It feels like men often get all the credit in the world of extreme sports. The World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) has a reputation for big and beefy athletes with the masculinity to match. Even if they are acting, their wrestlers put on a constant show with drama and insane physicality.
In the world of boy’s clubs, some girls refuse to sit back and wait to be handed the opportunity to show the world what they are made of. Nikki and Brie Bella, best known as the dynamic duo “The Bellas,” have broken into the world of professional wrestling and won’t tolerate the boys’ club. The Bella Twins are here to make waves, and they will not settle until they have caused a tsunami.
The Bella Twins’ Early Days
These famous identical twins started as masters of deception. The sisters, Nikki and Brie, did not have an equal start. Brie took the ring as the star of the show, and mid-match the girls would switch places. Nikki would take her sister’s place to ensure that she reigned victorious, because like a good sister, she wanted to make sure her twin took home every title she possibly could. It seems like a no-brainer, right?
It did not take long for the jig to be up. Their ruse was discovered, and their fans learned that Brie was not just a superhuman wrestler, but she was also a twin who played mind games on her biggest fans. When their secret was out, these sisters proved themselves to be top-notch competitors. It did not take long for each sister to start bringing home championship titles, ultimately competing against their best pal – their twin.
Sixteen Minutes Apart
The two shared a painful childhood, but before that, they shared a womb. The Bella twins were born sixteen minutes apart from one another. They were born Nicole and Brianna Garcia-Colace but started to go by the name Bella when they made it big in the world of professional wrestling. Their names reflected their Mexican-Italian heritage.
Nikki is the older of the two sisters. She came in hot when she entered this world, though she would not be the first of the sisters to enter the space of professional athletics. Their upbringing might provide some insight into why they decided to go for the extremes and conquer all of their competition.
Early Days at Home
The twins were born in San Diego, California, on November 21st, 1983. Their family soon uprooted their lives and moved to a farm in Scottsdale, Arizona. The girls grew up playing youth soccer and attending Chaparral High School. They spent most of their time sheltered and tucked away from the world on their family’s farm.
It was here that they learned the value of hard work and dedication to their craft. “We were raised with horses, cows, and chickens,” Brie told a fitness and lifestyle label. “We’d have to wake up before school and feed the animals, come home and feed the animals, and then go straight to soccer practice.” That is next-level dedication!
Both Nikki and Brie are natural-born athletes. Between shifts working at the farm, they were at school at soccer practice. They were so dedicated to the sport that one sister even played at the college level. When the sisters graduated, they moved to San Diego, California, to attend school, where Nikki joined her college’s team.
They started playing the sport when they were in fifth grade and followed their passion for years. They each played competitively throughout high school. Although Nikki sustained an injury on the field in her final year of high school, she led the Grossmont College team to the Pacific Coast Conference Championship and was even scouted by an Italian professional league.
Meet My Folks!
Nikki had the option to play professional soccer but turned down the opportunity because Brie convinced her to follow the path of athletic drama and wrestling. She and her sister appeared on WWE Divas, but not before making an appearance on Meet My Folks.
Meet My Folks was a bit of a competitive reality show. The gist was that three bachelors would spend time with their potential soulmates. They would start strong by spending time with the eligible bachelorette (or bachelor, no discrimination here!) and their family at home.
Born to Entertain
These sisters know they can put on a good show. They are entertaining, and they know it. They were told from a very young age that they are fun to watch. They would often jump back and forth, making funny snarks to one another. This was how they showed their sisterly love. “Everyone kept saying, ‘Man, you guys should do reality,’ And I was always like, ‘I don’t know,’” Brie said in an interview.
They received an offer to go on the reality show Meet My Folks. They were ecstatic and excited to get involved. “When you’re 19, and they want to give you a paycheck to have some fun? My sister and I were all about it — and sure enough, we felt so comfortable in front of the cameras,” Brie stated. The show was a hit, and the rest led to their future success!
Freddie Prinze Jr. Wrote Their First Match
A major heartthrob from I Know What You Did Last Summer also spent some time writing for the WWE — he even wrote for their Bella’s first-ever match. Freddie Prinze Jr. was writing for the WWE at the time of their debut, and he helped get them off the ground and into the spotlight.
He helped strategize their best methods for portraying identical twins on television. His ideas were groundbreaking and as a result, they were able to keep up their sneaky routine for a long time. That’s the magic of the days before social media! He crafted the idea to have one twin on stage while the other hid under the ring. It worked for ages!
