In an interview with Cosmopolitan.com, Nikki opens up about her 41-year-old ex-fiance, who she officially split with in July on the series finale of her E! reality show, Total Bellas. The breakup came after an April 2017 engagement and initial split a year later. Their failed attempt at a reconciliation was documented on Total Bellas last season, something that led many fans to speculate that it was a ratings ploy.
“When everyone was saying what I was going through was fake for ratings and all that and when you're really going through it, it's like, you're just, in my heartache you're literally just knifing it and just churning it,” Nikki says of the rumors.
The pair's very public split led to them becoming tabloid fodder, something Nikki is definitely ready to leave in the past.
“We’re both are at the point that we just don't want to be talked about at all together anymore,” she insists. “We don't want our breakup to define us or interfere with our work. And that was happening for a while.”
“Going through all that, I don't ever want to do it again," Nikki continues. "It scares me to ever have another public relationship.”
With her WWE appearances in full swing, her second reality show, Total Divas, currently airing, and Total Bellas' next season in the works, Nikki is eager to focus on something other than her love life for the foreseeable future.
“I don't want my relationship to define who I am, as a woman and to take away all the hard work that I've ever done in my career,” the 34-year-old TV star says. “I think for a man, it's different. I feel like, if anything, the woman gets blamed for what happens, for taking away from what they do. But I get all my work taken away because of that. I don’t know, I feel like sometimes there's a double standard and I really have felt that. And it's been really, really hard."
As for why Nikki and John called it quits, it initially had to do with John's unwillingness to have children. After the first breakup, though, he changed his tune on having a family, leading to a short-lived reconciliation. The second breakup, it seems, was all about Nikki not knowing who she was.
“I [was] lost for so many years. That was all my fault. I'm the one who forgot about me," she tells Cosmo. "I have realized now to truly have a happy life, you have to give yourself so much love first and work on you in any way you can.”
ET caught up with the reality star last month where she confirmed that she's "single but... not ready for mingling yet."
"I think it's happiness, and just fully being happy and that's what I want," she said. "I just feel like I'm at that age where I'm discovering who I really am and what I want out of life and just, like, independence. Is it scary and you do have these moments of like, 'What am I doing?' -- and fear. I just kind of am liking the challenge."
Here's more of ET's interview with Nikki and her twin sister, Brie Bella: