestant Rachael Kirkconnell attending a Old South, antebellum-themed occasion surfaced on-line—in addition to disputed claims that she bullied individuals in highschool for liking Black males (the irony)—the present and its corresponding fandom have been shaken.

Between that cringey Chris Harrison interview (under), Rachael’s apology (under), Matt’s assertion (additionally under), and the contestants from Matt’s season standing collectively to name it out (you guessed it, under!), this drama is loads to course of. To ease the headache, please use this timeline as a information. Fasten your seatbelts—it’s a wild one.

January 4, 2021: Season 25 of The Bachelor premieres.

Following the premiere of Matt’s season, TikTook person @maddyybierster (who claims she went to highschool with Rachael) posts a video on the app and accuses Rachael of teasing her previously for liking Black males. “Girlieee, remember when you bullied me in high school for liking black guys???” the video reads, which exhibits footage of Rachael and Matt chatting with one another on night time one.

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The video goes viral, and Maddy is messaged by different individuals claiming additionally they skilled racist conduct and bullying from Rachael both in highschool or faculty.

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January 26, 2021: A TikTook person does a deep dive into Rachael’s social media accounts.

The allegations in opposition to Rachael don’t cease at bullying—TikTook person @feministmama comes via with receipts of Rachael’s regarding social media exercise. In the video, screenshots allegedly of Rachael’s account present cultural appropriation in photographs, Liking posts of Trump-supporting mates sporting MAGA hats, sharing harmful QAnon theories to her accounts, and extra.

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February 2, 2021: Matt addresses the allegations in opposition to Rachael for the primary time…kinda.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Matt says, “I have not spoken to anybody since the show ended, but I would say that you have to be really careful about what you are doing on social media. Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully [Rachael] will have her time to speak on that.”

Matt retains issues very obscure and provides, “There’s a lot of stuff going around about the women that were involved in the show. I would just give them a chance to kind of have their piece, whether that is someone who was gone night one or someone who went home last night. Everyone has a story, and I would just be receptive to that.”

February 4, 2021: Pictures emerge of Rachael at an Old South, antebellum-themed occasion.

Spoiler alert: The photos are fairly dangerous.

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A Reddit thread supplies further element about these photographs and claims Rachael attended the formal at Georgia College & State University, which was hosted by Kappa Alpha Order in 2018—two years after the fraternity’s board of administrators nationally canceled it.

Here is the fraternity board’s 2016 assertion on banning Old South events, in full:

“Chapters shall not sponsor functions with the name Old South or functions with any similar name. All functions and activities must be conducted with restraint and dignity and without trappings and symbols that might be misinterpreted and objectionable to the general public. All functions and activities shall be conducted in accordance with the regulations and policies of the institution where each chapter is located.”

February 10, 2021: Chris Harrison defends Rachael in an interview with Rachel Lindsay.

The allegations in opposition to Rachael proceed to be a sizzling matter in Bachelor Nation, so former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay organizes an interview through Extra with host Chris Harrison to debate them.

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Chris chooses to go on the protection—he doesn’t agree with viewers of the present calling out Rachael till her facet of the story is heard and argues that Rachael was merely having enjoyable at an occasion.

In his personal phrases:

“I haven’t talked to Rachael about it, and this is where we need to have a little grace…because I have seen some stuff online—this judge, jury, executioner thing—where they’re just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into her parents and her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this. I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet, and until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this? I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago, and that’s it.

“I’m not defending Rachael—I just know that 50 million people who did that in 2018. That was a type of party that a lot of people went to.

“My guess? These girls got dressed and went to a party and had a great time. They were 18 years old. Does that make it okay? I don’t know, Rachel, you tell me…but where is this lens we’re holding up and was that lens available and were we all looking through it in 2018?’

Chris also argues that The Bachelor franchise is not responsible for making a statement about the matter until Rachael does:

“It’s first on Rachael. I don’t think it is incumbent upon ‘The Bachelor’ franchise to speak out on everything that everyone wants to hear about on social media. We’re not in the business of dealing with every problem that you have. We don’t have the time of day to handle everything that people comes up with on social media. What I do think is interesting is that the show does push these social issues. On the ‘Women Tell All,’ we do get into it. Rachael was not there, but Rachael will have her time to speak and hopefully, I will be there to have that debate with her. I will push her. I will make it uncomfortable. I will try to hold her feet to the fire as much as I can and then you guys can be the judge and the jury…I don’t think the show needs to speak before Rachael does, that’s not fair.”

