Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev Say There Was 'Hesitation' Over Son Appearing on TV: 'We're Very Protective'

Nikki Bella opens up about her and Artem Chigvintsev's "hesitation" with having their 2-year-old son appear in any of their TV projects

Nikki Bella Says She and Artem Chigvintsev 'Sacrifice' to Give Son Matteo 'Structure'
Photo: Nikki Bella/instagram

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev want to keep their son's life private.

Speaking with PEOPLE exclusively about Thursday's premiere of the E! special Nikki Bella Says I Do, Nikki, 39, explained that the newlyweds don't want their 2-year-old son Matteo growing up on TV.

"We've always been very protective about — we don't want Matteo to grow up on reality TV," the Total Bellas alum tells PEOPLE.

Explaining that it's "very big" for her and husband Chigvintsev, she explains, "We want him to be able to make that decision one day."

Nikki continues, "Even though he's in moments, we didn't let him film a lot. Even in a series, we're very protective of it. I definitely think there's other parts of Artem and I that we could [explore]."

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NIKKI BELLA SAYS I DO -- "Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties" Episode TBD -- Pictured: (l-r)
Brandon Hickman/E! ENTERTAINMENT

Reflecting on their experience with parenting so far, the couple feels they've learned a lot about being "selfless" in this part of their lives.

"I think for Artem and I both, I think we're very similar on what we've learned about ourselves — how selfless you can be," she explains. "Especially, I think, because we had Matteo in our late 30s, and you're used to a certain lifestyle or routine or career."

Artem adds, "I think becoming a parent, you know that there is a little one who is depending on you 100%. So you're there, and the worries — you always worry."

Nikki agrees, noting, "I think what I've learned from Matteo is how selfless I truly can be. You're just willing to give it all up for this one special human being."

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev Celebrate First Christmas as a Married Couple with Son Matteo
Nikki Bella/instagram

When chatting with PEOPLE last month, Nikki opened up about how she and Artem "brought in a sleep trainer when he was six months," to create a good foundation for their now toddler, "and she changed my life."

"She even taught me things as a mom, and I just knew that I would never change it. When I book flights, flights are around nap time and bedtime," she explained to PEOPLE.

Sticking to the method is "tiring," but Nikki noted that, "When we stick to his schedule, we all are just happier."

"Matteo sleeps 11 to 12 hours a night, he takes two to three-hour naps each day, and he eats well," she happily noted, adding that the key is to keep him "active" between naptime and bedtime.

"Whether he's doing arts and crafts or he's outside playing because his energy's so high, I need to tire him out," she shared. "Even if it's, 'Mom needs to do errands,' and he has to come with me. I force him to walk when we have to walk on the streets or in shops. And it's really helped Artem and me with our busy life as entertainers. Matteo's never gotten off track."

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