When wrestling stars Nikki Bella and John Cena split two years ago, there was a lot of speculation about what led to their devastating broken engagement and, later, their failed reconciliation. Some reports even claimed Nikki wa trying to score ratings for her reality show, "Total Bellas."
Now she's is explaining the real reasons that led to their sad end. And, perhaps surprising to some, she's not blaming John.
In her new book, "Incomparable" — which she wrote with twin sister Brie Bella — Nikki explains that during her six-year romance with John, they "struggled to align" their goals for the relationship. However, she writes, as reported by DailyMail.com, "Rather than turn and face that, I pushed it under the carpet and figured I could pretend like it wasn't there. Because I was terrified of losing my love, I stuffed my desire for marriage and kids as deep as I could."
As Nikki has said before, John had initially made it clear that marriage and kids "weren't on the menu for him… that's tough, though," she writes in her memoir, "because if you're inclined that way, then the more you grow to love someone, the more you want it all. I stopped giving voice to those needs, though. I was worried my ex would call it off and let me go. And while I wanted those things very badly — I just wanted him more."
DailyMail.com reports that Nikki also recounts the time John refused to leave her side as she recovered from a 2016 surgery for a herniated disc in her neck, how "he wouldn't let anyone send him home" and even "helped me go to the bathroom, even though it made me want to die with embarrassment."
Though grateful for his help, the former "Total Divas" star was also miserable. "I couldn't stand to feel so needy, even though it seemed to make him so happy to take care of me," she writes. "I wish I had seen that experience for what it was: an opportunity for me to identify, and then talk about, how undeserving and unworthy I felt, how terrified it made me feel to be dependent. How uncomfortable it makes me feel when I'm not working for affection but instead just basking in love."
Nikki also explains how she lost herself. She was so singularly focused on not losing John that it came at the expense of her own wants and needs. "By continually putting him first, and choking my own voice back, I didn't give him the respect of actually hearing about how I was doing," she explains in her book, as reported by Us Weekly. "I didn't give him, or our relationship, the benefit of the doubt that maybe it could handle more."
John, she writes, "had no idea I wasn't getting what I needed because I never said anything." She was convinced that she had to fit "into the contours of [John's] very busy and big life," she further explains. "That was paramount to me, pleasing and keeping him content, not voicing my own needs."
Nikki made assumptions. "Because I assumed he wasn't willing to make sacrifices, I did not persistently ask. Because I was so fixated on what I believed he wanted, I made many decisions on his behalf, even though I was losing myself in the process," she writes.
She also admits she has "many regrets about that relationship." The main one? "I wish I'd known myself better before I got into it. I wish I'd understood how the patterns in my life, and my relationship with my own father, informed how I react to love, boundaries, and feelings of abandonment," she explains, as reported by DailyMail.com. "I think I could have averted some of what happened. Because my dad left when I was 15, I learned how to fill in the holes. I expect to be left behind and to find a way to not confront or acknowledge those feelings of loneliness and abandonment."
When she competed on season 25 of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2017, she "really woke up," she writes. She lived alone in an apartment that ABC provided for her. "I liked how it felt to be that independent girl. I had been sitting in a jail cell without realizing that the door wasn't locked and that I had built it myself," she explains, as reported by Us.
"After 'Dancing with the Stars,' I felt like I'd found myself. I didn't want to lose her again. … 'Dancing with the Stars' also unlocked for me was the idea that I can stand on my own," Nikki adds in her book. "I think it's partly growing up as a twin, and then becoming a star based on that twindom, but being involved with a mega-star [like John] also undermined some of my faith in myself."