Fantasy Becomes Reality
It is wonderful when something that starts as just a plotline ends up becoming a reality! A couple of years after they began their wrestling career, a storyline was crafted for Brie and Daniel Bryan. He was known to chant, “yes, yes, yes!” What started as a storyline blossomed into something more.
Though it started as a storyline, they hit it off. “Actually, it was shortly before our storyline ended, we kind of started dating each other. We kind of started off real slow, but now we’ve been together for two and half years,” Brie shared in an interview. They were married in 2014 and are now happily parenting their daughter Birdie, born in May 2017, and their son Buddy, born in August 2020.
Nikki Broke Up With John Cena Because He Didn’t Want Kids
Brie was not the only sister to find love in the WWE, though hers did not last as long as her twin’s did. Nikki dated John Cena on and off for years from 2012 to 2018. Cena asked Nikki out to dinner after they became friends through the WWE world, but they called it off for some significant differences in family planning goals.
The root of their differences revolves around whether or not to have kids. Cena did not want children and was vocal, stating, “Just because everyone else is happy with children doesn’t mean that’s how I have to live,” in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016.
Cena was open about his lack of desire to have kids. It is not for everyone, after all. He followed his instinct and was committed to not having children — he even had a vasectomy. In April 2018, he expressed that he would change everything for a chance to get her back.
He told Nikki that he would have his vasectomy reversed! “Even in the end, when he was willing to give me kids, I could just tell it’s not what we wanted,” Nikki shared on Better Together. It’s important to know what works for your significant other and what might hold you back. “To force someone to be a father… that’s not what I want. I don’t want to force someone to change.” It’s good that they understood where the other was coming from!
Many parents of twins dress their children in matching outfits. Two tiny humans who are identical – why not do the same for their outfits? These sisters knew from an early age that they loved each other but did not want to be seen as two of a kind. Even when they were young, they wanted to be seen as individuals!
When they were just five years old, they were vocal about not wanting to dress alike. They only did so if their mother made them. When they were in third grade, their mother put them in separate classes to make sure they had their own space and some freedom. They shared a friend group but always maintained their own friendships.
Even though they would lead separate lives as much as they could, there was always that sense of sisterly love and support. The sisters always had each other’s backs and supported each other however they possibly could. Though they were unique as individuals, they could not shake their twin senses.
AZCentral addressed their sisterly senses following an interview with the girls. “They could sense each other’s feelings and would sustain similar injuries at the same time or within weeks of each other. They often finish each other’s sentences.” Family ties know no bounds! These girls will always have a special place for their twin.
Did you know that the WWE initially rejected the sisters? Their persistence and love for the sport ultimately helped them get back to where they wanted to be – in the spotlight, in the center of the ring. The girls moved to Los Angeles in 2005, with their sights set on becoming professional wrestlers.
Brie told Muscle & Fitness that the two knew they had found their sport. “It is entertainment mixed with athletics — Nicole and I felt that was our calling,” she shared in the interview. They worked toward their goal of getting established in the entertainment industry, auditioning for television and modeling gigs. They auditioned for Diva Search in 2006 but unfortunately did not make the cut.
After having their hearts broken by not making it into the final rounds of Diva Search, they learned they were not so far from their dream. By the end of 2007, they were signed with Florida Championship Wrestling, a developmental program connected with WWE. Hard work pays off!
Florida Championship Wrestling was not always associated with the WWE. Their facility became an official wrestling development base for WWE and their future athletes. The girls were able to hone their skills in the Florida Championship Wrestling arena, which ultimately helped them get into the spotlight in the world of wrestling entertainment television.
Waitressing to Get By
Their story is not unlike many other Hollywood hopefuls. These girls moved to Los Angeles to pursue careers in modeling and acting, but it took them some time to get to where they needed to be. They did not come to Los Angeles with much money, so they worked as waitresses and paid their dues along with everyone else pursuing their dreams.
The twins worked as waitresses at the Mondrian Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. They served the posh hotel guests in the hopes of everything working out in their favor. They knew they needed to start at the bottom and work their way to the top, so that’s exactly what they did!
How Can You Tell Them Apart?
This is a tale as old as time. Identifying identical twins is pretty tricky if you don’t know them well or personally at all! There is a trick for telling Nikki and Brie apart, but it isn’t what you might expect. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the shapes of their faces, which is not quite as apparent as you might think.
