The Bachelor stars Rachael Kirkconnell and Matt James made the most dazzling couple at the ESPY Awards.
The reality television stars, who met during Season 25 of the ABC series and endured many ups and downs in the early months of their relationship, appeared to be happy and in love in a series of photos taken at the event.
The event which celebrated the best players, moments, coaches, and games in sports was held at The Rooftop at Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport in New York City on July 10.
Matt and Rachael looked stunning in their first red carpet debut as a couple.
The duo has dated since late 2020 at the close of Matt’s season of The Bachelor. After a short split, they reunited in the spring of 2021 and have remained in a committed relationship ever since.
The former professional football player and his girlfriend appeared happy and in love in a slideshow of three images where they posed with star athletes at the exciting sports event.
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Matt and Rachael’s gorgeous ensembles
Matt made a bold fashion statement on the red carpet. He donned a double-breasted brown and black plaid suit. This was paired with a black dress shirt and tie. Black loafers with a silver accent, worn with no socks, added a relaxed vibe. On his face, Matt wore a pair of dark sunglasses. His full beard appears to have grown thicker than ever.
He was all smiles as he held onto his lady love.
Rachael struck a pose in a very low-cut sheer black gown. The dress created a sleek silhouette with a deep v-neckline. The design of the gown appeared to feature a sleeveless black figure-hugging bodysuit. This was accented with long, sheer sleeves and a full sheer skirt that swept the floor that had a dramatic slit in the front.
Rachael added ankle-strap shoes in contrasting tones of black and white, which added a pop of color to her fashion.
Her only jewelry was a pair of long, sparkling statement earrings that were secured to her earlobes with a circular stud and large oblong drops that featured shimmering rhinestones.
Matt and Rachael’s difficult past
Matt and Rachael have faced their share of difficulties during their courtship.
The duo agreed not to become engaged at the close of Season 25 of The Bachelor. They chose to continue to explore their feelings for one another and see where their relationship took them. Months later Matt and Rachael split after racially insensitive photographs of the young woman resurfaced from her college days. This led Matt to reconsider his feelings for his final pick of the reality dating television series.
Former Bachelor host Chris Harrison defended the young woman’s actions during an interview with former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay in March of this year. Subsequently, Chris came under fire for comments where he asked for people to have grace, understanding, and compassion toward Rachael.
Matt responded to Chris’s stepping back from the franchise in an interview on the Ringer’s Bill Simmons Podcast. He admitted he was “sad to hear” what Harrison said and thought he was in “an alternate reality” while listening to the full interview.
Matt also said that he didn’t think that anybody should try to cancel Chris. “We should be calling him in to do that work that he outlined and wants to do. He’s taking a step back and committed to doing that. I look forward to seeing him doing that.”
Chris remained out of the spotlight for three months before he and Bachelor producers agreed he would permanently step down as the series host. Neither Matt nor Rachael has commented on Chris’s exit from the series.
The Bachelor is currently on hiatus.