Jesse James & Kat Von D: Bad TV Timing Strikes Again

Jesse James, Kat Von D: Footage on LA Ink Before Their Split
Jesse James and Kat Von D
Albert L. Ortega/PictureGroup

07/29/2011 AT 03:45 PM EDT

First, it was Gene Simmons's reality TV proposal – which aired months later, when the couple had all but split up.

Now, just days after PEOPLE broke the news that Jesse James and Kat Von D ended their engagement, the former bride-to-be can be seen gushing about her then-fiancé on the new season of LA Ink, which premiered Thursday night.

"The long-distance relationship, we're just making it work," says the L.A.-based Von D. (James, who lives in Austin, blamed their breakup on the miles between them.) She also refers to him on the show as "my soulmate" and giddily shows off her new tattoo – an image of James as a child.

"You love it?" she asks, giggling.

"I love you," James replies, kissing her.

On Monday, James told PEOPLE of their split: "I'm so sad because I really love her. The distance between us was just too much."

James, 42, and the LA Ink star, 29, became engaged in January and were planning a summer wedding.

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