The sisters feel differently about the best way to tell them apart. In an interview with WWE Magazine, Brie shared her thoughts. “I have two beauty marks on my chest, and our faces are shaped differently. We joke that I have more of a banana head, and Nikki has an apple head. She has the bigger booty, too, which she’s proud of.”
Another Physical Difference
Their physical differences might not be too significant, but they still took precautions to be as unique as possible. Brie decided to make the marks on her body permanent by getting a tattoo on her lower midsection. Nikki has no tattoos, and Brie’s reason for getting her ink is genuinely heartbreaking. She was candid about the backstory.
“Death is always a life-changing experience, especially when the person is close to you. At 18, I had to experience losing my boyfriend to a tragic death. Not only was it sad losing my boyfriend but his beautiful soul. I was fortunate enough to learn from him. Instead of losing faith, I gained spirituality. He has a very special place in my heart, always will. The Bear Claws you see on my lower stomach are in memory of him.”
Nikki Is a Crazy Driver
These high-strung sisters are very different when they get behind the wheel. Nikki is apparently a bit of a psycho on the road, while Brie is a self-described grandma behind the wheel. Nikki apparently cannot drive 55 miles per hour, and it stresses her sister out. In an interview, Brie expressed her fear of driving with her twin.
“I’m a grandma driver! I hate driving with Nikki because she drives like a bat out of hell. A lot of our big fights are from driving.” It seems that Nikki is almost always on the phone when she is driving! Not only does that make it difficult to focus on the road, but it is pretty dangerous!
Their Parents Did Not Know They Were Having Twins
As we know, Nikki and Brie were born 16 minutes apart. They were born to parents Kathy Colace and Jon Garcia. The first was Nikki, born Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace on November 21st, 1983. Not long after, Brianna Monique Garcia-Colace came into the world; however, the younger twin came as a complete surprise to her parents!
The parents had no clue that they were expecting twins – that’s a pretty fun surprise to find, especially when you are in labor and pushing a baby out of your body! The girls can definitely joke around as sisters do, but at least Nikki does not pull the “older twin” card too often!
Brie Has an Artistic Side
They may have played sports growing up, but each sister had her area of expertise and different interests. They are individuals, after all! In an interview with USA Today High School Sports, Brie opened up about her secret passion: She loves to sketch! She likes doing that in her free time and even has a favorite artist.
Brie loves Rembrandt; he is one of her favorite artists. She is the quieter of the twins and is not the only WWE star with an artsy side! Wrestlers like Jerry Lawler, Bret Hart, and Lash LeRoux have significant artistic ability, illustrating comic book covers and monthly pieces for WCW Magazine.
They’re Ready for Anything
It is always good to have a plan in case everything you have worked to accomplish falls through! Both sisters have made arrangements for their retirement. Even though the WWE seems to see it as a problem when people decide to go their own way, everyone needs to have a backup plan!
Being a mom is a full-time job, but these ladies wanted more than just that. They had big ambitions for life after their time with WWE was up. Nikki has training as a real estate agent, which can be even more successful than being a WWE Diva. Brie’s backup plan is quite different but truly peaceful; she wants to own and operate a flower shop!
They Don’t “Do” Nature
In a somewhat recent episode of “Total Bellas,” the twins and their mother decided to go camping with their husbands. Keep in mind — they only recently had baby boys, so they were still pregnant when they decided to go out into nature and “rough it” for the night. The girls were in for a wild ride when they reached their destination.
The twins are self-proclaimed “scaredy cats” and are not huge fans of the great outdoors. Both ladies married men who are way more comfortable in nature than they are, and it showed. They arrived at their yurt in the forest and found their husbands cozy as can be!
They Have Beef With Other Wrestlers
In March 2013, the Bellas made their return to the WWE stage after an 11-month hiatus. WWE was reportedly in the midst of contract negotiations with their other stars. In addition to the Bellas, they negotiated with others like Beth Phoenix, Marsye, and Kelly Kelly. There seemed to be an issue with one wrestler, though. The Bellas were rumored to have blocked Maria Kanellis’s comeback.
Kanellis claims that the twins also blocked the return of Marsye and Kelly Kelly. Apparently, this bad blood stemmed from Nikki’s days dating Dolph Ziggler. Kanellis decided to dance with Ziggler at a club, and Nikki took it too personally.
