Nikki and Brie Bella have certainly made their mark in the entertainment world, from professional wrestling to starring in glamorous reality TV shows. Find out how they opened up about paving their way to WWE stardom and the Hall of Fame, and the hurdles in between.
WWE's Toughest Twins
Long before Nikki and Brie Bella rose to World Wrestling Entertainment fame, they grew up on a farm, with a dream of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. After they were both forced to change their paths, the twins developed a passion for wrestling.
One opportunity led to the next, and before they knew it, the Bellas were professional wrestlers and reality TV stars, and have never stopped following their dreams. Keep reading to learn how Nikki and Brie Bella achieved their careers and everything they've discovered along the way.
Brianna and Nicole Garcia were born in Southern California to mother, Kathy Colace, who was 19 at the time. She needed help raising her newborn twins, so she moved to Phoenix, Arizona to be with her family. However, before the twins were born, doctors told Kathy that she was only having one baby.
Nikki was delivered, and then suddenly, doctors discovered that there was another baby. So, Brie was born 16 minutes later, and initially, they weren't sure if she was going to make it, as she wasn't able to breathe. Once Brie's heart started beating again, she was placed next to Nikki, and they've relied on each other ever since.
Born to Be Performers
Ever since they were children, Nikki and Bella craved the spotlight. "We would ask if we could lipsync and dance to the Spice Girls... and my parents were like, "Ok?'" Brie revealed to Cosmopolitan. Then they became interested in wrestling; "I used to call Nikki 'The Rock' because she would always go nuts on the soccer field."
Nikki explained that the first match she saw was Trish Stratus, and she was instantly intrigued. "It really interested me because I was a competitive soccer player, and when I saw her get in the ring and kick some butt, it really made me want to be a part of WWE," she said.
Where Their Urge to Fight Came From
As a teenager, Nikki was assaulted by men multiple times, so she eventually used wrestling as a way to re-direct her anger and use her body to fight back. She and Brie always witnessed their parents' unhappy marriage, which resulted in Kathy raising the twins as a single mother.
"We can almost go unconscious in moments of rage and not even remember what we said," explained Brie. "It is probably ironic that we fight for a living. But part of the process has been transmuting the pain of our childhood into something productive."
Nikki Hoped to Play Professional Soccer
Long before either of the twins pursued a wrestling career, Nikki dreamed of playing professional soccer. "My dream was always [to be] a professional soccer player. And I had that opportunity," said Nikki. "I was gonna play at ASU, and then I snapped my leg in half, literally a week before I was going to sign for a scholarship."
Her entire life revolved around soccer, as she'd work incredibly hard to earn a scholarship to play in college, which would hopefully lead her to a professional career. But, with her life-changing injury, unfortunately, it was time to find a new passion.
Brie Though She'd Found Her Happily-Ever-After
Brie also thought she had her entire life planned out in high school. She had been dating the love of her life, her high school boyfriend, for years, and she planned on spending the next chapter with him. However, he was tragically killed in a car accident.
No one had seen this coming, and Brie was devastated. Similar to Nikki, she was forced to make a new life plan. But this time, the inseparable twins created a new plan together. They had both experienced the unexpected and counted on one another for support.
Traumatic Events Set Them on a New Path
With a limited time window, Nikki and Brie had to find a new path to take; Something that would make them both happy. "We both went through something life-changing... and were like, 'Let's go to San Diego, we have cousins there. We could just start fresh," said Brie.
"It's crazy how certain things you can go through… changed your dreams or the direction of your life," said Nikki. It was clear to them that they needed a fresh start outside of Arizona, so they headed to San Diego to attend Grossmont Community College.
Both Worked at Hooters in College
Nikki and Brie decided that college was a necessary step if they wanted to have a promising future, because "We never learned how to talk good," Nikki explained. While in college, all they wanted was to feel like "Happy go lucky Cali girls," and they found this comfort while working at Hooters.
