Before Nikki Bella moved in to John Cena’s home back in 2013, he made her sign a 75-page cohabitation agreement that said she would have to vacate his home with her things as soon as possible upon their potential split.
The document and its signing became a huge part of the former couple’s storyline on season 1 of the E! reality show Total Bellas. Nikki expressed her confusion about the contract to her twin sister Brie Bella in one episode.
“I just don’t understand it. I just don’t know what to feel. I’m so confused,” Nikki said. “It kind of makes me second-guess where John and I stand in our relationship. I love John but maybe he knows that he doesn’t want to be with me forever?”
One of the line items that upset Nikki the most was Cena’s referral to her as “a guest.”
“Although I do not wish to be formal, I do not want there to be any misunderstanding regarding your presence at the home as my guest,” he wrote. “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. ”
Wondered Nikki to Brie, “Is that all I’m ever going to be in [John’s] heart, is a guest? Am I ever going to have that permanent spot in the rest of [his] life?”
But Cena explained he had a good reason for the contract, and that was to protect his fortune so he could always provide for the people he loves.
“This is what my life is. This is what it’s become,” Cena told Nikki. “You met my family. You think my mom paid for that house herself? She didn’t. My brother lives in that house, they’re expecting a child. My younger brother, he’s got medical problems. I make sure he’s okay. I always tell them, I’m a horrible brother, but I try to be the best provider that I can. I just don’t want to ever be in a position where that’s in jeopardy.”
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That statement seemed to make all the difference for Nikki, who eventually signed the document.
“I had no idea that my man supports this many people,” she confessed. “If I had the money, I’d want to support my family, and I’d be damned to let anyone take that away from my family.”
Later, in an episode that aired in 2016, Cena brought up the document again, likening it to a prenuptial agreement (Cena divorced wife Elizabeth Huberdeau after three years of marriage in 2012, the same year he started dating Nikki).
“Having been through that process, here is how I view it. It is like buying a handgun for home defense. It gives you a sense of security, and it gives you a failsafe in case something happens,” Cena said, according to Fox Sports. “And those who buy a handgun for self defense pray, pray they never have to use it. Without it, it’s a dog fight.”
“I had to have [Nikki] sign an agreement to live in the house,” he continued. “And that’s – it wasn’t a one-page, it’s a 75-page agreement.”
Cena and Nikki announced that they called off their engagement Sunday, a year after he proposed during WrestleMania 33.
The couple, who were together for six years, were supposed to marry May 5 during their planned destination wedding.
RELATED VIDEO: John Cena and Nikki Bella End Engagement Weeks Before Destination Wedding
An insider previously told PEOPLE she was the one who pulled the plug on their wedding.
“John acted more and more like he was doing her a favor by somehow conceding to go ahead and marry her,” the insider said. “[Nikki] doesn’t need a pity proposal, a pity wedding, a pity husband. She’s a phenomenal, tremendous woman.”
During an appearance on Today in March, Cena once again brought up Nikki’s signing of the document, harkening it to one of the reasons he knew she was the one.
“I asked Nicole to move in with me, simply because we both were living busy lives and I wanted to show her I was ready to be more serious,” he told Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. “I was ready for her to live in the space I call mine and share everything and do all that.”
“I was very abrasive and stern and she had to sign this huge, crazy agreement to come in the front door … just some sort of thing where I would be protected in case of a disaster,” he recalled. “She [signed it], totally without question, and it made me feel super bad, which I should have, but it also made me realize – and this was early on in our relationship – it made me realize, ‘This is one young woman I should not let get out of my life.’ Because when she says, ‘I’m with you because I love you, here’s proof I would still like to be here.’ “