Bachelor viewers weren’t the only ones surprised to learn that Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell had already called it quits. Season 25 finalist Bri Springs spoke exclusively to Us Weekly after the Monday, March 15, finale, revealing that she has mixed feelings about the pair going their separate ways.
“It seemed like a really tense conversation between Matt and Rachael,” the 25-year-old said on Us’ “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast as she discussed the pair’s After the Final Rose appearance. “First and foremost, I’m extremely happy that Michelle [Young] got the closure that she needed because I think it was important for all of us too to get that. And I was surprised to see the conversation between Matt and Rachel play out. On one hand, I sympathize with Matt, because as a Black woman and having been in interracial relationships in the past, I understand how that can seem daunting and defeating to have to kind of navigate through that with another partner.”
Bri, who was sent home by Matt after the fantasy suite dates, added that she can “also sympathize with Rachael,” who came under fire for her past racially insensitive actions while the season was airing.
“I know how hard it was for me to get on that stage and speak my truth and share my side of things,” Bri said, confirming that she was edited out of the After the Final Rose special. “And I think she handled it really well. And the conversations that she had were extremely important.”
Matt confirmed during Monday’s special that he broke up with Rachael after difficult conversations about her past.
“I was surprised. Because I think to all of us as viewers, they seemed very, very much in love,” Bri told Us. “But again, there are two sides to every coin. We did obviously didn’t see behind-the-scenes of what Matt was struggling with. And that’s why I’m saying I can sympathize with him and say how, you know, I could see it being defeating. But, you know, I think they both did what was best for each other.”
Something else that caught Bri off-guard was Matt’s decision not to propose to Rachael pre-scandal.
“I walked away from it saying, ‘Matt is ready for an engagement and he’s assured me that he’s ready.’ And then come to find out he actually is not,” Bri said. “And I can totally see how you find yourself in a position coming on to the show saying you’re open to an engagement, you’re opening to see where this takes you and then you’re caught in a bubble and you’re caught up in this, like, fantasy world. And it all hits you at one point, like, ‘Wait, am I ready for this? Or is this just a bubble?’ And I think we kind of saw Matt literally have that experience during filming of ‘Well, I mean, I’ve never been in a relationship before. Am I actually ready for this?’”