March 16, 2021 • bachelor insider
Relive the Most Shocking Moments from Matt James' 'Bachelor' Finale and 'After the Final Rose' Special
That was a wild one, Bachelor Nation!
Matt James’ journey as the Season 25 Bachelor came to a dramatic conclusion on Monday night’s finale and “After the Final Rose” special. From the handsome lead’s heart-wrenching breakup with runner-up Michelle Young to a double Bachelorette announcement on “AFR,” BachelorNation.com rounds up the six most shocking moments.
Matt James Breaks Up with Michelle Young
After their final adrenaline-pumping date rappelling down the side of a chateau at Pennsylvania’s Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Matt dropped a bomb on Michelle. Fans were stunned when he told the gorgeous schoolteacher that he had doubts about their relationship. In an emotional exchange, the New York City-based real estate broker told Michelle that he couldn't see a future with her.
Matt James Gives Rachael Kirkconnell His Final Rose
Although he admitted to Rachael Kirkconnell that he wasn’t ready to propose, Matt still handed his final rose to the stunning graphic designer. The Bachelor told Rachael that he didn’t want to lose her and wanted to leave Pennsylvania as a couple.
“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 building on what we started here,” Matt told Rachael. “And the truth is that I love you. I’m in love with you and I do see you as my wife, the mother of my kids. I just want to make sure my love is enough for you.”
Matt James & Michelle Young Reunite at 'After the Final Rose'
Matt and Michelle hadn’t seen each other since their tearful goodbye. When they eventually reunited during the “After the Final Rose” taping — hosted by Emmanuel Acho — the pair had a chance to find out what led to the demise of their romance.
“The moment you left, I completely crumbled. I had to walk away without closure and I had to fill in the gaps of what our relationship really was. And I wasn’t OK. I wasn’t OK at all,” Michelle told Matt, revealing that he rejected her request to have a conversation to get “closure” and “inner peace” shortly after their split.
“I just want to say that I’m sorry you were going through that,” he replied. “There’s no justification for why I didn’t have that conversation, and if I had known that this is how you were feeling in that moment, then I would have fought to have that conversation.”
Emmanuel Acho Questions Rachael Kirkconnell About Her Actions
Emmanuel addressed the elephant in the room: Rachael’s past racist social media activity, including unearthed photos showing her dressed in antebellum attire at an “Old South”-themed college party in 2018 prior to coming on the show.
“I don’t want to sit here and blame my upbringing or where I grew up, the location of it, being raised in the South,” she said, apologizing and telling the “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” author that she wants to take accountability for her problematic behavior. “In my eyes, there’s no excuse.”
Matt James Explains Why He Can't Be with Rachael Kirkconnell
Matt and Rachel reunited at “AFR” following their controversial breakup. The franchise star explained how the scandal impacted his decision to call it quits with his final rose recipient.
“When I questioned our relationship, it was in the context of you not fully understanding my Blackness and what it means to be a Black man in America,” Matt told Rachael directly during the finale special. “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.”
Michelle Young & Katie Thurston Are Announced as the Next Bachelorettes
At the end of “AFR,” it was announced that “Bachelor” Season 25 standouts Katie Thurston and Michelle will lead Seasons 17 and 18 of “The Bachelorette,” respectively. While Katie’s cycle will air this summer, Michelle’s will premiere in the fall.
“I’m ready to find love and not just the temporary kind. I’m talking forever, my husband,” Katie told Emmanuel. “I’m in a place in my life where I feel like I’m the best version of me. Honestly, I’ve seen it work before. Why can’t it work for me?”
Added Michelle, “I am ready. And like Katie said, I really do think that this process works. You can set down all these outside distractions and really dive in. I think you can learn a lot about somebody. I’m just excited. I’m ready to get started.”
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