'Crazy' Contract John Cena Made Nikki Bella Sign Proves the Pair Was Doomed

Nikki Bella and John Cena
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Stars sign prenuptial agreements to protect their fortunes all the time. But when John Cena and Nikki Bella moved in together in 2013, the pro wrestler-turned-actor asked his then-girlfriend to sign a contract, People reports. The paperwork was definitely a point of contention for the couple, and it may have foreshadowed the fact that the pair wouldn't make it in the long run.


The "cohabitation agreement" was a 75-page-long document that said Nikki would have to vacate John's home with her belongings ASAP following a potential breakup. It even referred to Nikki as "a guest." 

Yep, really. In the agreement, the Trainwreck actor wrote, "Although I do not wish to be formal, I do not want there to be any misunderstanding regarding your presence at the home as my guest. In the event that I ask you to vacate the home, you agree to immediately vacate the home and remove any and all items you have brought into the home as soon as possible." Ouch.

In a season one episode of the E! reality series Total Bellas, Nikki discussed the contract with her twin sister Brie: "I just don't understand it. I just don't know what to feel. I'm so confused. It kind of makes me second-guess where John and I stand in our relationship. I love John but maybe he knows that he doesn't want to be with me forever? 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?"

John's case for the contract was that he needed to protect his money, because he feels like he needs to be "the best provider" he can be for his mom and his brothers. "I just don't want to ever be in a position where that's in jeopardy," he told Nikki.

That explanation is what ultimately served as a green light for Nikki. "I had no idea that my man supports this many people," she said at the time. "If I had the money, I'd want to support my family, and I'd be damned to let anyone take that away from my family."

Their agreement made news again in 2016 when John, who was previously married to Elizabeth Huberdeau for three years, told Fox Sports: "Having been through [the divorce] process, here is how I view it. It is like buying a handgun for home defense. It gives you a sense of security, and it gives you a failsafe in case something happens. And those who buy a handgun for self-defense pray, pray they never have to use it. Without it, it's a dog fight."

Apparently, he changed his tune a bit over the course of the next year, after the two got engaged, but before they split. John told Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb about the 75-page contract in March: "I was very abrasive and stern and she had to sign this huge, crazy agreement to come in the front door … just some sort of thing where I would be protected in case of a disaster. She [signed it], totally without question, and it made me feel super bad, which I should have, but it also made me realize -- and this was early on in our relationship -- it made me realize, 'This is one young woman I should not let get out of my life.' Because when she says, 'I'm with you because I love you, here's proof I would still like to be here.'"

Now that John and Nikki are officially over, it's easy to wonder if John is feeling even more "super bad" about the way things played out? Though there's definitely a case for protecting your assets in a long-term relationship, all this drama around the contract makes it seem as though the wrestler had some major walls up all along. 

On the bright side: Given that getting through divorce can be a challenging -- not to mention pricey -- endeavor, especially if you're successful entertainers like John and Nikki, it's probably best that the two recognized their differences before walking down the aisle. 

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