Nikki Bella Says Artem Chigvintsev 'Makes My Heart Smile' in Loving Birthday Tribute
In celebration of his 37th birthday on Wednesday, the Total Bellas star dedicated a loving tribute to the Dancing with the Stars pro in an Instagram post.
“Happy Birthday to a man who not only makes my face smile, but my heart,” she wrote alongside multiple photos of the couple.
“You’re a special one Mr. Chigvintsev! Your relaxing, calm, patient, kind, happy energy and aura is contagious!” she continued.
Bella, 35, concluded: “You truly are the kindest soul I have ever met. Thank you for bringing a lot of sunshine into my life. Happy Birthday my Artem! @theartemc.”
In the slideshow of pictures, Bella and Chigvintsev wrapped their arms around one another as she sat on his lap in a field of wild flowers. The images captured the pair sharing sweet cuddles, including Bella giving him a kiss on the cheek.
But despite their close relationship, Bella has repeatedly insisted that while they are “dating,” she and the professional dancer are not boyfriend and girlfriend.
She confirmed their romance in March with an Instagram photo that featured her giving him a kiss on the cheek, but said later on The Bellas Podcast that “we are not engaged, we are not married, we’re not boyfriend and girlfriend, we don’t say, ‘I love you.’ ”
The reality star also told PEOPLE in early April that she and Chigvintsev were “having fun,” but that she was still “not fully taken.”
She made the distinction again later that month on her podcast, saying she took issue with reports that referred to him as her “boyfriend” after she accompanied Chigvintsev to Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson’s wedding.
“I posted a lot [at the wedding] with Artem. We did really cute snaps,” she said. “I was his date, right, we’re dating. But then everywhere it says, ‘Nikki Bella and boyfriend Artem’ — and I’m like, wait, boyfriend? Why are there labels? Why are they doing that?”
“I feel like for women in my situation who date and have fun, who want to get our Carrie and Samantha on and showcase it on our platforms, people automatically assume that we’re official,” she added.
“So he’s your boyfriend,” her twin sister Brie Bella countered. “If he has all these great qualities, then why not?”
“No,” Bella insisted. “Because I’m not ready for it.”
After her sibling protested, pointing out that they’re together “all the time,” Bella responded, “That doesn’t mean anything.”