Bachelor Alum Matt James Gets Support from 'Proud' Girlfriend Rachael Kirkconnell for DWTS Debut

·3 min read
Bachelor Alum Matt James Gets Support from 'Proud' Girlfriend Rachael Kirkconnell for DWTS Debut

Rachael Kirkconnell is one proud girlfriend!

The 24-year-old Georgia native shared her love and support for her boyfriend Matt James on Instagram, ahead of his debut on Monday's season 30 premiere of Dancing with the Stars.

"My man is officially trading in his skateboards sneaks for some dancing shoes!" she wrote, adding, "Can't wait for you guys to see how hard this guy has been working and what they've come up with, you won't want to miss it… I promise he's come a long way ;-)."

"Love you the most @mattjames919, already so so proud of you ♡," she concluded.

Kirkconnell was also in the audience to cheer her boyfriend on.

RELATED: The Bachelor's Matt James Surprises Girlfriend Rachael Kirkconnell with New Electric Motorbike

Prior to hitting the ballroom floor on DWTS, the former Bachelor star, 29, addressed their romance in his intro package.

For more on the season 30 premiere of Dancing with the Stars and other top stories, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"I didn't end up proposing to Rachael, but we are in a relationship and everything is going great," he said, adding, "Bachelor Nation is a passionate group of viewers, I don't want to let them down."

James was paired with pro dancer Lindsay Arnold and earned a score of 24 from the judges for his first dance — the cha-cha.

In response to the judges' critiques about his hip action, he said, "I just wanted to honor Lindsay for being back. She just popped out a baby a couple months ago! I'm so honored to have you as my partner."

Dancing With The Stars
Dancing With The Stars

ABC/Maarten de Boer

Earlier this month, James, 29, told PEOPLE that Kirkconnell has been in his corner from the beginning of this process, even helping him practice his routines outside of the studio.

"She's been my dance partner outside of Dancing with the Stars," he said. "I come back and try to apply the same lessons that I learned during my rehearsals. She's been keeping me in shape!"

"She's been supporting me in every way imaginable," James added. "She was the only person who seemed to love my beard, so that's love right there."

RELATED VIDEO: Matt James Says He's 'Pursuing' a Relationship with Ex Rachael Kirkconnell: I'm 'Focusing on It'

Last month, the Bachelor Nation couple got candid about the previous ups and downs in their relationship during an interview with Extra.

"It was a bit of a journey," Kirkconnell said of getting back on track. "But I think we're in a really good place. We've had a lot of love come our way, but I like to think that even though people have been super, super nice, we just like to focus on each other and put all of that aside and let that outside noise stay a little more quiet these days. So it's been good though, we've been good."

"The importance has always been to seek authenticity... and that is what drew me to Rachael and to go at our own pace — [and] not fall victim to other people's expectations. That's kind of what we continue to do, and it's working for us."

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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