Meanwhile, Reality Steve says that Rachael is definitely being silenced by manufacturing and is being instructed to not say something publicly.

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February 11, 2021: Rachael makes a public apology for the photographs and her previous actions.

Rachael’s apology says:

“While there have been rumors circulating, there have additionally been truths which have come to mild that I would like to handle. I hear you, and I’m right here to say I used to be fallacious.

“At one level, I didn’t acknowledge how offensive and racist my actions have been, however that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it occurred doesn’t excuse something. They usually are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I used to be ignorant, however my ignorance was racist.

“I’m sorry to the communities and people that my actions harmed and offended. I’m ashamed about my lack of training, however it’s nobody’s accountability to teach me. I’m studying and will proceed to discover ways to be antiracist, as a result of it’s essential to talk up within the second and not after you’re known as out. If you’re a one that doesn’t perceive the offense in query, I urge you to study from my errors and encourage you to make use of them as a teachable second.

“As for my household, I really like them and how they raised me to be my very own particular person. They have all the time inspired me to have my very own views, opinions, and beliefs.

“As I used to be eager about what I needed to say, I couldn’t assist however take into consideration how sick individuals should be of studying these sorts of statements; how an individual didn’t notice the trauma that their actions would inflict on different individuals. It should get so exhausting. I need to put my power in the direction of stopping individuals from making the identical offensive errors that I made within the first place, and I hope I can show this to you shifting ahead.

“Racial progress and unity are inconceivable with out (white) accountability, and I should be held accountable for my actions. I’ll by no means develop until I acknowledge what I’ve completed is fallacious. I don’t suppose one apology signifies that I deserve your forgiveness, however slightly I hope I can earn your forgiveness via my future actions.”

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Also on February 11: Matt’s Bachelor contestants step ahead.

Michelle Young, a present contestant on Matt James’s season of The Bachelor, posts a press release in regards to the Rachael drama on behalf of the ladies who’ve participated (or are at present taking part) in season 25.

“We are the women of Bachelor Season 25. Twenty-five women who identify as BIPOC were cast on this historic season that was meant to represent change,” the assertion reads. “We are deeply disappointed and want to make it clear that we denounce any defense of racism. Any defense of racist behavior denies the lived and continued experiences of BIPOC individuals. These experiences are not to be exploited or tokenized.”

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The assertion continues, “Rachel Lindsay continues to advocate with ‘grace’ from individuals who identify as BIPOC within this franchise. Just because she is the loudest, doesn’t mean she is alone. We stand with her, we hear her, and we advocate for change alongside her.”

February 13, 2021: Chris Harrison proclaims he’ll be “stepping aside” from The Bachelor franchise.

Chris apologizes for the issues he stated throughout his interview with Rachel and writes a prolonged Instagram assertion to formally announce his departure.

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Read the complete assertion under:

“I set standards for myself, and have to meet them. I feel that with every fiber of my being. Now just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same. By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong.

“To the Black community, to the BIPOC community: I am so sorry. My words were harmful. I am listening, and I truly apologize for my ignorance and any pain it caused you,” he added. “I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the people from these communities who I’ve had enlightening conversations with over the past few days, and I am so grateful to those who have reached out to help me on my path to anti-racism.

“The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special.

“I want to ensure our cast and crew members, to my friends, colleagues and our fans: this is not just a moment, but a commitment to much greater understanding that I will actively make every day. From here I can only try to evolve and be a better man, and I humble myself before all of you. I hope I will again live up to the expectations you all rightfully have for me and the expectations I have for myself.”

February 15, 2021: Rachel Lindsay speaks out after Chris Harrison ”steps apart.”

Rachel discusses her interview with Chris Harrison on Extra. She says she didn’t essentially need Chris to be eliminated however slightly desires The Bachelor franchise as a complete to debate tough points as an alternative of making an attempt to brush them underneath the rug.

“It was never my intention to see Chris Harrison step aside, but it was my intention for others to hear and see this interview,” she says. “It’s important to further and highlight these types of discussions. The only way to do that is to have these uncomfortable conversations, so we can understand the underlying issues and implicit racism that exists within our society.”

