John Cena and Nikki Bella, the WWE’s highest-profile couple, have ended their relationship and broken off their engagement after a six-year relationship.
The pair revealed as much to US Weekly, stating that they still love and respect each other but have decided to call it quits.
“While this decision was a difficult one, we continue to have a great deal of love and respect for one another,” they told the said publication in a statement. “We ask that you respect our privacy during this time in our lives.”
Cena and his now ex-girlfriend Nikki—named Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace—began seeing each other in 2012, and the 16-time world champion proposed to her during last year’s WrestleMania. They were also seen together during WrestleMania 34 this month, but are now poised to go their separate ways.
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This does not come as a total surprise, though, as they had already set tongues wagging when Nikki asked: "So we really want to call this off?" when the trailer for the new season of Total Bellas released earlier this year.
Cena confirmed that plans were still afoot and that they were "gonna move forward and try to work through it" on NBC's Today show back in February. However, things have taken a sharp turn despite their efforts.
He had also spoken to US Weekly about their relationship last month, explaining that it wasn't an easy experience.
“Relationships are hard. Don’t ever think that love is easy. Love is beautiful, but we’ve had to come to the realization after being together for five years that love is not easy,” he said.
“We work every day on us. We have our problems just like everybody else. Some of our problems are very public, some of them aren’t. But we work every day on us. Anytime I get upset, I always just realize that I can’t live without her and I love her and that’s why I cave in on a lot of stuff.
“It takes being able to mesh two lives. I would never ever want Nicole to be in a position where she says, ‘I’m holding you back from doing this because I feel it’s wrong for us.’ And I would never say that to her.
"That’s why she’s super busy and sometimes we don’t see each other for months at a time, but when we do see each other, it’s our time together. I think, for now at least, that is certainly what’s making this work.”
Many were expecting the pair to tie the knot anytime from now, and this latest development is quite disappointing. But that's just how things turn out sometimes, and it will probably leave WWE writers scrambling for a few mad storylines in the coming days.