It often feels like John Cena is the living embodiment of the cliché of a man that is married to his job. Few people are as constantly and boastfully proud of their place of employment as the 15-time WWE World Champion, and Cena has made it clear that’s never going to change. Despite Cena’s commitment to his work, he has also been engaged in a relationship with fellow WWE superstar, Nikki Bella, since 2012. Four years into the relationship, Cena and Bella have had their ups and downs like any couple, with the main difference being that they’ve done so in front of the public eye. Not only are they regularly on WWE television, but the two are also fixtures of the two reality shows based on Bella’s personal life, Total Divas and Total Bellas. Through these programs and various interviews, fans have been able to learn plenty of intimate details about their relationship, which is at times as interesting as any of the stories the two superstars have been involved in within the ring.
Fans of the Bella reality shows know that they also profile Nikki’s sister, Brie, and her relationship with husband, Daniel Bryan, who she married in 2014. Unlike those two, Cena and Bella seem unlikely to get married, and the more the public delves into their lives together, the more it becomes apparent why exactly that is. In fact, after a firm analysis of John Cena and Nikki Bella, some fans might be surprised that they’re even still together in the first place. Check out our list of the 15 things you never knew about John Cena and Nikki Bella’s relationship, and decide for yourself whether or not this is a couple that will stand the test of time.
15. They’ve Both Been Married Before
John Cena and Nikki Bella didn’t start dating until Bella was in her late 20’s and Cena was in his early 30’s, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that they were hardly each other’s first loves. What fans may not realize, though, is that both of them have actually been married before, with Cena’s first marriage ending not long before the relationship with Bella began. As John described it to Rolling Stone, the circumstances of his first marriage were actually so bad that prior to his relationship with Bella he was unsure if he would even attempt a serious relationship again. Bella’s first marriage was less public than Cena’s, as it occurred prior to her rising to fame. She later revealed on Total Divas that she had once been married to her high school sweetheart while they were in their early 20’s, only to have the marriage annulled after 3 years. Nikki heavily regretted the marriage almost from the start, which was probably fitting considering it took place in Las Vegas and was officiated by Elvis. Cena’s marriage was more of the traditional variety, although it would coincidentally only last 3 years once his job started getting in the way of the quiet family life his ex-wife desired.
14. They Started Dating In 2012
John Cena filed for divorce from his wife, Elizabeth Huberdeau, in May of 2012, and the proceedings were finalized in July. Only 5 months later, Cena had begun hanging out with Nikki Bella and turned their budding friendship into an exclusive relationship. Despite the reportedly nasty situation surrounding Cena’s divorce, Nikki has appeared to be smitten with the Doctor of Thuganomics from day one. During interviews and on her reality shows, she is constantly gushing about how romantic Cena is and was practically begging for him to ask her to get married (although as this list progresses, you’ll learn why she might keep begging for some time). This isn’t to say that Cena hasn’t portrayed a true love for her as well. The mere fact that he was willing to dive into a relationship so fast after a messy divorce was proof enough for most fans that he must have had a deep affection for her and experienced a true connection with this fellow WWE star.
13. John Is Close With Nikki’s Family
John Cena’s magnetic personality is what has endeared him to millions of WWE fans around the world, and the family of Nikki Bella has been just as quick to accept him into their lives. That is, as long as they don’t have to live with him. Cena has gradually become a good friend of practically everyone in the extended Bella family, including Brie’s husband, Daniel Bryan, Kathy’s new husband, John Laurinaitis, and even her mother. A recent episode of Total Bellas made it clear that this doesn’t mean that they can’t necessarily all live together, but it does mean they are getting well enough to give one another the chance. The reason her family had trouble living with her and Cena mostly involved Cena’s stringent house rules, which made the others feel trapped in their everyday lives. The only reason Brian, Daniel, and the rest of the family moved in with them in the first place was to help Bella during her recovery from neck surgery, and still, their willingness to help was outweighed by Cena’s domineering control of his household. Luckily, the family was able to get through their differences when living together and become friendly and loving once again when the drama was over.
12. They’ve Lived Their Relationship On TV
Cena and Bella have barely interacted while WWE cameras were rolling, and yet hours of their relationship have been documented on multiple reality shows. As co-stars of Total Divas and the spin-off Total Bellas, both of these shows document the lives of the female WWE superstars. Total Divas premiered in July of 2013 with Nikki and Brie as two of the primary focuses of the show, a role they maintained until their spin-off debuted in late 2016. JoJo, Cameron, Naomi, Natalya, and Eva Marie were the other women profiled in the first season, and the cast has rotated to contain virtually every female on the WWE main roster at one point or another. Obviously, the Bellas were the most popular cast members of the show, as evident by the twins earning their own show. The Bellas will likely continue to pop up in the first show as their own continues, just as other divas will occasionally appear on Total Bellas, and chances are that John Cena won’t be far behind if and when they do.
