Jesse James is claiming he lost himself in his years spent married to Sandra Bullock, the comedy sweetheart he humiliated publicly with numerous affairs.
The mechanic returned to reality TV on Monday night with Discovery channel's auto-centric "American Chopper: The Build-Off," and mentioned the implosion of his personal life, sparking in 2010.
"I became a big shot and married some Hollywood actress and didn’t talk to anybody anymore, so I feel bad," he said in a testimonial, "...I feel obligated to reconnect with all these people and show 'em that I'm still the same fabricator motorcycle guy. I'm not what I became."
And what became of Jesse? In 2010, Bullock cleaned up in award trophies for her turn in "The Blind Side," only to cap a lead actress Oscar win with the discovery of infidelities on James' part — led by the charming Michelle "Bombshell" McGee.
Bullock and James divorced almost immediately. A messy courtship with tattoo artist Kat Von D followed for James, though that suffered accusations of infidelity too.
Kat Von D is no longer giving ex-fiance Jesse James the benefit of the doubt, instead alleging that he cheated on her with at least 19 women while they were together.
Nothing like almost running out of fingers and toes keeping track of what a great guy someone isn't.
"Today I encountered the 19th girl to add to the list of people Jesse cheated on me with during this last year ... ," the "L.A. Ink" star wrote Sunday on Facebook.
"There was a time when I was confident and excited at proving the world wrong, because I believed so deeply in people's ability to change for the better. ... I did feel like it would be a positive thing for those who judged Jesse solely based on what they read in tabloids, to see that change is always possible."
The tattoo artist, 29, said she still believes that, by the way, but that she deserved "a big fat 'I told you so,' from everyone,' and wished she "didn't have to say, 'You all were more right than you'll ever know,' but you were."
Kat and Jesse went public as a couple in September 2010 after his marriage to Sandra Bullock unraveled in grand style over revelations of his infidelity. (It wasn't with her, Von D reminds folks, and indeed, the James-Bullock ninja divorce was final in June 2010.) Kat and Jesse got engaged in January, then broke up on and off until their final split in September. Her reality show "L.A. Ink" recently went off the air after four seasons.
Last May, James blamed an abusive childhood for his inability to keep it in his pants when he was with Bullock. "I was a terrorized kid," he said about the abuse he received from his father. "I was petrified of my dad.… It wasn't so much getting the ... beat out of me or getting my arm broken or getting kicked or whatever or punched, it was the in-between time. It was the fear of that happening again."
For those keeping track, James' other-woman tally hit three and maybe four when he was wasting Sandra Bullock's time. Talk about being afraid of bad things happening again.
In this situation, the Ministry doesn't have the heart to be unkind. And Kat says she still believes in love.
Kat Von D and Jesse James have called off their engagement once again, and she's definitely not moving to Texas, the former star of "L.A. Ink" has announced.
"I am not in a relationship. (And I apologize for all the 'back and forth' if it's caused any confusion)," she said in a Facebook post Friday aimed at answering some recurring questions and clearing up some of the confusion she says she's faced since the reality show ended Sept. 15.
In the final episode, Von D suggested that she and her West Coast Choppers beau open the "Jesse Von Kat Tattoo and Motorcycle Emporium" in James' neck of the woods, to address some of the problems they were dealing with as they juggled their jobs and a long-distance relationship between L.A. and Austin.
"It was clear to me that we were just on two different paths in life," Von D told People magazine on Saturday, adding, "I wish Jesse nothing but the best in life and in love." The couple, who went public last September and got engaged in January, split up right before the final season of "L.A. Ink" premiered, then got back together in August. James' split from Sandra Bullock, his third wife, was finalized in June 2010.
Other points clarified by Von D: The tattoo artist and gallery owner is not leaving High Voltage Tattoo, not retiring, and not unhappy to have done four seasons of "L.A. Ink."
Kat Von D might have broken up with "L.A. Ink," but she and Jesse James are definitely together, engagement ring and all.
