More than a week after the formerly engaged couple announced their breakup, the WWE star spoke about it on Wednesday, admitting “it sucks” when asked by Entertainment Tonight.
“There’s no other way to say [it],” Cena told the outlet while attending Paramount’s presentation during CinemaCon 2018 at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
“I love Nicole with all my heart, and that’s that,” added Cena, who celebrated his 41st birthday on Monday.
“While this decision was a difficult one, we continue to have a great deal of love and respect for one another,” the pair, who had been together for six years, said in a statement tweeted out by Nikki. “We ask that you respect our privacy during this time in our lives.”
An insider previously told PEOPLE that Nikki was the one who pulled the plug on their wedding.
“John acted more and more like he was doing her a favor by somehow conceding to go ahead and marry her,” the insider said. “[Nikki] doesn’t need a pity proposal, a pity wedding, a pity husband. She’s a phenomenal, tremendous woman.”
On Saturday, Nikki was spotted without her massive 4.5-carat diamond engagement ring. She made her first public appearance one day before at the Nirvana Food and Wine Festival in Arizona where she and her twin sister, Brie Bella, hosted a rosé tasting party in partnership with their wine line, Belle Radici.
“She’s good, they call her fearless Nikki for a reason,” Brie, who would’ve been matron of honor, told PEOPLE at the time. “She always puts on that brave face. My sister has more strength than any other woman I know, especially Wonder Woman. She’s bigger than that.”
Brie also shared that fans will see what went wrong in her sister and Cena’s relationship in the upcoming season of E!’s Total Bellas.
“I really had to take a step back and allow it and that was really hard on me because it’s my twin. I want to protect her from everything,” the mother of one said. “This has been the hardest season to film for me because all I want to do is protect her and keep everyone away, but this is what we do.”
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She added: “John and Nicole allow the fans to see some very personal conversations, that to be honest, I was mind blown about. [Husband] Bryan and I both said, ‘I don’t think we’d allow them to see those conversations’ but they do. I give them a lot of credit. You get to see where they’re at today and see that unravel.”