John Cena and Nikki Bella have ended their engagement.
Cena proposed to Bella a year ago at the end of a key match at WrestleMania 33; Cena performed in the match with Bella, a fellow professional wrestler and his real-life girlfriend, and after they won, he got down on one knee and popped the question.
On Sunday, April 15, the former couple released a joint statement to Us Weekly, announcing their decision to split.
“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,” the statement read.
Cena has been married once before. He and Elizabeth Huberdeau met in high school. The two married in 2009 and divorced in 2012.
Here is what you need to know:
1. They Were High School Sweethearts
John Cena’s first wife was not famous and was not associated with the WWE. Rather, Elizabeth Huberdeau was John Cena’s high school sweetheart, according to Bleacher Report.
John Cena has rarely ever talked about his relationship with Huberdeau, so we don’t know which high school they met at. After all, John Cena attended two high schools: first Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and then Cushing Academy, a boarding school in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, both of which are co-ed.
The first time we heard that Cena was getting married came while he was promoting his 2009 movie 12 Rounds.
While promoting the movie with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Cena dropped the big news, simply saying, “I’m gonna get married this year.” We later found out that the wedding was to take place in July, five months after that interview was conducted.
2. They Were Married in 2009 & Divorced in 2012
Cena and Huberdeau’s wedding took place on July 11th, 2009.
Three years later, in May 2012, John Cena filed for divorce, and the divorce was finalized in July 2012. Huberdeau was “blindsided” when Cena “unexpectedly filed to end their 3-year marriage,” according to TMZ.
Cena’s divorce was actually worked into his WWE storyline that year. At the time, Cena was feuding with The Rock, who he had lost to at WrestleMania. Cena subsequently said on WWE programming that this loss sent him into a really dark place.
“That match sent my life into a tailspin, both professionally and personally, because I could not get over my obsession with the fact that I had failed,” John Cena told The Rock.
The divorce was not mentioned in this segment, but when the WWE put together a promo package, they cut to screenshots of articles about John Cena’s divorce right after Cena said this line to The Rock, with the clear implication being Cena’s divorce can be blamed in part on him losing to The Rock at WrestleMania.
3. Huberdeau Thought That Cena Cheated on Her
In June 2012, the summer that John Cena’s divorce was going down, Huberdeau said that she believed Cena was cheating on her, according to TMZ. The site caught up with Huberdeau’s lawyer, who made the allegation.
“Now, Liz’s attorney Raymond Rafool tells TMZ … they’ve been getting tips Cena had been messing around during the marriage … which, if true, could be grounds for Liz to challenge the prenup,” TMZ reported.
Huberdeau’s lawyer told TMZ that they were looking for concrete proof that Cena had been unfaithful, but we never found out if they discovered anything. Though it seemed like things might be heading towards an ugly legal battle, a few weeks later, the site reported that Cena and Huberdeau had resolved things privately.
“All matters have been settled and resolved amicably,” Huberdeau’s lawyer told TMZ.
4. A Home Remodel Might Have Been the Final Straw
In the summer of 2012, TMZ published a report titled “John Cena: Why His Marriage Fell Apart.”
The report states that the reason Cena’s relationship with his wife didn’t work out was because “the house they were remodeling was sending them to the poor house and the courthouse.”
Apparently, Cena said that the remodeling lead to “unbearable strife” between himself and Elizabeth, and this lead them down the path to divorce. TMZ reported that one of the contractors filed a lien on the house for $110,000 and said Cena did not pay him for the work.
5. Nikki Bella Was Also Previously Married to Her High School Sweetheart
Strangely enough, both John Cena and Nikki Bella have been married once before, specifically to their high-school sweetheart, and in both cases, the marriage lasted three years.
At least, that’s if we are to believe Total Divas, the E! reality series which documents the life of WWE stars. In a 2014 episode of the show, Nikki Bella reveals to her family for the first time the fact that when she was 20 years old, she secretly married her high school sweetheart.
“We drove to Vegas, did it, and even when I started to walk down the aisle, I knew, ‘This is a huge mistake, how can I get out of it,’ and I couldn’t,” Bella said.
In the show, John Cena apparently did not know about the marriage, and she finally revealed it to him for the first time.
“I don’t care,” Cena said. “What you did before you met me is what you did before you met me.”
It’s pretty clear that major elements of Total Divas are staged, though, so it’s unclear whether John Cena really was finding out about it for the first time on screen and if that really was his reaction.