John Cena and Nikki Bella broke up in April 2018 just a few weeks before their wedding. On the one hand, this news — which came a year after Cena popped the question at WrestleMania — was shocking. But in retrospect, it actually isn’t all that surprising, considering there had been ample evidence of trouble in the relationship.
Since the announcement, there have been some reports going into detail about the apparent reason for their break-up. Plus, a podcast interview Cena gave may shed some light on what happened (page 6).
Here’s what we know about the end of Cena and Bella’s relationship, including some new details about the possibility of them getting back together (page 10).
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: How Bella felt about having children after the proposal.
5. Bella hoped that Cena would change his mind about kids
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, she certainly didn’t sound thrilled about it, and she even admitted that she would “be lying” if she said that she didn’t hope that Cena would change his mind. She also said, “Would I hope John would one day want kids? One hundred percent.” In addition, the newest season of Total Divas documents Bella not feeling okay with never being a mom, especially after her sister Brie had a daughter.
While promoting the film Blockers in April 2018, Cena suggested that he had finally changed his mind about having kids. That change must have been pretty recent, since Bella had said in December 2017 that Cena still didn’t want kids and that she hopes he’ll change his mind.
Next: Cena takes a totally different tone in this podcast interview.
6. Cena suggested that settling down would be ‘tough’ and ‘troublesome’ for him
Now that Cena and Bella have broken up, it’s worth looking back on a podcast interview he gave in early April 2018. It was just a month before the wedding, yet Cena didn’t seem that enthusiastic about it. “I ran out of excuses,” he said, referring to excuses not to get married. “I absolutely did. It is truly important to Nicole, for more reasons than just the world knowing we’re married.”
Cena said that he and Bella had fought a lot about getting married and having kids, to the point that they almost called off the wedding. However, Cena suggested that he changed his mind on both issues, but only because he didn’t want to lose her.
“Do I want to let this woman out of my life? No, I don’t…so my opinion changes,” Cena said. “And it’s going to be tough, and it’s going to be troublesome.”
Next: Some key details about the break-up have been revealed.
7. 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.”
Interestingly, an insider told US Weekly, “The things he’s been saying on television and in the press recently hurt Nikki.” The source didn’t specify any comments, but this is probably referring to Cena’s interview where he suggested he only agreed to get married and have kids so as not to lose Bella.
And in general, Cena talked all throughout the Blockers tour about how hard relationships are and about how it’s OK that he and Bella often go long stretches without seeing each other. Plus, although it’s less recent, there was also the fact that when asked on Today in February whether the wedding was still going to happen, Cena said, “We haven’t yet jumped ship.”
Next: Another report providing more details of why Bella called things off
8. Bella felt Cena was ‘gritting his teeth’ on the way to the wedding, and she didn’t want a ‘pity husband’
A report from People also claims that Bella called things off because she felt that Cena was clearly not into the idea of marriage.
“He was making it abundantly clear that he was going into this gritting his teeth the whole way,” a source told People. “Nikki is an amazing, talented, strong, one-of-a-kind woman. Anyone would be lucky to have her in their life — yet John acted more and more like he was doing her a favor by somehow conceding to go ahead and marry her.”
There have also been several reports, such as from People and TMZ, that Cena not being willing to budge on the issue of having kids was the reason Bella broke up with him. This is despite the fact that Cena said in an interview a few weeks earlier that he had changed his mind about having kids. So either those reports are wrong, or perhaps Bella didn’t fully believe that Cena had changed his mind about having children and was just telling her what she wanted to hear.
Bella herself has since suggested that the issue of having kids was a big one. She told People, “I’m not the type of woman to be like, ‘You better have kids with me — or else.’ I remember just telling John, ‘I want us both to be happy and I want to be a mom and you don’t want to be a dad and I think maybe we should go our separate ways.’ I would never force him.”
Next: This also may have played a role in the breakup
9. Bella needed time to focus on herself
Bella herself is opening up a bit more about the break-up while still not going into all of the details.
Recently, on Live with Kelly and Ryan, she said, “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.”
Next: There’s still a chance they can get back together.
10. They might still get back together
It now seems likely that Cena and Bella will get back together
In a recent 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.”
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