'The Bachelor' Finale: Matt James Chooses Rachael Kirkconnell But Does Not Propose

The couple's happy ending on the show comes amid her ongoing racism controversy.

Matt James has handed out his final rose! In the final moments of Monday's Bachelor finale, Matt professed his love for Rachael Kirkconnell, though he did not get down on one knee.

Matt sent his runner-up, Michelle Young, home prior to his last date with Rachael, despite Michelle's positive meeting with his family. Rachael's family introduction likewise went well, but after Matt's breakup with Michelle, his future with Rachael seemed questionable too, as he opted to cancel his final date with her.

The breakup and the date cancelation came amid Matt's growing concern that he wasn't ready to get engaged, due to past experiences related to his parents' relationship.

After learning there'd be no final date, Rachael was emotional, saying she felt "hurt, confused... [and] pretty in the dark," and adding that it was a "blindsiding" move on Matt's part.

"Obviously he's having doubts," she said. "... It just hurts."

Despite cancelling the date, Matt moved forward with his meeting with Neil Lane and selected an engagement ring.

"There's a lot of weight in this. This is more than just a ring. To me it represents what my father couldn't give to my mother. It represents a lot of broken promises," he said. "If I put this ring on Rachael's finger, I wouldn't ever want it to come off. Tomorrow's a big day and I'm just thinking to myself, 'Am I ready?' I don't know."

Rachael admitted to feeling "scared" and "confused" the day after her missed date with Matt, adding that she was worried he'd "made up his mind and it's just not me."

A date card arrived then, though, which invited Rachael to the lake to give her "answers." While waiting for Rachael to arrive, Matt said he was "nervous" and still had "some uncertainties," before adding, "I love Rachael. The more I say it, the more assured I am in that feeling."

"I'm about to walk into the biggest moment of my life. It's gonna be the most difficult decision I've ever made. I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know what I'm going to say to her," he said. "I have this beautiful diamond ring in my pocket... but is that something that we're ready for? I don't know. Is love enough?"

Rachael showed up to the lake "really nervous" about not knowing where Matt's "head's at," and prepared to either have "one of the best conversations of my life or one of the worst."

The pair hugged after Rachael, wearing a backless, emerald sequined dress, made her way up to him.

"I imagined how it would feel, standing here before you like this, and then yesterday happened and it changed everything," she said. "I hated going into today on that note, but I hated, hated, more than anything, the thought of you hurting and you being confused, and you not wanting to see me. I want to be there for you when you're hurting, and when you're hurting, I'm hurting. I don't know what happened yesterday, but I do know, I'm not gonna run just when it gets tough. I don't know if you still want this, but, regardless, I feel so unbelievably lucky just to have felt what I have felt for you."

"I've never felt a love like this in my entire life, and at the end of the day, I just want you to be happy," she continued. "But I just know with all my heart that I love you, and I will choose you every day from here on out if you'll let me."

Matt came next, saying, "everything that I came here looking for, I found with you."

"I wanna be everything to you. I wanna be everything for you that my dad wasn't to my mom. As I'm wrestling with what I'm gonna do today, the easy thing for me to do would be to brush those feelings and emotions off and make you happy, and that's to propose to you today," he said. "But I couldn't live with myself if I put you through what my mom's been through. I've seen what rushing into a proposal, a marriage, can do in my family, and it's ugly, and it's not something that I want for you or for us. That's why I can't propose to you today."

"That doesn't mean I wanna lose you. When I think about the life I wanna live, I think about living that life with you," he said. "I wanna leave here with you, and I wanna commit to you and to every day building on what we started here. The truth is that I love you. I'm in love with you, and I do see you as my wife. I see you as the mother of my kids. I see those kids being crazy. I just wanna make sure my love is enough for you."

"Of course it is," she responded. "You are the most amazing person that I've ever met in my entire life. I really do picture our life together after this. I picture it all with you."

The couple's happy ending on the show comes amid current controversy, though. Rachael came under fire in January when her past actions came to light. First, a TikTok user accused the early front-runner of previously bullying her for dating Black men. Then, another user accused Rachael of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of her at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college.

Rachael has since apologized and asked people to stop defending her actions. Chris Harrison, the show's host, found himself involved in the scandal too, when he defended Rachael in an interview with Rachel Lindsay, encouraging people to offer her "grace," and speaking out against the "woke police." Harrison has also apologized and expressed his want to return to the franchise after deciding to step aside "for a period of time."

As for Matt, when Rachael's past actions became public knowledge, he called her photos "incredibly disappointing," and said that the situation had been "devastating and heartbreaking."

Since the scandal broke after the events of the Bachelor finale, fans will have to watch After the Final Rose to see if Matt and Rachael are still together.

Follow along with ET's coverage of the Bachelor finale and the After the Final Rose special here.