They’re really trying. Just days after Matt James said he’s “focusing” on his relationship with Rachael Kirkconnell, the on-again, off-again couple were spotted holding hands and enjoying a spa day in New York City.
The former Bachelor star, 29, and graphic designer, 24, held hands on Tuesday, May 4, as they strolled through NYC, in photographs obtained by TMZ. The next day, the pair headed to Glosslab for manicures and pedicures, as documented on the salon’s Instagram Stories.
In the first photo, the duo sat next to each other and flashed peace signs in front of a mural that included portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Beyoncé. “Couples that get pedis together, stay together,” the salon captioned the image.
The second post showed Kirkconnell, dressed casually in a white hoodie, waiting for a smiling James as he got the finishing touches put on his manicure.
The Wake Forest alum chose the Georgia native as the winner of his Bachelor season, which aired earlier this year, but during the March After the Final Rose special, he revealed that they had broken up once filming ended because of Kirkconnell’s racially charged Instagram posts.
Since then, the exes have hung out a handful of times, including once in April when Kirkconnell was visiting friends in NYC and asked to meet with James. “I think she’s taking all the steps necessary for him to eventually take her back, but he’s made it clear that he still needs space and doesn’t want to be in a relationship,” a source told Us Weekly at the time. “He just wants to focus on his projects and his work in the community.”
That reconciliation fell apart, though, when a woman named Grace claimed that she had also been talking to James during that week. A source later told Us that the duo were on “non-speaking terms” following the Grace drama, but within days, they were spotted together in Santa Monica.
“It’s true they have been in Cali together and have been staying at a friend’s house,” an insider told Us of that April 24 outing. “Matt felt bad about what happened between him and Rachael and so he reached out to her saying he wanted to see her.”
Whatever he said seems to have done the trick, the insider added. “Rachael wanted to hear him out, and since then they’ve had a chance to talk about it and work it out,” the source explained. “Her feelings hadn’t gone away overnight. She’s giving him another chance.”
James said on ATFR that he felt Kirkconnell still had lots of work to do when it came to learning about antiracism, but the twosome are seemingly moving past their issues.
“I think the best way to put it is that we can have critical conversations about being in this relationship and what I need in a partner — especially if that woman isn’t Black — to understand what comes with me and my life and being Black,” he said in a WSJ. Magazine profile published on Wednesday, May 5.
“It’s on people who care about being allies to do the work to be truly antiracist,” he continued. “And I think it’s unfair to leave people without the ability to unlearn and be better.”