Nikki Bella defends recycling dress she bought to marry ex John Cena for new wedding with Artem Chigvintsev

Nikki Bella has defended wearing the same wedding dress she initially bought when she was engaged to ex-fiancé John Cena to marry her current husband, Artem Chigvintsev.

The Total Divas star and professional WWE wrestler explained in an interview with Us Weekly what drove her decision to recycle the gown for her August 2022 destination wedding in Paris, France to the Russian-American dancer.

“I had the moment with that dress, when I saw it,” the 39-year-old TV personality said. “It was all something that I dreamed of.”

Bella – whose real name is Stephanie Nicole Chigvintsev – admitted that the dress gave her such a sense of “empowerment” that she wanted to hold onto it, even after she and Cena called off their engagement in 2018.

“I went back and forth with that decision,” she said. “For me, it [reflects] how I stand as a strong woman, I was like wait, why should I not wear what I love? Because of my past? It just didn’t make sense to me.”

Although her twin sister and fellow WWE wrestler Brie Bella didn’t agree with her decision to keep the wedding dress, Bella explained her husband was surprisingly “cool about it”.

“He looks at it as just a material thing,” she said. “He probably wanted me to save money but then didn’t realise I bought a few other dresses after.”

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Chigvintsev added, “I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal for people to react how I reacted. I think [if there’s] an issue with it, they’re bringing some other energy into our happiness.”

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev, 40, first met in 2017 as dancing partners for season 25 of Dancing With the Stars, while Bella was still engaged to Cena. The now husband and wife got engaged in November 2019 and later welcomed their son Matteo in July 2020.

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For their Parisian nuptials, Bella wore a total of four different outfits on her wedding day. The couple’s wedding and events leading up to the big day will be shown in the four-part E! series, Nikki Bella Says I Do, which premieres 26 January.

Meanwhile, Bella and Cena began dating in 2012 before getting engaged in 2017. The couple called it quits in April 2018.

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Nikki Bella recently opened up about her “traumatising” breakup with Cena, admitting that she was unsure about her future with the star wrestler.

“You almost wish it was bad, because it’s so much easier to walk away. It’s so much harder to walk away when it’s loving,” she told Entertainment Tonight last July.

“I think a lot of women get into this situation when it’s like, ‘I love this person, but I don’t know if it’s right for my life,’ and that’s a hard thing. Sometimes we meet amazing people, but we’re just meant to live a different life. I just got this feeling so deep in my gut of, like, ‘I need to walk away.’ And no one thought I would, but it was hitting me so hard. Even though it’s painful and even traumatising, I just knew it was right.”