The Truth About John Cena And Nikki Bella's Relationship

For most WWE wrestlers, the wrestling ring is where bodies fall and punches are thrown. But for star athletes John Cena and Nikki Bella, it is also where sparks flew. Cena and Bella's relationship was a classic friends-to-lovers story, with Cena first suggesting the idea of being more than friends in 2012. "The first opening line was, 'Hey, do you want to go to dinner with me?' and I was kind of like, 'What? With me?'" Bella recalled in an interview with "TribLive Radio." "It just kind of started out like a dinner date and I have to admit ... we were friends for so many years, but then when you make it romantic, I couldn't even say a word to him."

However, the romance was rather turbulent and short-lived. After six years of being together, Cena and Bella decided to call it quits after the two realized that they were not on the same page. The two wanted different things from their relationship: Bella wanted marriage and kids, and the thought of children made Cena's toes curl To find out what went down between the once lovers, read on as we unravel the truth about John Cena and Nikki Bella's relationship.

John Cena and Nikki Bella 'struggled to align'

It was not all butterflies in the wrestling ring for John Cena and Nikki Bella. As Bella herself wrote in her 2020 memoir, "Incomparable," the former couple "struggled to align" with their relationship goals. "Rather than turn and face that," she wrote, "I pushed it under the carpet and figured I could pretend like it wasn't there." As such, their very public relationship saw them go from friends to lovers to bitter exes and then back to lovers, before calling it off in 2018, this time for good, per Us Weekly.

Along with Cena and Bella wanting different things from their relationship, the miscommunication did not help. In her autobiography, Bella added that she's not sure things would have changed if she opened up to her partner more, but she didn't try. "I assumed he wasn't willing to make sacrifices, [so] I did not persistently ask." This lack of communication, as well as their busy schedules, continued to strain their relationship. Eventually, the two called off their engagement.

"Overall, we did have such an incredible relationship, it was just two people that wanted two different lives," Bella said on Maria Menounos' podcast, "Better Together." "We were trying so hard to make it one."

Nikki Bella didn't want a 'pity husband'

After a rather boisterous proposal after their victory at Wrestlemania 33, John Cena and Nikki Bella were to tie the knot on May 5, 2018. However, just a few weeks before the ceremony, the pair called off their wedding. As Bella wrote on her Instagram, "While this decision was a difficult one, we continue to have a great deal of love and respect for one another." A source confirmed to People that Bella was the one who walked away after she realized that their relationship still had issues to be discussed.

"He [Cena] was making it abundantly clear that he was going into this gritting his teeth the whole way," the insider told the magazine. Moreover, Cena was firm on not starting a family. "I'm trying to be a realist," Cena bluntly told Bella during an episode of "Total Divas." "I've told you that I don't want to get married and I don't want to have kids, and you do want to get married and you do want to have kids. So I feel like this is a time-bomb over my head."

In a bid to make it work with Bella again, Cena said that he'd reverse his vasectomy. However, Bella did not want him to regret his decision in the future. "Even in the end when he was willing to give me kids, I could just tell, it's not what we wanted," Bella later revealed on "Better Together."

When routine got in the way

With hectic schedules, John Cena and Nikki Bella's relationship became tense. In fact, Bella later revealed in her memoir, "Incomparable," that it left her feeling "pathologically lonely." She further added, "I was intent on fitting into the contours of [Cena's] very busy and big life. That was paramount to me, pleasing and keeping him content, not voicing my own needs."

To add more stress, Cena's rigid rules became a cause of concern. Before Bella moved into Cena's home in 2013, she was made to sign a 75-page-long contract (via People). This left the reality star feeling confused and upset. She even confided in her sister, Brie, about her relationship. "It kind of makes me second-guess where John and I stand in our relationship. I love John but maybe he knows that he doesn't want to be with me forever?" she questioned during an episode of "Total Bellas."

As for Cena, years later, the A-lister appears to have regrets about his contract. Speaking to Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on "Today," he shared, "Now when I look at what I had done then as to what I would do now ... I was very abrasive and stern and she had to sign this huge, crazy agreement to come in the front door. So since then I've kind of softened."

Nikki Bella reportedly lost herself in the relationship

Nikki Bella later revealed that she had to break up with John Cena because she lost herself in the relationship. In her memoir, "Incomparable," Bella mentions that one of her regrets was that "I wish I'd known myself better before I got into it." She further added, "I wish I'd understood how the patterns in my life, and my relationship with my own father, informed how I react to love, boundaries, and feelings of abandonment ... I think I could have averted some of what happened."

Moreover, Bella did not want to force Cena into having kids. In the end, it is what pushed her to end the relationship. "If I'm going to force someone to be a father ... what if he looks at you down the road and just regrets everything, and then you have this child and you've built this life," she explained on "Better Together." "Is that what you want? And I remember thinking: it's not what I want."

In an interview with ET, Bella even mentioned that she had a gut feeling of walking away. "Even though it's painful and even traumatizing, I just knew it was right."

John Cena and Nikki Bella decide to split for good

After a six-year-long rocky relationship, John Cena and Nikki Bella decided to end it for good. The pair simply realized that they were not on the same wavelength to make their romance work. However, the breakup was not quite so "black and white," Bella revealed to ET. "You almost wish it was bad, because it's so much easier to walk away. It's so much harder to walk away when it's loving," she heartbreakingly shared.

While there were a few relapses, with Cena trying to publicly win her back, the couple ultimately decided to call it off for good. In a statement to People, Bella said, "After I called off the engagement, we tried to work on our relationship to get back to where it was, and in order to move forward with our wedding. After much time and soul-searching alone and together, we have decided to officially part ways."

Yet, with the breakup still fresh, Bella revealed candidly to ET that she was not ready to see Cena move on just yet.

John Cena and Nikki Bella find their way

Eventually, both John Cena and Nikki Bella moved on for good. In fact, just a few months later, the two found their current partners. John Cena married Shay Shariatzadeh on October 12, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. The couple said "I Do" once again in Vancouver, Canada, about 21 months after they first married, per People.

Bella met Artem Chigvintsev in 2017 on the set of "Dancing with the Stars." According to People, after dating with "no labels" for nearly four months, the pair made their relationship official in 2019. Four months later, Bella and Chigvintsev were engaged. A year later, the couple became parents to Matteo, who was born on July 31, 2020. "Our baby boy is here and we couldn't be HAPPIER and more in LOVE! Everyone is safe and healthy," Bella wrote on Instagram.

While both Cena and Bella remained friends, the two found their way to their respective beaus and finally got what they wanted from their current relationships.

Heartwarming words from Nikki Bella

After a turbulent, on-and-off relationship, both John Cena and Nikki Bella have only love for each other. During Bella's speech at the WWE Hall of Fame in 2021, the reality star thanked her former lover for having her back. "And to John, thank you for teaching me a lot about this business and truly helping me find my fearless side," she said.

Moreover, when Bella gave birth to her first child, Cena reached out to congratulate the new mother as well as her sister Brie, who welcomed her second child a day later. "So with the baby, he reached out to Brie and I both," Nikki told Us Weekly. "We haven't had an individual conversation in gosh, I don't know how long, but it was very short and sweet!"

"John and I will be tied forever," she further told the publication despite having a very public relationship. "All I've ever wanted was for him to be happy. So, it makes me happy when I see that and, like, him kicking butt in the movie world and all that stuff. I love that!"