News of the couple's late-July breakup came only two days before the fourth season of her just-nixed series premiered, while Von D was doing promotion complete with "L.A. Ink" footage that showed her surprising her fiance with a new tattoo of his face rendered on her abdomen.
James confirmed the reunion to People, saying Thursday, "Sometimes you are only given one chance in life. It was up to me to open my eyes and see it. That girl is my chance." A photo of the couple embracing is up online -- as well as speculation that they had never broken up in the first place.
"The distance between us was just too much," James had said in July, explaining their breakup from his point of view. After his divorce from Sandra Bullock, the West Coast Choppers owner had moved from Sunset Beach to Austin, Texas. Von D operates out of L.A., where she owns High Voltage Tattoo.
The decision to end "L.A. Ink" after this season was made either by the network or at star Kat Von D's request, depending on who you believe. The TLC show, a spinoff of the network's "Miami Ink," followed her from Miami to L.A.
"In an effort to capitalize on my recent breakup," the tattoo artist told People, "the network has decided to focus their energy on re-editing events that didn't happen during filming. ... In my opinion, any attempt to compromise the honesty of that would be an insult to my fans and my viewers."
Does this mean we shouldn't hold our breath for "Austin Ink"?
Kat Von D had a few things to say after leaving the set of "Good Day L.A." on Thursday -- first on Twitter, where she went back and forth unhappily with host Jillian Barberie Reynolds, and later on Facebook, where in a thoughtful post she reminded folks that she's actually a human being.
"Today was really hard for me. And no one's to blame other than myself," she wrote. "Never planned on walking away from this relationship, let alone the timing of things."
That "timing" refers to the Thursday night season premiere of the 29-year-old tattoo artist's TLC show, "L.A. Ink." The relationship, of course, was her recently ended courtship with fiance Jesse James.
"Never was good at being anything other than myself either. And as much as I'd like to picture me being this strong, independent woman, the truth is most of the time I'm not as strong as I'd like to be -- but I'm still trying."
She didn't apologize for Wednesday morning's walkout, but did explain where she was coming from after a more-than-challenging year. "I mean, if all of this would of taken place 4 years ago before I decided to get sober I would have easily been the worlds biggest train wreck."
So about "L.A. Ink"? "Watch the show or don't watch it," she wrote. "Whether people tune in or not doesn't change my best efforts or the quality of what I do, because when you make something for the sake of putting good out into the universe, the payback comes from a much more fulfilling place than any man made form of payment."
Note to Kat Von D: If you don't want to discuss your breakup publicly, don't break up with your gossip-magnet fiance Jesse James right before launching into publicity for a TV show that features your relationship with him.
The "L.A. Ink" star walked off the set of "Good Day L.A." on Wednesday after being introduced with footage showing her surprising James with her new tattoo: his face, taken from what he guessed was his fifth-grade picture.
Didn't we mention something Tuesday about hoping there weren't any tattoos involved in the relationship? Alas, no such luck.
"Dear GoodDayLA, thanks for the waste of a perfectly good morning," Von D said later on Twitter. "Lack of compassion n respect for eachother never fails to dissapoint me."
The clip, however, had been provided by "L.A. Ink" network TLC, and according to Show Tracker the tattoo artist had asked in advance of her scheduled interview only that they not discuss Sandra Bullock, James' ex-wife -- though anchor and weather reporter Jillian Barberie said that just before the segment was to air, Von D said also didn't want to discuss her breakup with James.
When footage featuring her ex-fiance rolled, Von D rolled right out of the studio, leaving the "Good Day L.A." gang confused about what had just happened. Watch the walk-off drama in full, including the ensuing discussion, below.
Poor Kat. At least reality TV veteran Paris Hilton had enough control over her situation to fashion news of her split with Cy Waits into a spotlight on "The World According to Paris" -- right before the episode in which she and Waits had an epic fight.
