It’s been a few days since John Cena and Nikki Bella announced their split, and we know everyone (including us) is still wondering what lead to the unexpected breakup. The truth is the former couple (insert crying emoji face) doesn’t owe us any answers right now… or ever. But some interesting things about Cena and Bella’s relationship and breakup have surfaced recently. Let’s just dig right in.
That 75-page cohabitation contract
People magazine dug up a piece of key footage that might point back to a source of tension between Cena and Bella. Taken from Bella’s E! reality TV show Total Divas, the clip shows Bella and Cena discussing the logistics of them moving in together. One of the major dramatic turns on the show is that Cena makes it a requirement that if she is going to move in with him, she has to sign a 75-page contract. Yes, you read that correctly. Seventy-five. Pages.
As People notes, this was a key part of Bella’s Total Divas Season 1 storyline (the couple’s growing relationship was a primary arc on the show as a whole), but that doesn’t mean this contract should just be accepted as a normal thing or OK thing. This wasn’t some dramatic, for-the-cameras plot twist for Cena, who explained to Bella at the time that the contract was a way for him to look out for his family — at the cost of Bella doing ridiculous things per the contract like allowing Cena to refer to her as a “guest.” It’s hard to imagine a contract like that would sit well with anyone considering moving in with their significant other, and indeed, Bella voiced doubts to her twin sister, Brie at the time, saying, “I just don’t understand it. […] It kind of makes me second-guess where John and I stand in our relationship.”
Cold feet & big dreams
Meanwhile, in Page Six‘s analysis of what went wrong, they attempt to connect the dots between Cena’s first marriage to Elizabeth Huberdeau, which ended in 2012, the same year he started dating Bella. According to friends, who went on the record anonymously, Cena has been pretty outspoken about his skepticism when it comes to remarrying. Getting engaged and planning a wedding can be stressful and confusing as it is; add these nerves to a reluctance to get married again, and it’s understandable you might buckle.
An insider told People it was a classic case of cold feet. “[Bella] 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 also implied Cena’s more interested in growing his career than growing with Bella, adding, “In that case, he never should’ve proposed, let alone in front of millions of people. Now she’s heartbroken,” they said. “This was supposed to be the happiest time of her life. He ruined it and blew everything up.”
Both Cena and Bella have remained somewhat mum about the split. Bella re-posted the joint statement the couple released on her Instagram; Cena posted a meme on his Instagram in the immediate wake of the announcement, and has since shared an inspiring quote about overcoming obstacles. But one thing is for sure: These two had an uphill battle from the start. We will never know the full story unless they tell us. For now, we can only wonder if something as silly as a housing contract or as hurtful as having cold feet were the reasons behind this couple’s split.