TORONTO - Renowned tattoo artist Kat Von D has had a string of much-publicized relationship woes, from a divorce to fellow inker Oliver Peck to a breakup with Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx and two failed engagements with reality TV star Jesse James.
But these days Von D says she's happily engaged to her "best friend," Canadian electronic music artist Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman), with whom she shares a matching tattoo — a series of numbers and letters that's on her collarbone and his forearm and is their "inside secret."
During a recent stop in Toronto to promote her newly released third book, "Go Big Or Go Home: Taking Risks in Life, Love, and Tattooing," the former "LA Ink" star said the two are "deep into the wedding planning" for their nuptials in Los Angeles, where she lives.
They're also making music together, both for their own side project and for her debut album, which she said is being produced by rocker Danny Lohner and has tunes co-written by hitmaker Linda Perry.
Being with the mouse-masked DJ gives her the same excitement she felt when she was 14 and first started tattooing, gushed Von D (short for von Drachenberg).
"I remember I didn't know what I was doing at all and I just did it, and it was so natural and so perfect and I loved it, and all I could think about was, 'When will I do it again?' And being with Joel is the only thing that's ever exceeded how organic that feels," she said in an interview at HarperCollins Canada.
"So it's like, it makes sense. There's no work in it," added the raven-haired Von D, who made headlines when she began dating James just months after his split from actress Sandra Bullock.
Von D and Zimmerman, a Grammy-nominated dance producer who grew up in Niagara Falls, Ont., revealed their engagement last December via Twitter.
The social media site is also where they first declared they were in love (in late September), where they announced they'd briefly broken up (less than a month later), and where Zimmerman later proposed.
"I can't wait for Christmas so.... Katherine Von Drachenberg, will you marry me?" he wrote while also posting a photo of a custom-made ring of two skulls surrounding a diamond.
"Everybody was giving us so much slack for that because like, 'Oh, it's so non-romantic and disconnected,' and we're like, 'No, you don't get it, it's an inside joke,'" said Von D.
"Like, we met on Twitter and Joel's very computer-savvy, he's like a computer whiz. So the little sideways heart? That's like our computer love, you know?
"And so for him to Twitter that and share that with our fans and stuff, it makes total sense."
Von D said they were in the same house in Los Angeles at the time of the proposal.
She was downstairs, having just arrived home from work, and he shouted from upstairs: "Kat, check your Twitter."
"I'm like, 'Huh?' and I look at my phone and I'm like, 'Oh my God!' Just in shock," recalled the owner of High Voltage Tattoo and Wonderland Gallery, who also has makeup and clothing lines.
"He came down and said, 'Well, are you going to answer?' And it's like, 'OK!' So just (wrote) all capitals 'YES' and then we called his mother on speakerphone right after. It was so much fun."