11. They Have No Wrestling Memorabilia At Home
Regardless of one’s career, when people are successful, they tend to have signs of their success plastered around their house. Doctors, lawyers, and business executives proudly display their diplomas and various news clippings related to their accomplishments, and a WWE superstar might have some of their former championship belts, favorite merchandise, or magazine covers all around their house. Plenty of WWE superstars have indeed adorned their homes exactly like that, or at least have a room for it somewhere, but John Cena and Nikki Bella are the complete opposite in that they have absolutely no WWE memorabilia at their home. John Cena is by all accounts the model employee who loves his job more than most people can even comprehend. Despite this, at the end of the day, he looks at his championships and Slammy-esque awards as fairly meaningless, considering the sport he rules is by his own admission “fake.” While it’s true Vince McMahon or another executive needed to sign off on Cena or his girlfriend’s wins, fans still could find this fact bizarre and confusing, especially given how proud Cena is of his company in general.
10. They Go All Out On Halloween
Halloween is the one day out of the year that couples get to be as publicly goofy as they are when no one else is around, and John Cena and Nikki Bella are no different from others in this regard. Since the two have started dating, they have been routinely dominating Instagram each October 31st, with a series of movie-based couples costumes that may not have always looked perfect, but always put a smile on fans’ faces. Since they got together in November of 2012, they just barely missed out on Halloween that year, and thus the trend began 11 months into the relationship. In 2013, Nikki dressed up as Princess Leia while John Cena was her captor, Jabba the Hutt. The following year, Cena dressed as Ron Burgundy and Bella as his Veronica Corningstone. Their most recent effort was in 2015, when the pair mimicked the main characters of Dumb & Dumber, specifically the infamous brightly colored suits worn by Harry and Lloyd, played by Bella and Cena respectively.
9. They Co-Starred In The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown!
With WWE continually attempting to become a multimedia empire far beyond mere sports entertainment, it may not be long before every superstar tries his or her hand at acting at least once. John Cena and Nikki Bella have beaten the rest to the trend a number of times, once even appearing together in the same animated film, The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown! In the movie, the Flintstones and the Rubbles got involved in the wrestling business, meeting a variety of prehistoric versions of WWE superstars. Predictably, Cena was the most important wrestler in Bedrock, simply named John Cenastone. Cenastone works with Fred Flintstone to create a Jurassic version of sports entertainment. The Bellas portray The Boulder Twins, who naturally get into a feud with Betty and Wilma over their sultry ways. By the end of the film, Cenastone and Flintstone work together to save the day and put on a great show as always, and the Boulder Twins got their comeuppance.
8. They Have A Dog Nikki Takes Care Of Alone
John Cena and Nikki Bella are a more traditional couple when it comes to their stance on children. They’ll need to get married before children ever become a discussion, and as this list goes on, you’ll see why both of those are questionable prospects in 2016. Many couples see getting a pet as a test run for having children, though, and this might be what Bella had in mind when she purchased their dog, Winston. Unfortunately for her, if the intention was to bait Cena to the idea of having a child, it backfired spectacularly when Cena made it clear that while he loves the dog and is happy Bella bought him, it’s entirely up to her to take care of Winston and make sure he’s happy and healthy. His main reservations against taking care of the dog are far from cruel, and mostly rely on the fact that he doesn’t have the time necessary to take care of a pet. She understood this when she bought the dog, and apparently has had no trouble taking care of their pet all by herself. Still, the situation makes it clear that Cena won’t soon change his mind on dedicating his time to the well-being of another creature, as he is far too dedicated to his own career.
7. John Doesn’t Like Nikki Complaining About WWE
Virtually every person alive has at one point complained about his or her job, and that includes people who claim to love what they do on a deep and personal level. John Cena is the firm exception to this rule, even at home and with his closest loved ones. By all accounts, Cena absolutely never complains about WWE, sports entertainment, or his role in the system, such to the extent that Bella and her family has even joked about him being a robot. It would be one thing if he simply never complained about his job, but he takes things a step further by getting agitated every time Bella complains about hers. While Nikki has never seriously considered leaving WWE, like almost everyone, she has vented about her bosses once or twice and made vague complaints about the company while at home. Instead of supporting her frustrations, Cena always responds that if she isn’t happy at WWE, she should go someplace else, shutting her down for daring to question what may be Cena’s real true love.
6. John Didn’t Tell Nikki About Trainwreck
Like many crossover stars, it took John Cena some time before he was accepted on the silver screen as an equal level as he was in the wrestling ring. What finally made Cena click with film audiences was playing against his type, turning into a vulgarity-spouting uber jock comedian in films like Sisters and Trainwreck, earning rave reviews while he did so. The one person who wasn’t so happy with Cena’s performances was his girlfriend. Bella mostly wasn’t content because Cena didn’t even tell her about the roles before he took them. The issue isn’t that Cena said bad words in the film, as anyone who watches their reality shows are well aware of Cena’s casual swearing in his everyday life. Her issue was with the fact that Cena took place in a number of racy sex scenes, one of which he appeared in naked. She wasn’t entirely comfortable with him revealing himself to the world in this way, and even years later she admitted that she wasn’t happy with his decision to star in the film without telling her.
