'I felt so ashamed and blamed myself': WWE icon Nikki Bella reveals harrowing details of double rape as teenager
Harrowing excerpts from WWE Hall of Famer Nikki Bella's memoir reveal she was sexually assaulted on two separate occasions, both while she was in her teens.
Californian Bella has released her memoir 'Incomparable' - penned with twin sister Brie - and it contains some truly shocking revelations about the WWE wrestler’s upbringing, including two accounts of when she was subject to sexual assault by older men.
Bella, 36, real name Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace, says the first incident involved her being raped by someone she thought of as a friend, and occurred when she was just 15. The second rape was perpetrated by a college-age man when she was 16.
And while she kept details of the attacks secret, they unfortunately had a lasting effect, coloring her relationships for many years afterwards.
"When that happened to me, I immediately just felt so ashamed and blamed myself, and that's what made me want to keep it such a secret,” she writes.
“And keeping that a secret and blaming myself, I started to lose my confidence. I started to disrespect myself. And then the relationships I got into at a young age, I let other people disrespect me and felt like, that's okay, this is what I deserved.”
Bella, who went on to appear in WWE spin-off reality show 'Total Bellas' was in a relationship with fellow WWE legend John Cena for six years, and she credits him with having a very positive impact on her, helping her to ‘respect herself.’ She’s now engaged to Dancing with the Stars’ Artem Chigvintsev.
But it wasn’t plain sailing, as she and Cena spent most of their relationship under intense scrutiny - she was even accused of manufacturing their split to help her show’s ratings.
Of her relationship with 46 year-old Cena, she writes in the book that: “Because I was terrified of losing my love, I stuffed my desire for marriage and kids as deep as I could. He (Cena) had made it clear that they weren't on the menu for him. That's tough, though, because if you're inclined that way, then the more you grow to love someone, the more you want it all.
“I stopped giving voice to those needs, though. I was worried my ex would call it off and let me go. And while I wanted those things very badly - I just wanted him more.”Also on rt.com 'F*cking ungrateful': Ronda Rousey slams WWE fans as she plays down chances of wrestling return