Nikki Bella Says This Is What Took Artem Chigvintsev Out of the ‘Friend Zone’

From the pics of paparazzi and posts on Instagram, things seem to keep heating up with reality star and former pro wrestler Nikki Bella and Dancing With The Stars alum Artem Chigvintsev. With her talking of having kids with the dancer on The Bellas Podcast, their romance has apparently entered into the ‘serious’ status. Bella recently commented that the DWTS alum had been in the ‘friend zone’ at one point in their relationship, but revealed what took him completely out of that classification.

Artem Chigvintsev and Nikki Bella
Artem Chigvintsev and Nikki Bella | David Livingston/Getty Images

Paired on ‘Dancing With The Stars’

Bella and Chigvintsev started off as dance partners when they were paired on ABC’s reality competition Dancing With The Stars. At the time, Bella was engaged to actor and pro WWE wrestler John Cena. The two ended up going their separate ways, with Bella later reconnecting with Chigvintsev.

A romance was hinted at on an episode of Bella’s reality show, Total Bellas, in January 2019, where Bella spoke of a lunch date with her former dance partner. “The last time I saw Artem, I was in a relationship for so long, so I’m just really excited to see him,” Bella said on the episode, according to Us Weekly.

Family interference

Bella’s twin sister Brie was not in full support of the new romance when Chigvintsev entered the picture, still holding out hope that her sister would work things out with Cena. “I’m stubborn, but I was always very much Team John [Cena] and I was still rooting for them so I didn’t want to give into Artem because I still had hope,” Brie told E! News.

Eventually, Chigvintsev was able to win Brie over and prove that he was sticking around. “I kind of just separated from that until I knew ‘okay, maybe this guy is serious for her,'” Brie said.

 Chigvintsev admitted it wasn’t easy at first with Brie being so against the relationship, but understood she was just being protective of her sibling. “It was very tough in the beginning because I had to prove myself in a sense,” sister and I feel like she wanted to have her back. I respect that,” Chigvintsev told Entertainment Tonight. “But I appreciated it from her because she’s a sister who’s looking after another sister and I feel like she wanted to have her back. I respect that.”

No longer just friends

Bella revealed she had no inkling that a romance could blossom between her and Chigvintsev when they were competing for the mirrorball trophy. “I never would have thought even when Artem and I were dancing… we had incredible chemistry, but I never once thought that he would one day be my boyfriend,” she said. “We had such an amazing friendship and when we went on our first date, it was still kind of in that friend zone.” 

The two started dating in December 2018. Despite pics of the couple showing some obvious PDA that began making headlines, Bella maintained that she wanted to take things slow. “I think of everything that I’ve been through — it’s been an incredibly hard year, but a year that I’ve had so much growth and I’ve learned so much and I’ve appreciated so much in my life,” she said in May, according to People. “I have this amazing thing in my life that makes me so incredibly happy that I just am like, ‘You know what — I’m gonna take it day by day and see where it goes.’ I don’t want to jump into anything.”

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She shared with E! News that her first kiss with Chigvintsev was what pushed him out of the ‘friend zone’ and into ‘significant other’ territory. ” I couldn’t stop thinking about him and that kiss,” Bella admitted.

No mention of wedding bells yet, but fans are sure to keep an eye on this couple!