Matt James Spills Huge Secret About ‘After the Final Rose’

Rachael Kirkconnell, Matt James.

Getty Images Matt James just revealed what really happened at ATFR.

Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell met and fell in love on “The Bachelor,” but didn’t end up getting engaged on the finale.

In the weeks after filming wrapped, Kirkconnell was faced with controversy when photos of her at a 2018 Old South ball hit the internet, and she was accused of being racist. Many people figured that James would break things off with Kirkconnell after seeing the photos, and that’s pretty much what people were led to believe happened while watching “After the Final Rose.”

James and Kirkconnell had a very tense, emotional conversation that was facilitated by host Emmanuel Acho. Just about every “Bachelor” fan figured that James and Kirkconnell were over — but the two ended up stepping out together after the show aired — and their relationship has been in full swing ever since.

On April 26, 2022, James sat down with Ashley Iaconetti and Ben Higgins on the “Almost Famous” podcast. During the interview, James opened up about his relationship with Kirkconnell — and gave fans some insight into what they didn’t see during ATFR.

Here’s what you need to know:

James Said He & Kirkconnell Are Doing Well

Higgins asked James how things have been going with Kirkconnell, and James responded that “it’s been incredible.”

James said that he and Kirkconnell have a “really strong foundation” and they’ve been able to “grow” on their own time at their own pace.

“We just do our own thing, and it’s just been so liberating,” he continued. “We do practically everything together, which allows us to spend a lot of time together. And just get to know each other on a more personal level,” he added.

Kirkconnell recently accompanied James in Massachusetts where he competed in the Boston Marathon.

“Hey you! i love you & I’m SO proud of you,” Kirkconnell captioned a photo of her and James. “This man is currently in the middle of the Boston marathon running for @theuso and he is crushing it. please pray for him & all the runners for their safety, strength, and encouragement,” she wrote. She later added an update, letting fans know that James “crushed” his goal and “set a personal record.”

In February 2022, the couple took a romantic trip to Italy together.

James Said He & Kirkconnell Left ATFR ‘Hand-in-Hand’

“I do have one question that lingers. And that was, us coming here to this podcast, after your finale. You know, the live show. We all said, ‘no way that they have a future,'” Iaconetti said. “How did you get over that hump, and how did you do it so fast?” she asked.

“What you didn’t see on the ‘Final Rose’ was that we left the stage hand-in-hand,” James said. Iaconetti gasped when James shared that tidbit.

“We weren’t speaking [before the show],” James admitted. “When we both went out there…there’s not a lot of room for… you have to stick to the script. There wasn’t a lot that we could have discussed that would have progressed our relationship,” he explained.

At that point, James said that he and Kirkconnell had to appease producers and do “what the show wanted.”

“We were done giving control of our narrative and lives to be exploited, for the most part,” James said, adding that they “had enough” at that point.

From there, he and Kirkconnell said they felt “at rest” after the show. The two ended up working things out and recently celebrated their one year anniversary.

READ NEXT: Does Matt James Regret How He Treated Rachael Kirkconnell on ‘ATFR’?

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