The Real Reason John Cena and Nikki Bella Broke Up (and Got Back Together)
John Cena and Nikki Bella announced in April 2018 that they had called off their wedding, which had been planned for May. On the one hand, this news — which came a year after Cena popped the question at WrestleMania — was shocking. But it also wasn’t that shocking, as there had been ample evidence of trouble in the relationship.
After their temporary separation, though, the two have apparently worked out some of their issues and gotten back together. Here’s what we know about why Cena and Bella called off their wedding and what they said that made us think the two would reconcile sooner rather than later (page 9).
1. They announced their separation in April 2018
It was on April 15th, 2018 that Cena and Bella announced their decision to separate. The announcement came in the form of a post on Bella’s Instagram page.
“After much contemplation and six years of being together Nikki Bella and John Cena announced today their decision to separate as a couple,” the statement read. “While this decision was a difficult one, we continue to have a great deal of love and respect for one another.”
Cena seemed devastated on social media. After the announcement, he posted on Twitter, “Hardship, loss, and humility are extremely difficult waters to navigate, but perseverance thru them builds a strength to withstand anything life throws your way.”
Next: Cena and Bella had this key disagreement.
2. Cena said for years that he did not want to get married again
Ever since his 2012 divorce, Cena had expressed the fact that he really does not want to get married again. “I don’t want marriage,” Cena told Rolling Stone in 2016. “That’s me just saying, ‘Hey, this is my life and this is how I’m going to live.'”
But Bella, who Cena began dating in 2012, was very much interested in marriage, as was clear to anyone who watched the reality show, Total Bellas. So there always seemed to be that tension in the relationship, with the two feeling very differently about their future as a couple.
Next: If that’s the case, why did Cena propose?
3. When Cena proposed, he said that Bella had changed him
Cena was saying in interviews conducted as recently as the year before his proposal that he didn’t want to get married. So what happened? Well, after he popped the question, Cena said that he loves Bella so much that he changed his mind.
“I found the absolute right person,” Cena said on Today at the time. “I found a strong person who I consider to be an equal…it took a person that strong to change my view on life.”
Next: This also caused a lot of problems in the relationship.
4. Cena also didn’t want to have kids, while Bella did
It wasn’t just that Cena did not want marriage; it’s also that he did not want to ever have children. Cena repeatedly said in interviews and on Total Bellas that he didn’t think he’d be able to devote enough time to raising a kid.
“Look, I know I cannot handle raising a child,” he told Rolling Stone in 2016. “It’s like with the dog. My biggest thing to Nicole about the dog was: Love dogs, but I can’t contribute to taking care of one. I don’t have the time. And just because everyone else is happy with children doesn’t mean that’s how I have to live.”
Meanwhile, Bella did really want to have a child, saying she’d feel as if she’d be missing out if she didn’t. Cena once said on an episode of Total Bellas that “the one thing I’m very much afraid of, if we were to get married tomorrow, and then you come to the conclusion that you want children, you know where I stand. In no way would I ask you to sacrifice anything for me.”
Next: Bella made this realization leading up to the wedding.
5. Bella realized she couldn’t live without being a mom
Naturally, after Cena proposed to Bella despite years of saying he wouldn’t do so, the question was, had Cena also changed his mind about having kids? Or had Bella come around to the idea of not having children?
It seemed like it was the latter; Bella told People at the time, “I have come to that decision of being okay with it that I won’t be a mom. Now I get to be a bride and a wife, and I’m good with that.”
However, the show Total Bellas suggests that after Nikki’s sister Brie had a baby, Nikki realized that she couldn’t live without being a mom.
Next: The break-up was filmed for Total Bellas.
6. Bella ended the relationship, and Cena felt blindsided
We have since learned that it was Bella herself who ended the relationship. In an interview on Today, Cena said that he had his heart broken “out of nowhere, or for me it was out of nowhere.”
On the show Total Bellas, we actually see this break-up take place. Bella tells Cena that she has realized she wants to be a mom, and he says he understands.
This scene in the show actually took place in January 2018, but they only announced their break-up in April 2018. It’s unclear whether Cena and Bella were broken up for nearly three months without telling the public, or whether they ended up getting back together but then splitting up again.
Next: This interview John Cena gave in April complicates things.
7. Cena said in April that he has decided he wants to have kids, though
Here’s a weird wrinkle in all of this: in April 2018, during a podcast interview, Cena actually said that he has changed his mind about wanting to have kids and that the wedding was still on. Total Bellas has suggested, though, that Cena and Bella broke up in January 2018 because Cena didn’t want to have kids while Bella did.
So there are a few possible explanations. One, Cena and Bella broke up in January 2018; then, sometime between then and April, they got back together, with Cena having changed his mind about kids, only to break up again in mid-April. This could be because, according to People, Bella felt that Cena was “gritting his teeth” on the way to the wedding.
Another explanation is that Cena and Bella were actually broken up at the time of this April interview, and Cena spent the entire Blockers press tour lying about still being engaged. However, maybe he really did mean what he said about wanting to have kids, and he was saying this to try to win Bella back. Cena would go on to publicly proclaim that he’s ready to have kids in an interview on Today.
Next: This also may have played a role in the breakup
8. Bella needed time to focus on herself
Not long after the break-up was announced, Bella said on Live with Kelly and Ryan, “I realized that I really needed to work on me, because a better me is a better us.”
Bella also said that wedding planning brought a lot of issues to the surface. “The day I say those vows, I don’t want to have hesitation, I don’t want to have regret,” she added. “I truly want to be with that person ’till death do us part.”
We saw a bit more of this on Total Bellas, with Nikki saying on the show that she felt she had become a “yes girl” and had sort of lost herself sacrificing so much for other people. Presumably, one of those sacrifices she was talking about was deciding she could give up being a mom to be with Cena.
Next: They soon started talking about getting back together.
9. They hinted at a reunion
Just a few weeks after the split, we started getting some evidence that the break-up might not be permanent. In a Today interview, Cena said that he isn’t moving on from Bella and really hopes they can do so. “I don’t want anybody else,” he said. “…I don’t have any other hopes other than maybe one day that we can work it out.”
Shortly after, Bella herself said that this is possible. She told Entertainment Tonight, “John is such an amazing man. He really is the love of my life. I truly hope one day that we can work it out and get back together. I think there is hope.”
She also told People that they are taking steps towards getting back together. “I told him to make a list and I have to make a list about what makes us so happy for the rest of our lives and what are the things we want,” she said. “I don’t want him to ever live in regret. It’s not a decision you can make super quick. You really got to take time by yourself.”
Now, they are reportedly back together and working on their relationship, although People reports that Bella has trust issues because she’s not sure whether Cena really has changed his mind about wanting to be a father.
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