They explained that they were a part of the "Hooters gang that all came from broken homes and pretty unhappy childhoods. We were enjoying our liberation and excited for the next chapter," said the twins. They made great friends at Hooters and made enough money in tips to pay for school textbooks.
Nikki Got Married During College
While she was in college, Nikki found herself in an unhealthy relationship that she couldn't seem to escape. She was battling depression, which stemmed from her father's absence and her unsafe relations with men as a teenager, and she couldn't find a way out of the relationship.
All of Nikki's emotions pushed her into marrying this man, even though she said she knew he was unfaithful and wasn't a good match for her. When he was sent off to the military, she finally used this as an escape. Finally, Nikki felt comfortable enough to divorce her husband and move on with her life.
Finding Their Calling
After discovering the WWE universe, Brie suggested that she and Nikki audition, as they were both athletic and enjoyed acting. "When Brie started showing me what the women were doing at WWE… [I thought] that's my calling!" said Nikki. "I get to be athletic, and I get to entertain and be larger than life and be this character."
"And I get paid for it?" she added. It was like God came down and said, 'This is it!'" So, in 2006, the twins auditioned for the WWE Diva Search when they were 22-years-old. They introduced themselves as "Nicole Fo' Sho" and Brizee Fo' Sho," and the team at WWE saw something in them.
Didn't Get Along With Other Female Wrestlers at First
Before debuting their WWE career, Nikki and Brie attended a wrestling training program in Georgia. This brought upon quite a bit of drama with the other women, as many of them gave the twins a hard time. "It was pretty brutal, but it was love at first bump for us," said Nikki.
"We just knew that we were meant to do this, so the sh-- from the other girls didn't really bother us." Nikki and Bella had one focus; Putting their names on the map as professional wrestlers. "We had big smiles and lots of energy, which probably only added fuel to the fire," Nikki added.
Journey to Fame
"Heads up, eyes on the price… That's how we operated," revealed Nikki. After the Georgia training program, they began developmental training, which required the twins to stick to intense diets and practice "straightforward wrestling." The diet caused them to look even more alike, as this would help them get noticed.
"But instead of performing in front of arena crowds, we went at each other in church parking lots and high school auditoriums where there might be a dozen people in the stands," explained Nikki. Evidently, all of their hard work paid off, as these twins took over the WWE spotlight at their first Smackdown event.
Welcome to WWE
Signing a contract with WWE was truly the start of a brighter future for both Nikki and Brie. While wrestling helped them get out some built up aggression, it wasn't as violent as some people might imagine. The network's producers created storylines for each match, so no sudden punches were thrown.
The whole thing was mapped out and rehearsed, so it turned out to not be the violent sport that other forms of fighting tend to be. WWE allowed the twins to connect with other female wrestlers while traveling the world, and thriving in the entertainment industry, something they'd always dreamed of.
"We were some of the first women ever to debut on the main stage as wrestlers, rather than as valets, managers, or love interests for the men," Brie explained. "This was one of the reasons that the neck hairs of the other women in the locker room were up." Nikki and Brie debuted their "Twin Magic" maneuver at WWE Smackdown in 2008.
Brie entered the ring first, taking on WWE veteran, Victoria, and later, Nikki snuck in to take her place. "I pretended to be exhausted as she grabbed me by the hair, and then I flipped her over and pinned her," explained Nikki. "While Brie was the first to walk the Smackdown ramp, I was the first to win a Smackdown match."
Wrestling Burned Them Out
When their five-year WWE contract ended, Nikki and Brie decided to take a step back from wrestling. "Brie and I just decided that we needed a little bit of a break," said Nikki. "When you've been on the road for five years... and haven't seen your bed for five days straight... We just knew that we definitely needed to take a break."
"One of the reasons that Brie and I decided to walk away from WWE was that we knew it had to change profoundly," said Brie. "It took us leaving for everyone to realize that we were missed - that we actually brought a lot with us." But, that wasn't the end of the Bellas and their twin magic.
