Bachelor Nation is still reeling from Matt James’ season of The Bachelor and its disappointing conclusion, which saw Matt split from his final pick Rachael Kirkconnell. The breakup came after photos of her attending an antebellum-themed plantation party and dressing in Native American costume (taken during different events in 2018) went viral in February 2021. Now Matt’s best friend Tyler Cameron is weighing in on Rachael and her brief relationship with the Bachelor lead.
When asked about Matt’s stint as the Bachelor, Tyler told Us Weekly that the reality dating series “was a giant lesson for him,” adding, “I think it’s made him grow up a lot. I think he still believes in love. I think he’s still gonna find love. But, you know, it’s definitely a whole growing, learning experience. He pushed himself a ton. He got himself very vulnerable and opened up and learned what good that can do for you.”
But while Tyler and Matt’s friendship has been well-documented on social media, the 28-year-old says Matt didn’t introduce them before the split. “I never got to meet her … but they seemed happy,” he told the outlet. “It was like a honeymoon afterwards still, and that’s easy to be happy in.” During the After the Final Rose special, Matt revealed he and Rachael broke up after filming ended and the offensive photos began resurfacing. According to Tyler, the decision to end things was the right one: “What happened had to happen.”
As for how the 29-year-old is coping post-split, Tyler also provided an update, which seems to coincide with Matt’s tweeting about finding a therapist. “He’s going through it,” the former Bachelorette contestant shared. “He’s doing good. It was definitely tough, you know, but … I always support Matt. I’m always a sounding board for him. … I’m here for him, and he does the same for me. That’s what brothers do for each other.” Tyler also seemed confident that Matt would return to the dating scene at some point. “I’m sure he needs to figure himself out and get his mind right, and he’ll be ready to go,” he told Us Weekly.
“The feelings that I have for you don’t go away overnight, and seeing you like this hurts,” Matt told Rachael, 24, during ATFR. However, “the work and the reconciliation that needs to be done is work that I can’t do for you. And I know that you can. ... I really want you to do this work because that’s the best thing that can come out of this.”