Back in 2013, when their love was still new, John Cena and Nikki Bella decided to shack up together. But before their cohabitation could begin, the WWE superstar had his new girlfriend sign a 75-page contract, which he has compared to a pre-nup.
Five years later, with the couple's relationship in tatters, that contract is back in the news as people try to figure out what went wrong.
Cena says that he only had Bella sign the contract to protect his finances. Here's how he explained it on a 2016 episode of Total Bellas, according to Page Six.
“You met my family. You think my mom paid for that house herself? She didn’t. My brother lives in that house, they’re expecting a child. My younger brother, he’s got medical problems. I make sure he’s okay. I always tell them, I’m a horrible brother, but I try to be the best provider that I can,” Cena said in 2016. “I just don’t want to ever be in a position where that’s in jeopardy.”
But that rational approach didn't make Bella understand. “Is that all I’m ever going to be in [John’s] heart, is a guest? Am I ever going to have that permanent spot in the rest of [his] life?” she said in another episode.
But Cena was just protecting himself, someone close to the wrestler tells People.
“He comes from a very poor background and he takes care of his entire family, so I see his point,” the source tells PEOPLE. “He wanted to make sure he’s protected and honestly, he was making sure she’s not a gold digger. He’s a top guy in WWE, which means she immediately gets a push and a great storyline and TV time.”
Cena, who is worth an estimated $55 million, has said that Bella's willingness to sign the contract was how he knew she was the right one for him. But this week, with their wedding just around the corner, they called off of engagement and broke up. It's still not entirely clear why, but one new report suggests that it was over the prospect of having children.
Cena didn't want any. An insider tells People it's becuase the 40-year-old is so focused on his career that he knows he wouldn't have the time to devote to a child.
“It’s not fair to a kid to bring them into the world if you’re not prepared to be focused on them, and he’s just not,” says the insider. “He doesn’t want to be an absentee parent and he doesn’t see how he wouldn’t be given everything he wants to do in his career and in his life.”
Ironically, Cena's most recent on-screen performance as the parent of out-of-control teens in Blockers may have actually begun to change his mind on the issue. “It’s certainly changed,” Cena said earlier this month when asked about his perspective on kids. “The movie helps with that, certainly.