Still, perhaps Von D wasn't entirely in control of the timing of the breakup? Though James on Tuesday blamed the breakup on the distance between them and said he still loved Von D -- sound familiar, Sandra? -- Radar Online reported Wednesday that the couple had been overheard Monday outside her house having an argument that ended with him cussing her out and zooming away on his motorcycle.
"Kat kept throwing some woman's name out and arguing about how she didn't like him living so far away," an eyewitness told Radar.
"It was clear from the tone of the conversation that Kat was accusing Jesse of something with this other woman," the eyewitness said.
Jesse James and Kat Von D have broken off their engagement and broken up in general, just in time for the Thursday premiere of her reality show, "L.A. Ink" -- which coincidentally features bits of the couple's long-distance relationship, including James saying things like, "If I win tomorrow, we're getting married on Sunday."
Or maybe not so much.
"I am no longer w Jesse, and out of respect for him, his family and myself, thats all the info I'd like to share. Thanks for respecting that," 29-year-old Kat Von D said late Monday on Twitter.
"I'm so sad because I really love her," James, 42, exclusively told People, the magazine that often related his side of the story during the explosion of his marriage to Sandra Bullock. "The distance between us was just too much."
James, who'd lived in Sunset Beach while married to Bullock and running West Coast Choppers in Long Beach, moved to Texas last year in part so his kids could be closer to his ex, who owns homes in Austin and New Orleans.
With Jesse's third divorce final in June 2010, he and Kat started dating in August, got engaged in January and were headed for a summer wedding.
James told People that 2010 really wasn't so bad, because "I fell in love with my best friend. An amazing woman who stood behind me when the world turned their backs."
One can only hope neither got a tattoo along the lines of, "Kat + Jesse 4Ever."
Jesse James and Kat Von D are engaged to be married. We'll just let that sit there for a second until you stop coughing.
The "L.A. Ink" star, 28, and former "West Coast Choppers" dude, 41 -- you might also know Jesse James as the guy who cheated on Sandra Bullock repeatedly when they were married -- have been dating since last summer, and now she "said 'yes,' " James told People on Thursday.
If you were thinking last year was a rough one for James, what with all that scandal, humiliation and divorce -- well, silly mortal, you were wrong: "2010 was actually the best year of my life because I fell in love with my best friend," James told the magazine. "An amazing woman who stood behind me when the world turned their backs.
Bullock divorced James after the revelation of serial cheating with tattooed women he met primarily through his West Coast Choppers business and flirted with online, via Facebook and Twitter. The divorce was final at the end of June.
This will be James' fourth marriage and the tattoo artist's second.
One challenge? The distance. James is now living in Austin, Texas, while Kat is L.A.-based, and she said they'll have two homes for a while. But it's OK -- lately they've been flirting online, via Twitter.
Batten down the hatches -- it's 10/10/10, a day of some sort of reckoning, because humans enjoy these kinds of mathematical patterns, yes? (That said, those who pay attention to such things might surmise that the new moon of 10/7/10 was probably a more auspicious date, in terms of big-picture life shakeups. But we digress.)
But moving forward, we present 10 spicy celebrity scandals and sagas from the first 10 months of 2010. It's enough to leep you talking about for at least 10 minutes -- or you can chat about a different story with 10 different people.
Kat Von D and Jesse James are dating, they confirmed Thursday night in West Hollywood.
No wonder the "L.A. Ink" star yanked that Twitter post awhile back -- much better to save the "yes, we're dating" reveal for the red carpet opening of her new Wonderland Gallery, which according to its Facebook page merges the worlds of contemporary art and body art, and is conveniently attached to her tattoo shop.
The couple held hands and smooched a few times, posed for pictures and then -- as he'd done during awards season with his future ex-wife -- Jesse stepped away from the cameras so Kat could pose alone, E! Online reports.
Kat told People they knew it was a match "when we both realized how nerdy we were."
She says James is only her ninth boyfriend, and made the point that "I don't hang out with anybody unless I am in love."