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“When we can learn to recognize implicit and unconscious bias that history or our environments have taught us, then we can challenge one another to be better for ourselves but also for this society,” Rachel provides. “Let’s not label, let’s not cancel, but let’s hold people accountable for their actions. Let’s set the example in this generation so that we don’t repeat the horrific mistakes from the past, and so we can unify and be the change that this country needs to make this society better for the next generation.”

February 22, 2021: Matt speaks out once more.

Matt releases a brand new assertion in mild of Chris’s interview with Rachel, explaining the place his head is at proper now.

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It reads:

“The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life, and while there are several episodes left of the season, it is important that I take the time to address the troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming, including the incredibly disappointing photos of Rachael Kirkconnell and the interview between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison. The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real time, and it has been devastating and heartbreaking to put it bluntly. Chris’s failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch. As Black people and allies immediately knew and understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years.

“This moment has sparked critical conversations and reporting, raised important questions, and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor nation. It has also pushed me to reevaluate and process what my experience on The Bachelor represents, not just for me, but for all the contestants of color, especially the Black contestants of this season and seasons past, and for you, the viewers at home.

“I will continue to process this experience, and you will hear more from me in the end. My greatest prayer is that this is an inflection point that results in real and institutional change for the better.”

February 26, 2021: Rachael asks fans to stop defending her.

While several Rachael fans continue to defend her and claim she’s done nothing wrong, Rachael posts a seven-minute long video to her Instagram to ask her followers to stop.

In her statement, via People, Rachael says that she—and other white people—need to take responsibility for their actions, past and present: “I think that the first big step in all of this is white people stepping up and taking accountability. Things will never change if we don’t all work together in working toward this racial progress and this unity that we want.”

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After the antebellum photos got here to mild, Rachael says she now understands that she will be able to’t be “sitting aside and hiding in the corner and, you know, avoid being called performative—that doesn’t help anyone or anything.” Furthering her level, Rachael says she want to “use my privilege and my platform, that I so do not deserve, just to shine a light on these issues and try and do what I can to you know take a step in the right direction.”

Rachael ends her video with a message to those that are nonetheless defending her actions and says:

“If you are in my comments or defending me anywhere telling people that I did nothing wrong, that there’s nothing to be hurt about, there’s nothing to be angry about or offended about, please stop. That’s not our place to tell people what they can and can’t be offended about. That’s wrong and that’s part of the problem.”

February 27, 2021: Rachel Lindsay deletes her Instagram after getting hate from Bachelor followers.

In a tragic replace, Rachel Lindsay has to delete her Instagram fully as a result of trolls are hopping into her feedback and harassing her within the wake of her interview with Chris Harrison.

“Rachel Lindsay disabled her Instagram earlier today,” Rachel’s good friend and cohost of their Higher Learning podcast Van Lathan explains in an Instagram video. “She did it because that’s how much hate she’s getting from Bachelor fans who are spamming her with all kinds of rude and hateful things.”

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February 28, 2021: The Bachelor proclaims Emmanuel Acho will exchange Chris Harrison for “After the Final Rose”

With rumors of who will exchange Chris Harrison completely (if in any respect) nonetheless circling, The Bachelor makes one definitive choice: Chris Harrison will *not* host “After the Final Rose.” Instead, that honor goes to Emmanuel Acho.

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Acho will communicate with Matt James and the ultimate three contestants: Michelle Young, Bri Springs, and sure, Rachael Kirkconnell.

March 4, 2021: Chris Harrison points an apology on Good Morning America.

Chris sits down with GMA host Michael Strahan and points one other apology for defending Rachael Kirkconnel and says that he’s doing the work to grow to be extra educated about race points.

“I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay,” Chris says. “I can’t believe I didn’t speak against antebellum parties, what they stand for. I didn’t say it then and I want to say it now: Those parties are not okay—past, present, future. And I didn’t speak from my heart. And that is to say that I stand against all forms of racism, and I am deeply sorry to Rachel Lindsay and to the Black community.”

Chris additionally asks individuals on the web to cease bullying Rachel, who just lately deleted her Instagram after receiving backlash from her and Chris’s Extra interview. “To anyone who is throwing hate toward Rachel Lindsay, please stop,” he provides. “It’s unacceptable.”

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Chris addresses the query that’s on everybody’s thoughts—will he be returning to The Bachelor franchise? It’s trying like a strong sure. “I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change. I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others. And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress…This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change.”

After the interview was over, Michael Strahan says that Chris’s “apology is his apology, but it felt like it got nothing more than a surface response on any of this. Obviously, he is the man who wants to clearly stay on the show, but only time will tell if there is any meaning behind his words.”