The Maria Kanellis Problem
Problems between the Bellas and their nemesis Maria Kanellis emerged. These issues expanded in a new way that was pretty surprising, seeing as they are all grown adults and not middle schoolers. They had their dads get involved to help try to resolve their interpersonal issues. Who knows if the girls asked their dad to call or if he just did it on his own…
Additionally, Maria claimed that the Bella’s father called and threatened her to stop making nasty comments in public about his daughter. Then, Maria’s father got on the line. These dads had it out themselves! Even though their daughters are fully grown adults and can fight their own battles, it is heartwarming to see the lengths their fathers would go to for them.
Nikki Was Married Once
Many people are often convinced that their high school significant other is the best they will ever have. News flash: Everyone falls under love’s spell once in a while, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something else out there! When Nikki and John Cena were publicly discussing their relationship, Cena mentioned he was not looking to get married and have a family. He had gone through a fairly public divorce.
Nikki wanted something else, even though she also had been married before. When Nikki was 20, she married her high school sweetheart. It did not take long for them to realize it was a mistake, so they eventually called it quits after three years and had the marriage annulled. The craziest part? Her family only learned about it on her E! show; she kept it hidden from everyone!
The Lengthy List of Ex-Boyfriends
It’s clear that Nikki and Brie are beautiful. Men would line up around the block to date them, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they had guys proposing to them on the street. Who could blame them? These ladies are physically fit, gorgeous, and have enough sass to make a grown man cry.
It should not come as a shock to know that they have broken many hearts in their time, but they have also dealt with relationship woes and heartbreak. With the ups and downs of every relationship, these girls are no strangers to navigating the dating world.
The Mystery Ex-Husband
Nikki married her high school sweetheart when she was just 20 years old. The two followed their hearts to a wedding chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada and kept their marriage incredibly private. Most people did not know until years after the marriage was annulled. She did not reveal the details until an episode of Total Bellas in 2014.
Nikki has never revealed his identity to the public, though those closest to her likely know who it was. She is cool enough to let him keep his privacy. She seemingly had cold feet at the time, as well. She reflected on walking down the aisle as someone less than excited, “I know this was a huge mistake [like] how can I get out of it, and I couldn’t, and I tried to forget about it.” You live, and you learn!
Nikki Dated Dolph Ziggler
Nikki has dated more than one of her colleagues in the world of wrestling. Back in 2008, she started dating another wrestler who was new to the scene, Dolph Ziggler. Born Nicholas Theodore Nemeth in July 1980, he is a professional wrestler and a stand-up comedian. Though their love did not last, he is still recognized as one of her primary ex-boyfriends!
Ziggler made an appearance on Total Divas in 2015. In this appearance, he tried to win Nikki back, despite her dating John Cena at the time. Unfortunately for him, his efforts fell short. Nothing came from his confession of love for her.
Nikki’s Relationship With John Cena
Nikki and John Cena started dating when he asked her out to dinner in 2012. They worked together and were friends for a while before he felt comfortable making that move. “We were friends for so many years, but then when you make it romantic, I couldn’t even say a word to him,” she told TribLive Radio in an interview.
Their time together seemed picture-perfect, but they struggled with wanting different things down the road. He was committed to a children-free life, and Nikki was not comfortable agreeing to that. They wanted different things and decided that splitting up would be for the best.
John Cena Wanted a Second Chance
Despite going their separate ways for their own reasons, John Cena still tried to get his girl back a few years later. She wanted a family, and he didn’t, but he offered to have his vasectomy reversed. That was a significant commitment and a huge offer, but it was not enough to get her back. She knew it was not what Cena wanted, even if he loved her.
Nikki made an appearance on Better Together with Maria Menounos and described that they tried so hard to take two separate lives and make them one. His feelings remained solid and intense. He appeared on TODAY after they initially broke up in 2018 and shared that he would still love to marry Nikki. He stated he would still love to have a family with her, and his views on fatherhood had evolved.
Cena Reached Out When the Bellas Had Their Babies
It is clear that he has nothing but love for his ex, Nikki. When Nikki and her twin sister Brie gave birth to their beautiful baby boys just a day apart from each other in late July 2020, Cena reached out to both sisters and congratulated them on their new roles as mothers.
The sisters told Us Weekly that the two had not spoken in a while. “We haven’t had an individual conversation in, gosh, I don’t know how long, but it was very short and sweet!” They may not be together anymore, but he still cared enough to reach out and congratulate her.
