John Cena and Nikki Bella were the biggest power couple in WWE until they announced their split back in 2018. It was a whirlwind six years for the couple which included a number of high-profile disagreements about marriage and children as well as a very public proposal and breakup. Here is a look at how they came together, and then fell apart.
2012: John Cena and Nikki Bella Go On Their First Date
John Cena and Nikki Bella first started dating back in 2012. Cena’s divorce from his first wife Elizabeth Huberdeau was finalized in 2012 while Nikki Bella had reportedly split from Dolph Ziggler, so the duo seemingly gravitated to one another.
Total Divas cameras didn’t start following the couple until the following year, but Nikki Bella described the start of their relationship in an interview with TribLive back in 2013.
“The first opening line was, ‘Hey, do you want to go to dinner with me?’ and I was kind of like, ‘What? With me? 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.”
Nikki also revealed that Cena picked her up for their date and took her to a steakhouse, in something that she describes as her “best first date”.
2013: Meeting The Parents and Controversial Move-In
September 2013: Nikki Bella Meets Cena’s Parents
Nikki and Cena have been dating for around a year so they decide it’s time for Nikki to meet Cena’s family. On an episode taken from the first season of Total Divas, Cena takes Nikki to Massachusetts to meet his family. Nikki seems to make a good impression and gets on well with his family from their first meeting so the couple decide it’s time to push their relationship forward.
November 2013: Nikki Moves In With Cena
The Total Divas cameras started following the couple in 2013 and began with Nikki Bella moving into John Cena’s huge home in Tampa, Florida. The show caused some controversy when it was revealed that Cena had forced her to sign a 76-page cohabitation agreement, something that upset Nikki and led to her questioning the relationship, but she later decided to sign.
The agreement is something that Cena decided on following his divorce and included the fact the Nikki wasn’t allowed to make any improvements in the house and that she would always be seen as a guest in the house which means that she would be expected to vacate if they split.
“I do not want there to be any misunderstanding regarding your presence at the home as my guest. In the event that I ask you to vacate the home, you agree to immediately vacate the home and remove any and all items you have brought into the home as soon as possible” the contract read.
2014: Relationship Problems Begin To Surface
Nikki Bella made it clear when she started dating John Cena that she wanted to get married one day and have children, which is something that Cena didn’t agree with. Cena had been married once and was dragged through a lengthy divorce, which was believed to have been the main reason why he didn’t want to walk down the aisle again.
March 2014: Commitment Issues
Nikki realizes that she might be more committed to the relationship than John is since he has already stated that he won’t marry her. This obviously causes a rift between the two stars and leads to Cena meeting Nikki on a pier as part of Total Divas and Cena tells Nikki that he hasn’t completely taken marriage off the table.
May 2014: Nikki Bella’s Secret Past
Nikki made a big deal out of wanting marriage throughout their relationship, so it’s a shock for Cena when he finds out that Nikki has actually been married before. On an episode of Total Divas later that year, it’s revealed that Nikki actually eloped and married her high school sweetheart when she was much younger.
Their marriage only lasted for three years, but Cena isn’t happy that Nikki kept the secret from him and that she made such a huge deal about wanting to get married when much like him, she had been married before.
September 2014: Cena Has a Change of Mind
The year started out so bright for the couple when Cena revealed that he wouldn’t take marriage and kids off the table, but by September, he had seemingly changed his mind. Once again, it was on an episode of Total Divas that Cena and Nikki approached the subject and the former 16-time World Champion declared that he didn’t want children.
He told Nikki that he wasn’t sure that marriage was enough for her since she wanted kids and in his defense, he was always open about the fact that he didn’t want to have kids because of his hectic lifestyle and the fact that he was purely focused on his career.
Nikki’s sister Brie Bella had already married Daniel Bryan at this point, who she had dated since 2011 so the former Divas Champion felt left out because she wanted the ring and the husband as well, but Cena was dragging his feet.
“I’m trying to be a realist,” 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.”
It was also around this time that Nikki Bella decided to freeze her eggs, she had been made aware that Cena didn’t want any children anytime soon and she knew that her biological clock was ticking, so she opted to freeze some of her eggs so that she could have children in the future, something that Cena wasn’t a fan of when he found out.
