Brie Bella on Nikki Bella and John Cena’s Breakup, Her Quest to End Polio and More
Brie Bella is celebrated for her work in WWE, her marriage to Daniel Bryan, as well as her charitable endeavors. Yet it is possible she is best known for her reality television show, Total Bellas, which has given her and twin sister Nicole the opportunity to reach an even wider audience than professional wrestling provides.
The third season of E!’s Total Bellas begins on May 20, but the show has been cast in a dark shadow even since the announcement that John Cena and Nikki Bella have called off their wedding engagement.
“The one thing I have to say about John and Nicole, and all of us in the Bella family, is that we know what we signed up for,” said Bella. “This was Total Bellas 3 and we were going to see Nicole and John’s journey all the way to the altar. Obviously, there is going to be one episode missing because there is no wedding.”
Bella is no stranger to the limelight, as she and Daniel Bryan are both WWE stars and fixtures on Total Bellas. The couple just added a new addition to the family in their daughter, Birdie Danielson, and they—like Cena and Nikki Bella—are content knowing their place in the spotlight.
“So many people have so many questions where John and Nicole are at, and why everything happened, and I think this season will answer a lot of those questions,” said Bella. “I give them a lot of credit for opening up their lives.
“We all told ourselves we had to be an open book. If you’re going to do reality, you need to do the good and the bad. I think that’s why so many people love Nicole and me. We’re real and honest. There are some really intimate conversations between Nicole and John. I think my sister is just like, ‘Other women go through this,’ and she wants them to feel like they’re not alone.”
The 34-year-old Bella is incredibly busy with motherhood as well as her reality television show, and she is now working with the global Rotary International in a pursuit to conquer polio. She is also raising awareness during World Immunization Week, which runs until April 30, about vaccinations for all children and their mothers in a unique fashion, highlighting the nearly worldwide eradication of polio through a celebration hosted by Rotary and Red Nose Day around the “End Polio” campaign.
“As a mom, the minute your baby is born, you all of a sudden have these fears,” explained Bella. “People always say, ‘Don’t let your fears get you.’ But for me, my fears educated me. As soon as I started hearing about vaccinations, I started to educate myself to protect Birdie.
“In the United States, I feel like polio doesn’t exist, but it very much does. I’ve been to many countries and saw how lucky we are that we can go straight to the doctor or the ER in the U.S. I would love for moms in other countries to not experience my fears. That’s why I love that the Rotary Club can end polio and end a lot of fears for a lot of moms.
Bella is utterly delighted by motherhood, noting that each day as a parent is more exciting than the previous for her and her husband.
“The highlight of motherhood so far is the love,” said Bella. “I’ve never experienced the love I have for my daughter. Parents always say, ‘It’s love you’ve never felt before,’ but they’re 100 percent right. Everything she does, even crawling around naked, makes my heart feel so warm. She’s the most precious thing in the world. I can’t help be so proud and grateful.”
Another major moment in Bella’s life occurred at this past year’s WrestleMania in New Orleans, when her husband was cleared by WWE to return to active wrestling.
Bella reflected back on the anticipation on the eve of WrestleMania 34 while also recalling consoling her husband at the Raw in Seattle during February of 2016 when Bryan was forced to step away from wrestling.
“As a wife, the night in Seattle, I just couldn’t believe my husband had to tell people he could no longer do what he loved to do,” said Bella. “He was in so much pain, and then to go out and tell everyone, he really didn’t want to do it. He was very emotional, especially in a city that is his hometown. I would have done anything that night to have taken his pain and put it all on me. It killed me. We were up all night, it was really hard.”
Bella shared that a sleepless night was the only similarity two years later on the eve of WrestleMania.
“The night before WrestleMania, it was actually really cute, he couldn’t sleep because he was so excited,” said Bella. “I told him, ‘Think of everything you’ve done to get here.’ So to go from one night where we couldn’t sleep because we were both so sad to another night where we couldn’t sleep because we were so excited, that was so crazy. I’m so proud of him. He’s healthy, he deserves to be in that ring. It shows that with passion and dedication, you can truly accomplish anything.”
Bella sets a phenomenal example. She is a dedicated and devoted wife and mother, but also an independent woman with ambition and lofty professional goals both in WWE and health care.
Her in-ring career was back on display this past January during WWE’s first-ever women’s Royal Rumble.
“I was so honored they called me, and I couldn’t believe I could get in the ring with Lita, Trish, and Asuka,” said Bella. “I still can’t believe my name was on the same list as Molly Holly. Someone needed to pinch me. Molly came up to Nicole and me and was like, ‘I’ve been dying to meet you guys, I love Total Bellas.’ And I was like, ‘Wait, what? You watch it?’ And she said, ‘Yes, thank you for having women wrestlers recognized in the mainstream world.’ And I was like, oh my gosh, Molly Holly just paid me a compliment.”
Bella ran into one roadblock before returning to work, and it was one with which many parents of newborns can relate.
“The night before, Birdie was not feeling the best,” said Bella. “I was literally breastfeeding every two hours, and I got about one hour of sleep. I didn’t know how I would go into the Rumble so exhausted. But I was so excited to make history that I pulled out every piece of energy and excitement, and I gave it all I had. And my husband helped after, he was in charge of Birdie and I went to sleep.”
Motherhood has inspired Bella to advocate for mothers around the globe, which she firmly believes is a cause worth fighting for.
“People’s passion and dedication can conquer anything,” said Bella. “It’s really something people should live by. My husband gets back in the ring and, before you know it, we’re going to end polio.
“Let’s end the fears of all moms around the world. If we can just end one problem in health care, then we all win.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.