Kat Von D: Why I'm Jesse James's Type

08/19/2010 at 01:35 PM EDT

Kat Von D: Why I'm Jesse James's Type
Jesse James and Kat Von D
Splash News Online; Michael Williams/Startraks
The connection between Kat Von D and Jesse James isn't only skin deep.

"Just because I have tattoos doesn't mean, 'Oh, you guys are a perfect match,' " the star of TLC's LA Ink, 28, tells the Kevin & Bean radio show on L.A.'s KROQ-FM. "I think that I'm his type on a different level than people would assume."

She and James, 41, may be newly involved romantically – Kat admitted they were dating in a short-lived tweet on Wednesday, following a dinner together in Las Vegas on Saturday – but their history goes back a lot further.

"I've known Jesse since I was 22, actually. We've always been friends, you know?" the tattoo artist said in the Wednesday interview. "He had his show on Discovery, that's how we met. I was looking for some advice when I first started on Miami Ink."

When it comes to James's cheating scandal and the collapse of his marriage to Sandra Bullock, Kat says she can relate to his crisis.

"I am a believer that we're all human and we're all capable of making mistakes," she says. "I think if I were to be crucified for my drug addiction three years ago now, it would be hard to live with that. I'm sober now, and it's awesome. But I have made mistakes, too. … I've got a lot of respect for Jesse and how he handled it."

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