Nikki and Artem
When Nikki appeared on Dancing with the Stars back in 2017, she met Artem Chigvintsev. Chigvintsev is a Russian American professional dancer who specializes in Latin dance. The dancer had performed in London’s West End and on Broadway in New York. His talent and expertise allowed him to dance his way into Nikki’s heart!
The two were partners on the celebrity dance show but did not start dating for another two years. After just a year together, they announced their engagement and one other big game changer: They were having a baby!
They Became Mothers…
These sisters took “twinning” to the next level. While they were both in relationships – one married, one soon to be engaged – the sisters announced that they were both expecting children. They first announced their pregnancies in January 2020, and their children were due to be born just a week and a half apart from each other.
Nikki Bella went into labor early. She told People that she and Artem were unprepared and that they dealt with so much giving birth in the hot Arizona summer. “We barely had bags packed. I labored for 22 hours, and I pushed for two hours while wearing a mask because of COVID-19. It was 118 degrees in Phoenix, and our room wouldn’t get colder than 76 degrees, so I was burning hot the whole time.”
…A Day Apart From Each Other!
It turns out their twin senses worked some magic when they had their children. After Brie took to social media to announce the birth of her son, her sister announced just two hours later that she, too, had given birth just a day before. That is some serious sister connection!
In an interview with People, Brie stated, “people are going to think that’s a joke. We both are shocked. People are going to think we planned it but you really can’t plan pregnancy!” Brie and her husband Bryan have a daughter together, Birdie, but had more trouble conceiving this time around. They finally got a positive pregnancy test a couple of days before Thanksgiving.
The Big Baby Reveal
In total Bella style, Nikki and Brie revealed their newborn sons’ names together. They each posted on their Instagram accounts and revealed the names of their new babies. Nikki’s baby is named Matteo Artemovich Chigvintsev, and Brie’s baby has a bit of a more straightforward name. His name is Buddy.
The girls posted numerous side-by-side shots revealing the size of their pregnant bellies. The sisters commented on each other’s posts, making comments about the potential to have their babies simultaneously. “Knowing us, our babies will come the same day, too, lol!!!” Brie wrote. Maybe she was joking, but it ended up coming true!
Time to Retire
Every champion enjoys their time in the spotlight but eventually needs to hang up their championship belt. The twins are no different and decided it was time to retire from the WWE. When they announced their retirement, other WWE superstars shared their love for their former competitors.
After announcing their retirement, Brie threw a party for her sister. Things got a little crazy, but all in the best way possible. Models sported their many competition outfits in her honor, and they even hired a drag queen dressed like Nikki to perform for their guests!
Health Issues Arise
After Nikki Bella announced her retirement, she confirmed it on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. She and her twin Brie were interviewed together, and when Brie stated she wanted to return for the Women’s Tag Team Championships, she shared something shocking.
Nikki announced that she had a herniated disk with inflammation around the metal where she previously had surgery. She also had a cyst on her brain. In 2016, she had undergone surgery on her neck, which put her out of commission for ten months. She has not shared the specifics of the cyst.
They Wrote a Book Together
These twins had a painful past. Considering everything they have been through, they seem to hide it well. They shared their struggles and trauma in their co-memoir, Incomparable. The book gave readers an inside view of their struggles growing up. Their memoir shared painful accounts of Nikki’s multiple rapes as a teenager, as well as other tales of abuse, addiction struggles, and relationship issues.
In an interview with People, Nikki stated, “We have always been open books. We always wanted to commit to our families. That was, we have to be real and open; whether people love us or hate us for who we are, we owe them that. Brie and I have always been very intimate with our Bella Army and very connected, and the more we did reality [TV], the more we got to connect with people who were relating to us. Sometimes I would hear their stories, and they would inspire me and motivate me.” Thank you for your efforts to connect with fans, Nikki and Brie!
Hall of Fame
In 2020, Nikki and Brie Bella received the highest honor possible in the WWE. They were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame! The stars say their induction feels like a dream. They shared footage from the ceremony and were glowing when they received their plaques and rings. Both sisters donned gorgeous red gowns for their induction.
The Bellas received so much support and excitement from their fans. Charlotte Flair, a 13-time WWE champion, sent a sweet message to the twins congratulating them for their award. She thanked them for opening doors for future generations and expressed her gratitude for having the chance to spend time with them in the ring. Congrats, Nikki and Brie!