2015: Nikki Bella’s Ex Comes Back Into The Picture
January 2015: Brie Asks Cena To Leave Nikki
Nikki’s sister Brie Bella finds out all about the fact that Cena doesn’t want to marry Nikki or have children and decides to visit him and tell him to leave her. The former Divas Champion later returns home and Cena informs her that he won’t make her choose between him and her family but Brie did ask him to break it off and Nikki isn’t happy about her twin meddling in her personal life.
September 2015: Dolph Zigger Makes His Move
Nikki Bella was known to have been in a relationship with Dolph Ziggler before she and John Cena went public back in 2012. Total Divas had aired all of the issues between the couple over the course of their two-year relationship and Dolph Ziggler decided that it was time to step in and win back his ex.
On an episode of Total Divas, it was shown that Ziggler approached Nikki at a WWE event and offered her marriage and children, something she said she wanted from Cena. Ziggler also tried to kiss his former girlfriend and the former Divas Champion decided to tell Cena about it and he didn’t react the way she expected.
December 2015: John Cena and Nikki Bella are pictured a number of times in public looking happy together, including the Sister’s premiere that the couple attended together.
2016: John Cena Reiterates He Doesn’t Want Children
April 2016: Cena speaks to Rolling Stone magazine and reiterates the fact that he doesn’t want children.
“I know I cannot handle raising a child, and just because everyone else is happy with children doesn’t mean that’s how I have to live. I’ve been upfront about this. I just have things I need to get done. It’s not negotiable. We’ve been to therapy over it. I don’t think it will ever be over with. I’m stubborn as f*ck and extremely selfish as well. I don’t want kids, I don’t want marriage.”
October 2016: John Cena becomes part of Nikki Bella’s feud with Carmella on SmackDown Live since it’s well-known at this point that the couple is in a relationship. Carmella states that the only reason Bella is successful if because of John Cena which seemingly isn’t true.
The rivalry between Carmella and Nikki had been heating up since her return at SummerSlam and now it gets personal which only ends when the two women face off in a No-Disqualification match.
2017: The Proposal
March 2017: The feud between Nikki Bella, John Cena, Miz, and Maryse begins. This includes a number of videos where The IT Couple dress up as Cena and Bella and make fun of the fact that Nikki Bella wants to marry John Cena but he doesn’t feel the same way. The feud takes them all the way to WrestleMania in a mixed tag team match.
April 2017: John Cena proposes to Nikki Bella at WrestleMania following their win over Miz and Maryse. After years of claiming that he didn’t want marriage or children and just a month after he reiterated that he wouldn’t marry for a second time, Cena got down on one knee and proposed to Nikki Bella in front of 70,000 fans at WrestleMania 33.
September 2017: Just five months after Cena publicly revealed his love for his fiance, the couple has one of the most awkward conversations of their relationship when they talk about his power of attorney. Not only does John Cena refuse to give Nikki Bella his power of attorney but he won’t even tell her who he has on his list and basically tells her it’s none of her business.
October 2017: Nikki Bella realizes the reality of having a relationship with John Cena since she confesses on an episode of Total Bella’s that the couple hasn’t spent a night together in the same bed since Cena proposed to her back in April. Bella was already aware that Cena spent a lot of time away from home, but in more than six months the couple were unable to find time to spend together which is where Bella realizes just how lonely her marriage is going to be.
December 2017: Despite not being able to spend a lot of time together throughout the year, Nikki Bella posts an Instagram update which confirms that the couple was at least able to spend their first Christmas as an engaged couple together.
2018: John Cena and Nikki Bella Announce Their Split
January 2018: Almost a year after Nikki Bella accepted Cena’s marriage proposal, the couple is finally able to celebrate. Both stars have hectic schedules, which is why it took nine months for them to finally celebrate their news with friends and family.
March 2018: Nikki Bella and John Cena continue the preparations for their wedding, which is due to take place in just a month’s time. There are a number of rumors circulating about whether or not their wedding will go ahead, but Bella papers over all the issues by posting an Instagram update with the caption “Mr & Mrs.”
April 15th, 2018: Nikki Bella and John Cena announced their split after almost six years together. The couple were due to get married but after failing to agree on a plan for their future the couple decided to call it quits.