Nikki Bella Was Married Before She Met Artem Chigvintsev — Who is Her Ex-Husband?

Devan McGuinness - Author

Jan. 26 2023, Updated 3:34 p.m. ET

Nikki Bella and Artem
Source: Getty Images

There are some celebrities who have risen to fame both for their talents and being likable as a real person. Reality TV has given fans access to their favorite stars in ways we didn't get to experience before. Now, we get to know more about the person behind the characters, and through this, secrets come out. And big ones, too.

One big secret that came out of reality TV came from former WWE star Nikki Bella, and her ex-husband surprise. Yes, she's been married before! But who is her ex-husband?

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Nikki Bella's ex-husband surprise was revealed on reality TV.

Nikki Bella first captivated audiences with her wrestling and storyline, and then more people got to know the person behind the personality on the reality show Total Divas.

From there, her popularity grew when she and her twin sister, Brie Bella, became stars of their own reality TV show, Total Bellas. Fans were able to see more about her personal life, both with her sister and the rest of her family, and any romantic relationships she was in as well.

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One of the more high-profile relationships for Nikki came when she started dating fellow WWE star John Cena. He was widely popular in his own right and the two of them grew their popularity to even bigger heights.

There was, of course, drama that followed the two in the reality show. Nikki wanted to settle down and have kids, but John was hesitant to get married again. He had been open about being nervous to tie the knot again after his first marriage to his high school sweetheart ended after three years, and it was not a smooth process for him.

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What John didn't know at that time – and not even Nikki's mom knew – was Nikki had also previously been married.

The WWE star kept her marriage a secret for close to 10 years before coming clean to her family, but not John yet.

"I got married when I was 20 and got divorced at 23 to my high school sweetheart,” she said. “Basically, we got married by Elvis. We drove to Vegas, did it, and even when I started walking down the aisle, 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.”

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Beyond this conversation, there isn't much known about Nikki's ex-husband — not his name, where he lives, or what he's up to now.

Nikki did eventually get the courage to tell John, who she was still dating at the time. While at her sister Brie's wedding in 2014, Nikki told John that she had been married previously and divorced after three years.

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“I don’t care,” he told her. “What you did before you met me is what you did before you met me, I don’t need to know everything about you. It’s just when you can tell other people, and I kind of would like to be on that totem pole somewhere. I don’t have to be at the top, I just would like to be on it.”

Nikki Bella and John Cena are now married to other people.

In April 2018, Nikki and John announced they had ended their engagement and were going separate ways.

Nikki and her former Dancing With the Stars partner Artem Chigvintsev welcomed a son, Matteo, in 2020 — and Nikki and Artem tied the knot in August 2022. Meanwhile, John married Shay Shariatzadeh in 2020.

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To get a behind-the-scenes look at Nikki and Artem's wedding planning and ceremony, tune into Nikki Bella Says I Do, a four-part special that premieres on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 9 p.m EST on E!.

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