John Cena 'Is a Romantic' and Wanted to Marry Shay Shariatzadeh 'Out of the Limelight': Source

The actor and WWE star "was dazzled by" new wife Shay Shariatzadeh, a source tells PEOPLE

John Cena’s marriage to Shay Shariatzadeh was perfect timing for the WWE star.

An entertainment source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue “it was love at first sight” for Cena, who met Shariatzadeh, an engineer, in Canada while filming his 2019 comedy Playing with Fire.

“He is a romantic,” says the source, adding the couple “knew they would marry, so the [private ceremony] wasn’t a surprise. He just wanted to do it out of the limelight.”

The newlyweds tied the knot on Oct. 12 in Tampa, Florida, with a small ceremony at the downtown office of attorney Dilip Patel, who served as the officiant, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

  • For more about John Cena and his wife, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Shariatzadeh, who was born in Iran and raised in Canada where she currently works for the enterprise software company Sonatype, “is smart, has her own life and career and thinks for herself,” says the source.

Her attributes are what “challenges” Cena, adds the insider. “He was dazzled by her.”

John and Shay Shariatzadeh
Shay Shariatzadeh, John Cena. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Shay Shariatzadeh and John Cena
Shay Shariatzadeh and John Cena. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The couple has kept their romance low-key, although they made their red carpet debut together in October 2019 for the premiere of Playing with Fire.

The actor looked dapper in a navy blue suit with a white button-down and red tie while the engineer dazzled in a silver and black sequined dress.

Cena told Entertainment Tonight while on the red carpet, “It’s a wonderful day for a movie premiere and I got a beautiful date.”

“What’s truly special about this one is that, no matter what projects I’m involved in the future, this one will always have a special meaning because I got to film a special project and meet someone special,” he said.

The actor also told Extra at the time, “It’s a wonderful night to be at the movies. I’m here with somebody special.”

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