‘The Bachelor’ winner Rachael Kirkconnell reportedly helping Pieper James through ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ scandal

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The Bachelor winner Rachael Kirkconnell has apparently comforted and supported Bachelor in Paradise villain Pieper James during her time of need given both women have been involved in controversy and subjected to public backlash.

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Rachael, who was accused of racist behavior in her past while competing for Matt James’ heart on The Bachelor’s 25th season earlier this year, decided to lend Pieper an ear and provide some encouragement as Pieper attempts to heal from her Bachelor in Paradise scandal, The New York Post’s Page Six reported.

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On Bachelor in Paradise’s currently-airing seventh season, Pieper — who also found fame on Matt’s The Bachelor season — and Brendan Morais were accused of bringing their established pre-show relationship to Mexico so they could continue dating on television and gain more fame and social-media followers.

“Rachael has been in Pieper’s shoes before,” a source told Page Six, adding however that Rachael, 24, believes her racism controversy was “much worse” than what Pieper has been going through.

“Rachael felt compelled to reach out and let Pieper know that it will all be okay and that the situation with Brendan isn’t the end of the world.”

The source said Rachael feels she is the “perfect person” to offer advice and for “Pieper to lean on right now.”

Rachael reportedly told Pieper “that she’s here for her whenever she needs it,” according to the insider.

Pieper said she and Brendan had enjoyed about 10 dates and were together “without labels” before filming the show. During the couple’s first date in Mexico, she thanked Brendan for “playing the game,” referring to how Brendan admitted he had to “navigate” the Paradise process and do “certain things” to ensure they’d be on the beach at the same time.

Prior to Pieper’s arrival, Brendan had exchanged roses with Natasha Parker, who really liked Brendan and felt lied to, betrayed and manipulated.

After one date, Pieper called Brendan her “boyfriend” and laughed about how Brendan had done “the heavylifting” prior to her Paradise entrance and may end up looking like a jerk on TV. Pieper also bragged about her influencer status and tens of thousands of Instagram followers.

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“Rachael can’t believe Pieper said some of the things she did on camera,” the source told Page Six.

RELATED LINK: ‘THE BACHELOR’ FRANCHISE COUPLES NOW

“But she still feels really bad for her. She got close to Pieper while filming The Bachelor and knows she’s a good person. She feels like she got dragged into unnecessary drama.”

Since the footage aired of Brendan crushing Natasha, he has lost more than 100,000 followers and Pieper’s follower count is down nearly 10,000. As for Natasha, she has gained around 400,000 followers, Entertainment Tonight reported.

Both Pieper and Brendan have apologized multiple times on social media and in the press and insisted they are truly sorry and their pre-Paradise relationship was never serious or official.

But Pieper has also said she doesn’t have “any regrets” and that Natasha had allegedly been made aware of Pieper and Brendan’s pre-show romance before Paradise’s seventh season even began filming — a statement which Natasha subsequently denied.

Brendan and Pieper were essentially pushed out of Paradise after upsetting and frustrating their Bachelor in Paradise co-stars, but Pieper recently told Us Weekly that she and Brendan are “working through things.”

“This obviously isn’t something that’s super healthy for a relationship either, so it kind of is what it is. Every day, [we’re] taking it day by day,” Pieper revealed.

Meanwhile, Rachael is still happily dating Matt, who is set to compete on the new edition of Dancing with the Stars premiering Monday night at 8PM ET/PT on ABC.

RELATED LINK: ‘THE BACHELOR’ COUPLES NOW: WHO DID ‘THE BACHELOR’ STARS AND THEIR BACHELORETTE PICKS ACTUALLY END UP MARRYING? (PHOTOS)

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“Rachael finally feels comfortable in the public eye. She made it through a really tough time,” the Page Six source explained.

“She knows there’s light at the end of the tunnel for Pieper, too.”

Matt gave Rachael his final rose on The Bachelor’s Season 25 finale, which filmed in late 2020, but the couple split in February when racially-ignorant and racially-insensitive photos from Rachael’s past resurfaced online, including a 2018 image of Rachael attending an antebellum-themed “Old South” party at her Georgia college with sorority sisters.

Matt explained on The Bachelor: After the Final Rose in March that he wanted to give Rachael some time to educate herself on racism in society and gain awareness. Matt apparently needed to know that Rachael could support him and truly understand his perspective as a Black man in America.

But according to Reality Steve spoiler blogger Steve Carbone, Matt could only stand his breakup from Rachael for about a month because he allegedly began FaceTiming with her every day following their ATFR appearance, saying he still loved her and wanted her back.

Matt and Rachael apparently reunited on April 4 in New York City to give their relationship another shot, and they proceeded to hang out in Los Angeles and Miami before becoming an official couple again.

“There were rough patches in our relationship,” Matt acknowledged during the May 25 episode of “The Pomp Podcast,” likely alluding to the fact he had been accused of trying to hook up with an old Miami-based flame named Grace shortly before flying Rachael to New York to see him in early April.

RELATED LINK: ‘THE BACHELORETTE’ COUPLES NOW: WHOM DID ‘THE BACHELORETTE’ STARS AND THEIR BACHELOR PICKS ULTIMATELY END UP WITH?! (PHOTOS)  

Matt explained there was a point in time when he “wasn’t really honoring” the commitment he had made to Rachael to work on their relationship” but a “come-to-Jesus meeting” with the brunette beauty got the couple’s romance back on the right track.

“We are back together now,” Matt confirmed.

“She was like, ‘If you’re going to make this work, then let’s do it. But, if you’re not going to make it work, then I’m going to let you do your own thing…’ It was an ultimatum that I needed… and it’s been great.”

Matt went on to compliment Rachael by calling her “the most kind, caring, and understanding person” he’s ever met.

He also gave Rachael credit for sticking by his side and maintaining a positive attitude through all the adversity they had faced, together and separately.

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Matt and Rachael’s relationship appears to be thriving and getting more serious as time passes, and a source told E! News earlier this summer that they are “truly in love” and “in a really good place.”

RELATED LINK: ‘THE BACHELOR’ FRANCHISE COUPLES NOW: WHO IS STILL TOGETHER?? (PHOTOS)

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About The Author:
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.

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