Rachael Kirkconnell is letting her "The Bachelor" season 25 co-star Pieper James lean on her amid the drama surrounding the latter's "Bachelor in Paradise" run.
Pieper quickly fell into "villain" territory after it was revealed that she and Brendan Morais were in relationship before both went on the reality TV show. They were also later caught on camera discussing their Instagram followers, screen time and media coverage of themselves.
"Rachael has been in Pieper's shoes before," a source told Page Six, although Rachael believes her own scandal was "much worse," as it involved accusations of racism, not social media and fame. "Rachael felt compelled to reach out and let Pieper know that it will all be OK and that the situation with Brendan isn't the end of the world. She feels like the perfect person for Pieper to lean on right now."
Both Pieper and Brendan were accused of being on the show for the "wrong reasons," a sin among Bachelor Nation. Brendan even lost 100,000 Instagram followers amid the scandal.
"Rachael can't believe Pieper said some of the things she did on camera," Page Six's source said. "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. Rachael told Pieper that she's here for her whenever she needs it."
Pieper and Brendan have both since apologized.
Rachael certainly knows a thing or two about being cast in a bad light. Not long after Matt James, the first Black lead of "The Bachelor," picked her on the season 25 finale of the ABC show, three-year-old social media images surfaced that showed Rachael at an Antebellum-themed party. She also "liked" other images that contained a Confederate flag and posts about QAnon conspiracy theories.
Matt and Rachael split after the finale was filmed but before it aired. Longtime "The Bachelor" host Chris Harrison was also shockingly ousted from the franchise after defending Rachael in an interview. However, after the dust settled, Matt and Rachael reconciled, and they often post about each other on social media.
"Rachael finally feels comfortable in the public eye. She made it through a really tough time," the aforementioned source said. "She knows there's light at the end of the tunnel for Pieper, too."