5. John Allegedly Lobbied For Nikki To Be Diva’s Champion
Nikki Bella was the most dominant champion in the brief history of the WWE Diva’s Championship, holding the belt for nearly an entire year between November 2014 and September of 2015. The record-setting reign was her second with the belt, with the first being a far less impressive 6-day transitional reign serving as the buffer between the tenures of Beth Phoenix and Layla. As impressive as her 301-day turn as Diva’s Champion was, there was some controversy behind her success, mostly rooted in her relationship with Cena. Cena has mostly avoided the accusations of backstage politics that typically mar top WWE superstars, although he hasn’t been entirely cleared of any wrongdoing. Although Cena may have never lobbied for himself to succeed in a manner fans thought was inappropriate or unfair, he was reported to have heavily influenced the decision to keep the belt on his girlfriend for so long. Near the end of Nikki’s long reign, there was a cavalcade of potential stars who could have defeated her and ushered in a new era of women’s wrestling a few months earlier than they ultimately did. Cena wanted his girlfriend to make history, though, and thus fans had to wait until she officially did so for progress to be made in the women’s division.
4. John Adamantly Does Not Want Children
It should be obvious at this point in the list that things aren’t perfect between John Cena and Nikki Bella. While the couple certainly loves each other very deeply and enjoy spending their time together, a few key differences have been causing them grief for some time, most importantly the fact that Cena adamantly doesn’t want to have children. Bella has gone back and forth on the idea but is at least still considering having kids, which is a wedge that the couple has had trouble dealing with for years. It might come as a surprise to fans to learn that Cena doesn’t want children considering his veritable hundreds of charity efforts focusing on brightening the lives of young WWE fans. However, this sort of dedication to charity takes an outrageous amount of time and effort. Cena simply feels that with his work ethic, he wouldn’t have time to raise a child and be the sort of father he thinks a child deserves. Only time will tell if Cena ever wants to slow down and give her what she wants, although having a child probably isn’t even the first step to that happening.
3. John Is Still Unsure About Getting Married
Far more concerning to fans of the John Cena/Nikki Bella relationship than his reluctance to have children is the fact that Cena has long been hesitant to even consider the prospect of marriage. Bella, on the other hand, is extremely open about the fact that Cena proposing would make her dreams come true, and she still seems to be holding out hope that he’ll one day change his mind and give her what she wants. Cena has recently claimed on Total Bellas that he may finally be open to considering the idea, although it was hardly a complete reversal on his stance, and it will probably be some time before he actually bites the bullet and proposes. Cena’s reason for not wanting to get tied down is mostly the same as his logic behind not wanting children, in that he firmly feels he doesn’t have the time to be a traditional family man with his commitments to WWE. There is also the fact that his first marriage went spectacularly wrong, ending with an irreconcilable divorce that understandably left Cena somewhat cold to the concept of matrimony in general.
2. Nikki Has Suspected John Of Cheating
Every couple has their minor problems, so fans might look at the issues between John Cena and Nikki Bella as insignificant and most likely something they’ll get over in due time. Of course, there are certain major problems that can forever destroy even the happiest relationship, and high atop the list is one partner cheating on the other. Cena faced accusations from his first wife that he was doing exactly that, and although those reports remained unconfirmed, it was enough for Bella to worry that Cena might be doing the same in 2014. Bella’s suspicions became so strong that she enlisted the help of her sister, Brie, who agreed that Cena had been acting in a curious fashion and was becoming increasingly distant from the Bella family. She ultimately confronted him about the idea on an episode of Total Divas, leaving Cena furious at the idea that he would betray her trust like that. Not long afterward and in borderline sitcom fashion, it was revealed that Cena had actually been secretly meeting with an escrow agent about purchasing a property that Bella had listed for sale in her side job as a real estate agent. The whole ordeal was quickly put behind the couple, although the fact that Nikki believed Cena’s trust could be betrayed so easily no doubt rests forever in both of their minds.
1. They’ve Been To Couple’s Therapy
A couple admitting that they need help isn’t exactly a sign that they’re definitely going to break up, but it is a sign that things are far from perfect in their relationship. For this reason, fans keeping their fingers crossed about them living happily ever after would be wise to take pause and consider the amount of time the two have spent in couple’s counseling. Their counseling revolved around Cena getting beyond the various problems preventing him from wanting to get married, and helping Nikki get over the disappointment that may arise if he never pops the question. Thousands of couples have gone through therapy and walked out stronger than ever, and there could be hope that the same will be true of Cena and Bella. Only time will tell if the therapy worked to help them grow stronger than ever or if it turns out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and reveals things about each other that irreparably tears them apart. Either way, fans will most likely find out about the trials and tribulations of their relationship in a very public fashion, in repeated reruns on E! and the WWE Network.