'The Bachelor': Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell's Love Story Plays Out Amid Her Racism Controversy

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Matt James Rachel Kirkconnell The Bachelor
ABC

Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell are continuing to fall in love on The Bachelor. Amid Rachael's ongoing racism controversy, her love story with Matt is still playing out on TV.

Kirkconnell's past actions came to light in January, when a TikTok user accused the early front-runner of previously bullying her for dating Black men. Then, another user accused Kirkconnell of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of Kirkconnell at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college. Kirkconnell has since apologized and asked people to stop defending her actions.

After encouraging people to offer Rachael "grace" in an interview with Rachel LindsayBachelor host Chris Harrison decided to step aside from the franchise "for a period of time." He has since apologized for his comments and said that he plans to return to his hosting duties.

Monday's episode of the reality series showed Rachael breaking down over the Fantasy Suite dates, crying when Michelle and Bri returned from their overnights, and telling Matt that it's been "unbearable" and "the hardest week" of her life.

"I picture you as my future husband, I know you know that. When I picture you as that person for me and then knowing that you're spending really intimate time with other people, I really didn’t think I’d get through this week, honestly," Rachael told Matt during their ceramics date. "It was the lowest I’ve felt."

"I get it. I know you have to do what you have to do. But I've been getting in my mind thinking if your mind's changed about how you feel for me and everything," she added. "If you don't see that future with me at this point, I just don’t know how I’d be able to handle losing you."

Matt said that, while there's "no easy way" to handle the situation, he thinks the process is "necessary" to get to an engagement. He also assured Rachael that "when I'm with you, you're all I think about," before bringing up their skydiving date, which ended with a scary incident when Rachael took a hard landing.

"That scared me. I don't like to take myself to a dark place, but I did when I saw you hit the ground. It freaked me out. When I saw you land there, I wanted you to be OK," he said. "That was really the first time I was like, 'What would life be like without Rachael?'"

"I'm only going to say things that I mean, and do things that I mean and feel, and I'm going to continue to show you how I feel about you," he added. "Where I'm at with you is that I'm falling in love with you."

"I'm head over heels for you," she responded. "I'm completely in love with you."

The date continued well from there, with the pair discussing Matt's commitment fears and issues with his dad, before heading to the Fantasy Suite.

"I am 100 percent, completely ready for that if you give us that chance. I am ready to take on life with you and whatever it throws our way," Rachael told Matt, to which he responded, "Same."

"She continues to blow me away," Matt told the cameras. "She’s smart, beautiful, she’s articulate, she’s sexy. Everything she embodies, it’s incredible. I’m falling for Rachael and I want to continue to show Rachael how much I care about her."

At the rose ceremony, Matt chose to move forward with Rachael and Michelle, sending Bri home. Next week's preview shows Matt having difficult conversations with his mom, and, like both of the women who remain, breaking down emotionally over the choice he must now make.

The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC.

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