Entertainment TV Nikki Bella Defends 2-Year Engagement with Artem Chigvintsev After Claims She Doesn't Want to Marry Nikki Bella said they've been putting their money into son Matteo's education and building a house, which has caused them to rethink how much they want to spend on a wedding By Joelle Goldstein Joelle Goldstein Instagram Twitter Joelle Goldstein is the Staff Editor of TV for PEOPLE Digital. She has been with the brand for five years, beginning her time as a digital news writer, where she covered everything from entertainment news to crime stories and royal tours. Since then, she has worked as a writer-reporter on the Human Interest team and an associate editor on the TV team. In her current role, Joelle helps oversee all things TV, and enjoys being able to say she has to watch The Kardashians, America's Got Talent, Love Is Blind and Dancing with the Stars for her "work" responsibilities. Prior to joining PEOPLE, Joelle was employed at The Hollywood Reporter, where she was co-nominated at the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Magazine Article for feature cover story. She graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor's degree in Television-Radio (and an appearance in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Final Four!) People Editorial Guidelines Published on March 3, 2022 07:41 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Nikki Bella is setting the record straight about her future with fiancé Artem Chigvintsev. On Thursday, the Total Bellas star addressed the speculation about her two-year engagement with Chigvintsev after claims were made that she didn't want to marry the Dancing with the Stars pro. Opening up on a special edition of her and sister Brie Bella's The Bellas Podcast, Nikki, 38, confirmed that she still has every intention to say "I do" to Chigvintsev, 39. However, their urgency to marry is not the priority it was once before, due in part to the birth of their son Matteo, 18 months, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "I will be getting married, and I can't wait," Nikki said on the podcast. "I do me, for me. So that means I'll marry Artem when I want, for me and Teo and him, for my life." "When Artem's on tour, when Artem's gone, I get really sad," the AGT: Extreme judge shared. "I love my life with Artem in it and I can't imagine Artem not in my life... I truly feel like, deep down in my heart, I've found the person that I do want to spend the rest of my life with and I do want to get married to him." Added Chigvintsev: "When one proposes to another, they definitely have a better understanding of what that person wants to do. I proposed to you, knowing how I [felt] and what I wanted." Artem Chigvintsev and Nikki Bella. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Nikki Bella Reveals the 'One Promise' She Made Artem Chigvintsev That Keeps Postponing Their Wedding Continuing, Nikki revealed, "There are also things that Artem and I don't talk about. Like, financially, we have so much more going on in our lives to think, for Artem and I, for the past two years, of putting our money into a wedding — it's probably the main reason we've hesitated." "We just never wanted to say to people, 'We don't wanna spend the money on that right now,' " she went on. "We're building a home that costs us four to five times more than we thought, and we want Matteo to have an amazing education, so we started to put all of our money in other places and then we're like, 'Do we really want to spend all this on a wedding?' " When their nuptials do finally come, the mom of one said, "I want it to be a dream. I don't want to do something little because it's all that you can afford right now... We have just never really wanted to say that." Chigvintsev also chimed in on the matter, telling the Bella sisters, "I don't feel like I have to say it to anybody." Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev with their son Matteo. Artem Chigvintsev/Instagram Nikki's defense comes after she appeared on a recent episode of E! News' Daily Pop, where she said, "I don't want to be someone who goes through a divorce." "The day I say 'I do', and give vows, I wanna make sure it's the rest of my life," Nikki recalled of her appearance on the show. "Sometimes your perspective changes when you have children ... your kid becomes number one, but also you think of divorce and how does that affect my kid?" "'I don't want to get divorced' turned into 'I don't want to marry you,' " she said, later claiming that her praise for Chigvintsev as a father was somehow interpreted as, "'Oh, she found her baby daddy and okay, now I'm content.' " Speaking on her podcast, Nikki clarified, "Artem and I already have this beautiful life together... but I still want to get married, don't get me wrong." She also noted how she's been "very careful" with their relationship after getting "traumatized with a public breakup." (Prior to Chigvintsev, Nikki was previously set to marry John Cena but they called off their engagement in 2018.) Nikki Bella Explains Why She Is Putting Her 'Dream Wedding' to Fiancé Artem Chigvintsev on Hold Brie also defended her sister, pointing out how COVID caused so many weddings to be put on hold or delayed, which has since made people realize "they don't need a certificate to feel married." "Back in the day, people would race to the courthouse to get married... Nowadays we're all very progressive," Brie said. "You and Artem very much act married. I sometimes even call him your husband just because it feels that way." "Times are different nowadays. No one expects people to get married anymore, even if they have children. It's like, being partners is okay," she said, adding that just because Nikki doesn't race to a courthouse doesn't mean she doesn't want to get married. "I don't want to get married at a courthouse!" Nikki exclaimed. "I wanna get married in Paris with a gorgeous couture dress and Artem in a gorgeous couture tux." Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev on Dancing with the Stars. David Livingston/Getty The former WWE star met Chigvintsev when they were partnered on Dancing with the Stars in 2017. They made their relationship official in July 2019 after dating with "no labels" for nearly four months and were engaged four months later. In July 2020, they welcomed Matteo. Nikki has previously spoken about wedding planning several times, explaining that she and Chigvintsev would "love it to be in the fall" but chose to postpone it due to other commitments. In November, Nikki told Entertainment Tonight that it'll likely be another year before she and the Russian-born dancer become husband and wife because they wanted his parents to attend. "The one promise I made [Chigvintsev] before we can plan is that his parents can attend," she told ET. "And with where the world's at right now, and trying to get two Russian parents into the country, it's almost impossible. So the day I can get two visas is the day we will set our date and say, 'I do.'" In her most recent wedding update last month, Nikki told PEOPLE that they're "looking at Paris right now" for their nuptials. "We feel like it's the easiest to get his parents there," she said. "We're figuring out dates, so we'll see, but we're thinking that Paris would be the perfect place."