March 13, 2021: Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams are introduced because the hosts of The Bachelorette.

In a press release from Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment, it’s introduced that Chris Harrison is not going to be the host for the upcoming season of The Bachelorette—Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams will probably be taking up the job!

“We support Chris in the work that he is committed to doing. In his absence, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will support the new Bachelorette through next season,” Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment’s assertion reads. “As we continue the dialogue around achieving greater equity and inclusion within The Bachelor franchise, we are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks. These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.”

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March 15, 2021: The finale of The Bachelor airs and Matt chooses Rachael.

During the finale of the present, Matt chooses Rachael and says goodbye to Michelle. Important to notice: This controversy hadn’t unfolded when Matt made his choice, so he didn’t know in regards to the allegations.

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Also March 15, 2021: Matt and Rachael each discuss what occurred on “After the Final Rose.”

During “After the Final Rose” with Emmanuel Acho, Rachael and Matt reunite, however first Michelle Young takes the stage and speaks up about her tackle the controversy:

“As more and more information started to come out, I started to feel hurt by what I was seeing. That was a prime example of not understanding the history behind it…I feel like Rachael has a good heart, I do. But I think there’s a lot of learning. It comes off very inconsiderate.”

Matt reveals he and Rachael have certainly damaged up within the wake of the photographs popping out and they’re now not relationship, saying he initially “tried to be there” for Rachael when posts about her hit social media. “You hear things that are heartbreaking and you just pray they’re not true,” he says. “And when you find out that they are it just makes you question everything.”

“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,” he provides.

Before he and Rachael sit with one another for the primary time since their breakup, Emmanuel asks Rachael what she sees when she appears to be like on the photographs of herself on the antebellum-themed party.

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“I see someone who was living in this ignorance without even thinking about who it would be hurting,” she says. “You know, I never once asked myself at any point, what’s the tradition behind this, what does this represent, why do we wear those dresses? I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t know any better, because I could have easily asked myself those questions. I never took the time to make that connection.”

Rachael explains she doesn’t blame anybody for her ignorance however herself, saying, “People need to realize that just saying, ‘This is normal where I came from’ or ‘This is common where I came from,’ that doesn’t make it alright. That doesn’t make it okay.”

Matt and Rachael then sit collectively for the primary time since their break up and have a painful dialogue.

“I just want to take the time to say I’m really sorry,” Rachael begins. “I really tried to put myself into your shoes as much as I could. I really do think that our relationship was very strong and the love that we shared was very real, so for you to end things I realize that must’ve been really hard for you as well, to where you must have been hurting. And I just want to say I’m really sorry for not understanding that initially. And that I’m really sorry that I hurt you.”

Matt listens to Rachael earlier than replying to a query from Emmanuel about how he feels now: “It’s heartbreaking and it’s devastating. It’s just disappointing.” Emmanuel then factors out to Matt, “There’s so much more on your heart. I can see it in your eyes. What else do you want to share with her?”

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In response, Matt explains, “The most disappointing thing for me was having to explain to you why what I saw was problematic and why I was so upset.” He provides that when he questioned the connection, “it was in 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.” Ultimately, Matt says they “can’t be in a relationship” as a result of the work Rachael must do must be completed alone.

In response, Rachael says she doesn’t “see anyone else out there for me,” which prompts Emmanuel to ask if the door is open for reconciliation. And whereas Matt does say, “The feelings that I had for you don’t go away overnight,” he additionally says he doesn’t need to be liable for Rachael’s tears as a result of “the work and the reconciliation that needs to be done is work I can’t do for you.”

Emmanuel asks Rachael what she’d like to inform Matt then if she by no means sees him once more, and she says, “Since day one, all I want is for you to be happy and I just want what’s best for you and I am sorry. I just, I thank God for ever putting you in my life to begin with and I’ll always be thankful for, you know, everything that we shared in the time that we did have together.”

Matt and Rachael then deny a chance to hug, with Matt merely saying, “I don’t know if it’ll ever not hurt hearing those things.”

March 17, 2021: Trolls goal Matt on-line and Rachael urges her supporters to cease attacking him.

Following the “After the Final Rose” particular, Matt is the topic of racist backlash on-line for ending issues which Rachael. This prompts Rachael to makes a press release on her Instagram Stories telling her followers to cease with the bullying.

