“This amazing dancer is so honored to join the cast of Dancing With the Stars,” the reality star, 24, wrote over the Instagram videos. “I’m so excited for you and so proud of you already!!! The other teams don’t know what’s coming!!”
Shortly after, the former Bachelor, 29, reposted the video on his own Story, adding, “LMOA! Hater.”
Us Weekly exclusively revealed the news that James, 29, will compete on season 30 of the ABC reality show. On Wednesday, September 8, he opened up to Us and other reporters about the journey and how his girlfriend is cheering him on.
“She’s been supporting me in every way imaginable. I mean, first of all, she was the only person who seemed to like my beard so, you know, that’s love right there,” he said after the Dancing With the Stars season 30 cast was announced. “She was stoked about this opportunity for me.”
He added that, along with Kirkconnell’s sister, he’s been working on his moves at home after rehearsals end.
“When I come back from practice, she’s been my dance partner outside of Dancing With the Stars,” the ABC Food Tours founder told Us. “I come back and I’m trying to apply the same lessons that I learned during my rehearsals. She’s whipping me into shape.”
Kirkconnell and James met on season 25 of The Bachelor. While they didn’t get engaged at the end, they left the show in a relationship. The pair briefly split amid resurfaced controversial racially insensitive Instagram posts from Kirkconnell, but later got back together.
“[The Bachelor] was something I did. It’s not who I am. And I think that a lot of people got that confused. After the show’s over, [people were] expecting me to look a certain way, act a certain way. I’m Matt James. I’m not here to please them,” the reality star told Us. “I’m here to be the best version of myself, and that has little to do with my appearance and more so about how I’m treating people and the work that I’m doing in the community and the type of impact I’m trying to leave. We get caught up on things like appearance. I think it’s kind of shallow … it’s comical. So, I just kind of grew it out in spite of what everyone wanted me to look like and just [wanted to] do me.”
Dancing With the Stars premieres on ABC Monday, September 20, at 8 p.m. ET.Listen to Here For the Right Reasons to get inside scoop about the Bachelor franchise and exclusive interviews from contestants
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