John Cena & Nikki Bella's Split: Why She Ended It, and How He's Winning Her Back
After calling off their engagement, both Cena and Bella have admitted that they still have love for one another
After calling off their engagement in April just weeks ahead of their planned wedding, both Cena and Bella have admitted that they love each other.
“I want to be with her,” Cena said on Monday, while Bella separately said she “truly hopes one day that we can work it out and get back together.”
So how did they get to this point? Here is everything we know about their split:
Bella, 34, and Cena, 40, announced the end of their one-year engagement and six-year relationship in a joint statement on April 15.
“While this decision was a difficult one, we continue to have a great deal of love and respect for one another,” the couple said in a statement tweeted out by Bella. “We ask that you respect our privacy during this time in our lives.”
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The professional wrestlers got engaged in April 2017 on live TV during a couple’s match. Their destination wedding was scheduled for May 5.
Following the announcement, a source told PEOPLE that Cena started getting cold feet as the wedding date drew near.
“She never gave him an ultimatum. He talked a really good game about having changed, about having his priorities straight, about knowing what’s important, and that it was her. But as the day got closer, it was like he just went back to who he’s always been — which is someone who puts himself first, always,” the insider said. “He’s an incredibly dedicated, driven, ambitious guy. And for the longest time he said he didn’t think he had room in his life for a spouse or kids. It seems like in the end that was still the truth.”
The source continued, “But in that case, he never should’ve proposed, let alone in front of millions of people. Now she’s heartbroken.”
The source also confirmed that Bella was the one who pulled the plug on their wedding.
Why They Split
Sources told PEOPLE that her decision to break up was due to their differing stances on marriage and having kids. Bella was vocal about her desire to become a mom, while Cena was steadfast in his decision to never have kids.
“Nikki and John wanted different things,” a source said. “It’s clear that they had issues over what they wanted from a marriage and from family. She wants kids.”
“Look, it’s his prerogative to not want kids,” the source continued. “But in that case, all of this should have stopped so long ago. They should have broken up after a year. And really that’s on both of them: She shouldn’t have tried to twist herself into someone she’s not just to please him. And he shouldn’t have given her false hope that he was going to change.”
TV Wedding Canceled
There was a TV special planned about their wedding set to air in July, but the concept was scrapped after the couple announced their split.
An insider told PEOPLE the extravagant wedding they had planned was yet another contributing factor to their breakup.
“The wedding they called off no longer felt like their wedding— it was a wedding for TV, a wedding for publicity, a wedding for the fans and for viewers almost,” the insider said. “That’s what made them able to walk away from it— it didn’t even feel like their day anymore.”
RELATED VIDEO: John Cena Addresses His Split from Ex-Fiancée Nikki Bella, Says Calling Off Engagement ‘Sucks’
Bella Leans on Her Twin Sister Brie for Support
Bella made her first public appearance at the Nirvana Food and Wine Festival in Arizona on April 21, when she and twin sister Brie Bella hosted a rosé tasting party in partnership with their wine line, Belle Radici.
Speaking with PEOPLE, Brie admitted that she did not foresee the couple’s breakup.
“I didn’t,” said Brie, 34. “I just think how busy everyone’s schedule is, and unfortunately with John and Nicole, they are two people in their careers who are really dominating what they’re doing, and in doing that, it means you’re always on the road.”
“So I didn’t see it coming, but it’s also understandable that it’s hard when you never see someone,” she continued.
Bella Moves in With Her Sister
Bella revealed she’s been staying with her sister in the weeks since the split.
“Staying at Brie’s because you all know why,” Bella said in the video posted May 8, referring to her twin sister’s home in San Diego.
“I just wanted to say hi to you guys. I know I’ve been MIA, and I’ve kind of been hiding out. But I wanted to reach out to you all and thank you all for your love and support,” she continued. “Can’t tell you how much it meant to me, especially through a really difficult time.”
Speculation of a Hoax
Despite speculation that the couple called off their wedding as a publicity stunt for their show Total Bellas — “I don’t buy any of these reasons for the breakup,” one person commented on Bella’s latest Instagram — a source told PEOPLE “they truly broke up.”
“Cancelling the wedding was not a hoax or a publicity stunt,” said the source, adding that they lost deposits on the wedding planned for May 5. “This hasn’t been a quick or cheap decision, and it was a real one.”
On Monday, Cena said he’s now open to the idea of having children.
“I love her. I want to be with her. I want to make her my wife,” he said on the Today show. “I want to be the father of her children. I just want us to work.”
Bella also admitted she still loved Cena while appearing at the NBCUniversal Upfront Presentation in New York City Monday.
“John is such an amazing man. He really is the love of my life,” Bella told Entertainment Tonight. “I truly hope one day that we can work it out and get back together. I think there is hope.”
And a source said that taking a break could make them stronger than ever.
“In the end, calling it off is going to be the best thing that ever happened to their relationship,” the source said. “She’ll take him back, definitely. She loves him, and she knows he loves her desperately. They’ll get back together and they’ll get married.”
Cena is now working to get her back and repair any damage to the relationship.
“He knows he screwed up, and he knows he has to fix this,” the source said.
Total Divas returns this fall, and season 3 of Total Bellas premieres May 20 at 9 p.m. ET, both on E!