Photos that a bystander allegedly took of Matt and Rachael walking around New York City in casual clothes began circulating on social media Tuesday night, and Reality Steve spoiler blogger Steve Carbone tweeted, "Matt and Rachael? Yeah, they're not over."
But according to a source close to Matt, the Season 25 The Bachelor star and Rachael "are just friends," Peoplereported.
"They are not together," the source said.
"He supports her as a friend. He is not looking for a relationship. Matt is focused on engaging in meaningful projects in the community at this time."
Matt announced on The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special in March that he had decided to break up with Rachael, shortly after she publicly apologized in February for her racially-ignorant and racially-insensitive actions in the last several years.
Matt previously said he wanted to give Rachael some time and space for her to educate herself and "put in the work" to become better, so when he and Rachael were photographed in New York enjoying each other's company again, rumors of reconciliation began to swirl.
Matt said during an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast last month, "You hear people harping on forgiveness and I forgave her when she told me [about her mistakes], but that doesn't mean I'm not disappointed and I don't want her to do better."
Matt, however, hinted on the podcast that he had not closed the door entirely on his relationship with Rachael.
"Here's what I'll say, Bill: I don't think anyone is irredeemable, and I think that for Rachael, there's a lot that we didn't discuss that we probably should have talked about. I probably should have asked some more clarifying questions," Matt shared.
"And I'm giving her that space to do that, and in the meantime, I'm working on myself. I'm not dating."
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Matt continued, "I'm just solely focused on getting back into that meaningful work in the community and centering myself around projects that are going to elevate all the work that I've been doing in the city and special-interest things I appreciate outside of reality television."
Matt explained on After the Final Rose in March he had initially brushed off racism allegations against Rachael as rumors and wanted to support and protect her as her boyfriend, but once more evidence emerged of the Georgia native's wrongdoing, he had to "check" himself and how he personally felt about continuing a relationship with her.
Rachael was accused of bullying a girl in high school for dating a Black man -- which Rachael's mother Kim Kirkconnell insists isn't true -- and recently liking offensive photos on Instagram, such as two friends posing in front of a Confederate flag.
In addition to an image of Rachael dressed in Native-American costume that circulated online, photos also resurfaced of Rachael attending an antebellum-plantation themed "Old South" fraternity party at Georgia College & State University in 2018.
Matt claimed on ATFR that Rachael didn't understand why her antebellum-party photos were "problematic" for him and their relationship at first, which led him to the conclusion Rachael simply didn't understand his life or perspective as Black man in America.
Rachael admitted on After the Final Rose she had been "living in ignorance" at the time and never stopped to think about the people she might be hurting or the trauma her behavior could cause.
After announcing his split from Rachael amid her racism controversy, Matt was apparently subjected to harassment, verbal attacks and hate from people for not sticking by Rachael's side and guiding her through this learning process.
But Matt apparently felt a weight on his shoulders he doesn't think he should have to bear.
"It's like, I just felt this pressure to just make sure everybody -- again, that's not what I signed up for," Matt acknowledged on The Bill Simmons Podcast in March.
"And that's why Black people in all these different situations are exhausted about the emotional labor that goes into having to explain to every single [person] 'Why is this, why is that?' and it's like that's not our job. So that's where it's just, like, it was frustrating."
Rachael ultimately defended Matt, the love of her life, against the "repulsive" attacks and "racist insults" she had seen from people online.
And just two days after Rachael slammed trolls on her Instagram Stories and said she respects the decisions Matt has made, Matt temporarily wiped his own Instagram account clean and deleted all of its content to seemingly start fresh.