“I am taken aback by what I’ve seen tonight. If you think that attacking a person I care about with racist insults is what I would ever want, you haven’t been listening,” Rachael writes. “Some of the things I’ve seen being said to and about Matt are repulsive. I respect the decisions that Matt has had to make during this experience. If you are directing hate toward him, please stop. Recognize someone’s humanity and think about the impact your words have.”

Instagram

March 19, 2021: Matt goes quiet on Instagram after posting a cryptic tweet.

In the wake of his Bachelor season, Matt is cleaning his timeline. The former Bachelor deletes each Instagram picture on his account after posting this tweet:

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It’s unclear what Matt means, however his followers are arising with theories. Apparently, March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in accordance with the UN. It’s celebrated on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened hearth and killed 69 individuals at a peaceable demonstration in opposition to apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.

TBD whether or not Matt’s going to make use of tomorrow to talk out or if it’s a memorable day for an additional purpose. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, Matt’s older brother, John, hops on Higher Learning With Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay and says Matt is “in a good place.” John provides that Matt is “going through a detox phase of all the stuff that he was dealing with ABC and being in the spotlight and doing interviews.”

March 25, 2021: Matt reactivates his Instagram, however his Bachelor posts are gone.

Matt is again on IG, as evidenced by his now-populated feed:

Instagram

But Reddit customers level out that Matt’s posts about The Bachelor seem like both completely deleted or archived.

April 7, 2021: Matt and Rachael are noticed collectively in public as Reality Steve offers an replace on their relationship.

In information no person noticed coming, Matt and Rachael are noticed out collectively on a stroll and followers snap an image, prompting corners of the web that care about The Bachelor to spiral arduous.

On high of this, Reality Steve hops on Twitter to say Matt and Rachael absolutely aren’t over, writing: “It’s been a while, but here’s some news: Matt and Rachael? Yeah, they’re not over. They’re currently in New York together. FYI.”

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April 9, 2021: Rachael’s hopes of getting again along with Matt are crushed.

Us Weekly studies that Matt really isn’t relationship Rachael in the mean time and that “there seems to just be a big miscommunication between them” amid hypothesis he’s relationship somebody new. A separate supply tells the outlet that Matt was “talking to another girl” when Rachael visited him in New York City…which kinda crushed her hopes of the 2 of them formally getting again collectively.

“Rachael is very emotional right now because she was very hopeful that things were going to work out. She’s still trying to process this,” the second supply tells Us, including that it “doesn’t seem like they will be getting back together.”

“They wanted to keep it a secret, but they got caught walking around the city,” the second continues, confirming studies that Rachael did certainly spend time at Matt’s condo. “He flew her to NYC. They’ve been working on their relationship privately over the past few months and taking the next steps to get back together. They spoke and FaceTimed daily.”

But regardless of staying in communication with Rachael, “Matt was not looking for a romantic relationship with Rachael after he ended it with her. He’s tried to make it clear to her that he just wants to be friends and support one another as they both have gone through this journey together,” the supply says. “Matt is a caring and supportive person, so he wouldn’t just block her out of his life completely.”

April 19, 2021: Matt and Rachael fully fall out of contact with one another.

“Rachael and Matt are on non-speaking terms after she learned about him lying about being in communication with another girl,” a supply tells Us Weekly. “He was in Atlanta this weekend, which is less than an hour away from where Rachael resides, and he has not reached out to her to make amends or apologize. As far as she’s concerned, what they had is in the past now.”

April 26, 2021: Matt and Rachael reunite…once more.

Despite there being a whole drama brewing due to a lady named Grace Amerling who claims she was speaking to Matt whereas he was spending time with Rachael in NYC, Matt and Rachael find yourself spending time collectively in Los Angeles. TMZ has the pics, and whereas they aren’t holding fingers or partaking in some PDA, it’s undoubtedly one thing.

April 28, 2021: Matt confirms he is “pursuing” a relationship with Rachael.

Welp, appears to be like just like the speculations of “are they?” or “aren’t they?” can formally come to an finish, as a result of Matt simply low-key confirmed that he really has been seeing Rachael. He spills the beans in an interview with People and says “I’ve seen Rachael a handful of times,” and provides that he is “not pursuing any relationships right now outside of that. I said I was going to focus on my relationship with her and that means focusing on it.” Reminder: This is not a affirmation that Matt and Rachael are relationship once more, however…it is fairly darn shut.

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