Becoming 'Total Divas'
When Nikki and Brie were approached to join the cast of Total Divas on E!, they jumped at the opportunity. The show followed the lives of numerous female wrestlers, both in and out of the ring. "Not only do you get a peek inside the ring, but this is the first time you're going to see the diva's lives outside of the ring," said Brie.
"The reality show was major for a number of reasons, but I think it was most impactful because everyone got to see how strong the women wrestlers really are," Nikki explained. The series put even more of a spotlight on the Bellas, and before they knew it, they got their own reality show.
Nikki Took a Step Back After She Injured Her Neck
After making a name for herself in the ring, Nikki became known for her signature move, "The Rack Attack." She would lift her opponent over her shoulders and then jump to her knees. Eventually, though, a doctor informed Nikki that this move could severely damage her neck.
And one day, Nikki nearly broke her neck, which changed her career forever. Unfortunately, Nikki wasn't able to get back in the ring after that, but she came to a realization; "There's so much more to life outside wrestling. Now I can recognize my wrestling career for what it's been - an incredible chapter of my life."
Bellas Got Their Own Show
After their rapid rise to TV fame through Total Divas, Nikki and Brie were excited about launching their own reality show, Total Bellas. This time, the spotlight was only on them and showed more details of their personal lives rather than their WWE career. "At first it was very stressful for all of us in our family," Brie explained.
"You know you are going to be exposed a lot and it's hard and scary," Brie added. "It is always tough, but I think what has helped Brie and I stay open is the people who can related to it," said Nikki. "The reason I do reality TV is so that person sitting on the couch tuning in can feel they're not alone."
Upstaged by Ronda Rousey
In January of 2018, the Bella twins put on their grand finale as wrestlers at the Royal Rumble. However, Nikki wasn't satisfied with the night, as she felt that Ronda Rousey stole the spotlight. "It was nothing against Ronda… but it was a bit of a slap in the face to all the historic women wrestlers who had come out for the match."
Nikki felt that Ronda's presence took the focus away from her last time in the ring. She added, "That night was career-justifying. That night was worth breaking my neck for." Regardless, Nikki and Brie were honored to see all of their fans come out to watch them one last time.
Brie's Ultimate Victory
While focusing on her wrestling career, Brie fell for another wrestler, Daniel Bryan. But they took their relationship slow, and Brie explained, "He warned me in our early days of dating that he wouldn't say it [I love you]." Over time though, the couple fell madly in love and got married in April of 2014.
"I've married the man of my dreams," Brie shared on Instagram. "I'm officially Mrs. Danielson. The best part was walking down the aisle barefoot... to my husband to be." On social media and Total Bellas, Brie's given us a glimpse into her romance with her husband and their coinciding wrestling careers.
Expanding the Family
In 2017, Brie and Bryan welcomed a new bundle of joy into the world; Their beautiful daughter, Birdie. This came after a long and exhausting journey of trying to get pregnant, which Brie was quite open about with her fans. "I was stressed, and it wasn't happening," she explained.
But eventually, things seemed to work themselves out, as Brie's dream of becoming a mother finally came true. She shared her difficult experience with fans on Total Bellas, and said, "Even though it wasn't the experience I had in mind, I'm so happy Birdie came into this world safely."
Nikki Nearly Married John Cena
Just like Brie, Nikki also fell in love with a fellow wrestler, John Cena. From the early days in their relationship to John's TV proposal, Nikki and John seemed to be madly in love. Until later on, they called off their engagement, as Nikki explained, they couldn't agree on what they wanted in life.
"I had to walk away. I had to let it all go," Nikki shared after her split from John. "The fallout was terrible, particularly the speculation within the news media and on social media that it was all for ratings." Nikki explained that having to watch her relationship unravel all over again on reality TV made it even more painful.
Returning to Their Roots
When Nikki and Brie went back to their childhood home on a farm for a YouTube video, they explained how this lifestyle has impacted them. "You know, growing up on a farm and growing up being surrounded by fields... It's really kind of shaped myself, on just the importance of life," Brie explained.
