Before calling off their six-year relationship just weeks before their destination wedding, Cena was open about hitting a rough patch.
“I think in relationships, you have highs and lows, and that was an extreme low,” Cena said on TODAY in February after watching a teaser from her E! series that showed a tearful conversation between the stars. “You have two choices. You either jump ship and start a new relationship or move forward and try to work through it. We’re gonna move forward and try to work through it.”
But despite any disagreements, Cena said the couple was “genuinely trying” to work through it.
“Like I said, I believe we both have some work to do, and we’re genuinely trying our best to work through it, so I’m very happy to say that it’s in a situation that we’re working through,” he said. “We haven’t yet jumped ship.”
Just last week, Cena said one of the reasons he proposed to Bella at Wrestlemania in front of 75,000 people was in part to clear up “misconceptions” about their relationship.
“Nicole and I have been through ups and downs. Relationships are hard, especially when your relationship is in the public, ” he said on Popcorn with Peter Travers. “Nicole had to deal with a lot of misconceptions about our relationship.”
“For all that she had to put up with, ‘Oh he’s not with you.’ ‘He doesn’t want to marry you.’ All the while we both know how we felt about each other,” he continued. “I wanted to do that for me, to be able to do it about the people I care about, but also for her, to let the world know how I feel about her.”
John Cena and Nikki Bella
And while promoting Blockers, Cena told PEOPLE he was letting Bella take the lead on wedding planning, saying if it was up to him ,they would have been married “yesterday.”
“I want the day to be important for Nicole,” he said. “So I want it yesterday, but we have a date. All that information rests on her shoulders. When the world knows it will be because she wants them to know. I’m involved in every single step of the process but I am like the last checkpoint.”
The couple announced their decision to split Sunday.
“While this decision was a difficult one, we continue to have a great deal of love and respect for one another,” the couple, who had been together for six years, said in a statement tweeted out by Bella. “We ask that you respect our privacy during this time in our lives.”
Hardship, loss, and humility are extremely difficult waters to navigate, but perseverance thru them builds a strength to withstand anything life throws your way.— John Cena (@JohnCena) April 16, 2018
On Monday, Cena reflected on the breakup in a tweet.
“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.
A source told PEOPLE that the Blockers actor had started getting cold feet.
“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 source said, adding that he “never should have proposed” and that Bella is “heartbroken.”