James tweeted on Tuesday, March 16, the day after The Bachelor final that he was googling for a therapist near him.
✍🏾 Google ✍🏾 Therapist ✍🏾 Near me— Matt James (@mattjames919) March 16, 2021
The finale episode saw James give his final rose to Rachael Kirkconnell only for it to emerge in the After The Final Rose special that they had broken up. This came after old photos and social media posts of Kirkconnell, such as a picture of her at an antebellum-themed party in 2018, resurfaced as the season was airing.
"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," James told Kirkconnell on the special.
"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. And what it would mean for our kids when I saw those things that were floating around the internet. And it broke my heart because this is the last conversation I thought we'd be having."
"This was supposed to be a monumental season, and one of the biggest disappointments has been the overshadowing of these beautiful women and their stories," Kirkconnell wrote on Instagram after.
"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," she continued. "While i never expected this outcome, 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."
She added that she hoped the episode would open people's minds to "unlearning bias, to educating yourself, and gives you the push to initiate change."
Kirkconnell previously apologized for her "racist" and "offensive" actions and promised to use her platform to share anti-racism resources.
The After The Final Rose special was hosted by Emmanuel Acho after Chris Harrison temporarily stepped back from the show when his initial response to Kirkconnell’s scandal caused "harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry."
"Basically the franchise is without a host at the moment although Chris Harrison is fighting to save his job. It is not unusual for Chris to turn up a week after the cast members arrive," a source told OK! as season 26 of The Bachelor has started pre-production.
"With the magic of TV, they don’t always shoot the show in chronological order. Just because the first thing the audience gets to see is Chris and the Bachelor or Bachelorette talking before the limo’s start arriving, it doesn’t mean that they shoot that first," the insider explained. "While the show still works out what to do with Chris, they can shoot an amazing amount of the show without him."