The twins learned to care for animals and the environment as kids since this was essentially their lifestyle. "When you come from such a humble environment, that when you do make it, or become successful, I think when you have these farming roots, it's very easy to come back to your roots and stay humble," Nikki added.
Launched a Brand to Empower Women
In November of 2017, Nikki and Brie launched their activewear line, Birdiebee. "We have set out through Birdiebee, to build a strong community of women who empower and inspire one another," said the twins. "We have a highly engaged community.... and Birdiebee was a way for us to bring our core values to life."
Having succeeded as women in a predominantly male industry, Nikki and Brie felt this was their chance to empower women and encourage them to follow their dreams. "Our goal is to provide a forum through Birdiebee and through the clothing line for women to connect, inspire, encourage, and celebrate each other," they explained.
Nikki Fell for Her Dance Partner
When Nikki joined the cast of Dancing With the Stars in 2017, she was paired up with Artem Chigvintsev, and they had an immediate connection. However, Bella was engaged to John Cena at the time, so she and Artem remained strictly friends and cast-mates.
Once Nikki announced that she and Cena had split in July of 2018, she eventually fell for her former dance partner. In the spring of 2019, Nikki revealed that she and Artem were casually dating. "They got together for dinner, and the chemistry from the dance floor came right back," revealed a source.
Nikki Said Yes
In January of 2020, Artem got down on one knee and asked Nikki to marry him, and clearly, she said yes! "You are the best thing that ever happened to me," said Artem. "So excited for what's to come, I love you more than anything, and thank you for saying yes."
Less than a month after getting engaged, Nikki received another wonderful surprise. Later in January, she and Artem announced that they were expecting a baby, and they couldn't have been more excited. Brie already had a daughter, and so did the twins' brother, so the entire family was ecstatic to meet the next little angel.
Right around the same time Nikki announced she was pregnant, Brie made the same announcement, and fans couldn't believe it. "Twins being pregnant at the same time? People are going to think we planned it," said Brie. She also said that she and Nikki had not planned this double pregnancy; It was just an incredible coincidence.
Not only did these twins have the same timeframe for their pregnancies, but they also experienced many of the same symptoms and cravings, so they were truly in the journey together. Nikki and Brie kept followers updated on their experience together and even shared a glimpse of their pregnancy photoshoot on Instagram.
Babies Born One Day Apart
July was a magical month for the Bellas. First came Nikki's son, Matteo, on July 31st. Nikki, Artem, and their entire family were overwhelmed with joy, but they were all still awaiting the birth of Brie's baby. Less than 24 hours later, the family welcomed another baby boy, Buddy.
"We were so lucky because our hospital rooms were right next to each other," said Brie. That way, neither of the twins would miss out on the other's baby being born. Just like their moms, Matteo and Buddy have been together since day one, and will hopefully grow up with an inseparable bond.
Hall of Fame
This year, in addition to growing their family and expanding their brand, Nikki and Brie have both been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2020. The twins felt honored and were filled with "so many emotions," as Nikki described. When Vince McMahon, CEO of WWE called to give them the news, it made the moment even more special.
"When you've worked hard for so long and have fought for so many things, and have the one man [Vince] that you look up to so much- but also gave you an incredible opportunity… To have him call… It was like oh my gosh," explained Nikki. Vince has believed in Nikki and Brie since the very beginning, and this emphasized it.
Bellas Break Down Barriers
After some time away from the ring, Brie made a comeback in 2018, but this time did it strictly with a mission to empower women. "I've been with the company for almost 12 years, and, since day one, I've wanted a change for the women here," she explained. "Evolution represents the barriers that we've broken together as women."
"We want to be more than just the Bella twins and the stars of reality TV shows," said Brie. And through their brand, Birdiebee, that's actually what Nikki and Brie have done. They continue to be incredible mothers, inspiration to women all over the world, and of course, some of the most iconic female wrestlers.