The WWE and Total Bellas stars, who were set to tie the knot, announced the end of their relationship on Sunday evening.
“After much contemplation and 6 years of being together Nikki Bella and John Cena announced today their decision to separate as a couple,” a statement posted on Nikki’s Instagram account read Sunday. “While this decision was a difficult one, we continue to have a great deal of love and respect for one another. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time in our lives.”
“We love you all,” Nikki captioned the post.
Early Monday morning, John took to Twitter to break his silence on the split.
“Hardship, loss, and humility are extremely difficult waters to navigate, but perseverance thru them builds a strength to withstand anything life throws your way,” he wrote.
On Sunday before the breakup news was announced, the WWE star shared a Walt Whitman quote with his social media followers that read, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine—and shadows will fall behind you.”
John told his fans, “Anybody feeling down, check out #WaltWhitman has always been a helpful voice in times of crisis. Beautifully wild thinker, and was certainly onto something with ideas like these.”
So were there any signs that the couple was headed for a split? It was just a year ago that John got down on one knee and proposed to Nikki at WrestleMania 33.
In January, the couple celebrated with their friends and family at an engagement party.
“Such a wonderful, meaningful, emotional day yesterday with the woman of my dreams and both of our families,” John tweeted. “I love you Nicole, you’ve made me realize the importance of togetherness.”
Nikki replied, “Aww my Love… It was so magical. Love you too John.”
But then at the end of January, a first look clip of Total Bellas season three showed the couple questioning their relationship.
“Isn’t marriage all about sacrifice?” Nikki said in the teaser, to which her sister Brie Bella replied, “It’s about time John starts making some.”
Fans then saw Nikki crying in the clip, asking John, “So we really want to call this off?”
Then in March, John hinted to E! News that work schedules were keeping the couple from spending a lot of time together.
“Relationships are hard,” John confessed. “I think we are where we are because we tackle a lot of tough stuff head on. We have a lot of tough moments and a lot of hard and difficult conversations, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love the girl and I can’t live without her.”
The couple has had their share of ups and downs over the years, as shown on Total Divas and Total Bellas.
On April 5, a longer Total Bellas season three sneak peek was released, showing more of Nikki and John’s tearful conversation about the future of their relationship.
“I would never force you not to be a mom,” John says in the video.
“I thought I could really sacrifice that and I just can’t,” Nikki tells John, to which he replies, “I’m not sure we should go through with this.”
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Now a source tells E! News of the split, “John never really wanted to get married in the first place but one of the biggest points of contention or disagreements they had through their relationship was that Nikki wanted to have kids and start a family and John didn’t. They were not on the same page in that respect.”
“Things have been brewing for a while between them,” the insider adds. “As John got more and more popular things changed and he got the Hollywood bug. He got more opportunities and he just isn’t the same person now that he promised Nikki he’d be for her.”
The source continues, “Even when he was working long distance it became an issue, he wasn’t giving her what she needed emotionally.”
What’s your reaction to the couple’s split? Did you see this coming? Sound off in the comments!
Season 3 of Total Bellas premieres Sunday, May 20 at 9 p.m., only on E!