Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev's Relationship Timeline – PEOPLE
Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev got to know each other in the most romantic way.
The two met when they paired together on season 25 of Dancing with the Stars in 2017, although the retired WWE wrestler was engaged to John Cena at the time. But in July 2018, Bella and Cena officially ended their relationship after six years together.
The DWTS pair reconnected later that year and made their relationship Instagram official in March 2019. Since then, Bella and Chigvintsev have celebrated several milestones together: They got engaged in November 2019, welcomed a son in July 2020, and said “I do” in August 2022.
“They say love conquers all… and it sure does,” Bella wrote about their relationship in an Instagram post in March 2020. “So many people in the beginning said it was just lust, my feelings weren’t real, it was just the dance, the infatuation, the mystery of this person, but I knew & felt it was always more. I listened to my heart, my soul, my body, I knew deep down that this was God’s gift, his answered prayer.”
From their Dancing with the Stars connection to their Parisian wedding, here's everything to know about Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev's relationship.
Bella and Chigvintsev met on the set of Dancing with the Stars when they were paired up as partners for season 25. They were eliminated in the show’s seventh week.
Sometime after Bella and Cena broke up in July 2018, Bella reconnected with Chigvintsev for lunch, as seen on the Jan. 20, 2019, episode of Total Bellas.
"The last time I saw Artem I was in a relationship for so long, so I'm just really excited to see him today," she said in a clip.
Bella and Chigvintsev were spotted at a farmer’s market together in December 2018, sparking relationship rumors.
The former WWE star later opened up about the pair's first date to Entertainment Tonight. "Our first date was at the farmer's market in Studio City, and I had no idea that it was filled with paparazzi," she said, adding that she "just freaked" and left without telling Chigvintsev.
A source confirmed to PEOPLE on Jan. 3, 2019, that Bella and Chigvintsev were dating. At the same time, another insider revealed that the duo had a “strong attraction.”
"They've been spending time together for a long time, but it's nothing serious right now," the source told PEOPLE. "They have a strong attraction to each other, but they're just having fun. They're both extremely busy with their own careers, so they spend time together when they can."
After admitting she had “amazing chemistry” with Chigvintsev, Bella downplayed their relationship, saying she’s just “having fun” during an appearance on Access Live on Jan. 24, 2019.
"I'm having a lot of fun in my dating life," Bella said in the clip. "Not just Artem [Chigvintsev], I mean we had amazing chemistry. I'm just kind of having fun. I don't want to say playing the field, but just kind of having different experiences."
Bella posted a picture of her kissing Chigvintsev’s cheek on March 24, 2019, making their relationship Instagram official. Her hand was cupped around his cheek in the sweet snap, and he’s smiling at the camera.
After an outpouring of support for her Instagram post about Chigvintsev, Bella told PEOPLE that she meant for the post to be more casual.
"I posted a photo of us because we're dating and we're having fun," Bella told PEOPLE. "Then everyone went (and said) we were official."
Bella also said she was "not fully taken," adding, "It's been great. I adore him."
Bella and Chigvintsev attended Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson’s wedding on April 13, 2019. She talked about the event on The Bellas Podcast on April 24, again clarifying that Chigvintsev was not her “boyfriend.”
"I posted a lot [at the wedding] with Artem. We did really cute snaps," she said. "I was his date, right, we're dating. But then everywhere it says, 'Nikki Bella and boyfriend Artem' — and I'm like, wait, boyfriend? Why are there labels? Why are they doing that?"
After her twin sister, Brie Bella, called her out for her “intimate type of pictures” with Chigvintsev, Bella said, “I’ll admit, I like doing it, I have fun. One, he’s crazy photogenic, he’s very handsome, but beyond that, we have a really fun time posting. It’s fun for us.”
In May 2019, Bella and Chigvintsev joined Bella’s sister Brie, her husband Daniel Bryan and her daughter Birdie on a trip to Disneyland to celebrate Birdie’s second birthday.
Bella and Chigvintsev posed for photos together on the red carpet at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.
"Artem's aura and energy, he's so calming and relaxing," Bella told PEOPLE at the event. "I'm like the Tasmanian devil, I need someone with his energy to make me stop and be present. … He's so adorable and sweet."
"I think she's the exact opposite of me," said Chigvintsev. "What I'm missing in my life, she fulfills."
The couple clarified their relationship status on The Bellas Podcast four months after their first Instagram selfie. Bella said, “We’re boyfriend and girlfriend.” Chigvintsev added, “We’re in a relationship.”
They also danced to "Let You Love Me" by Rita Ora as a special nod to the way they met.
"I'm the one that chose the song and [it's] kind of my journey with Artem and dating," Bella said. "This song really hit me hard. I just felt like, 'Okay I'm falling for this guy really fast.' But, not that I wanted to avoid it, but I just kept trying to push Artem away. I just wasn't ready for anything."
Chigvintsev also shared how important the song was. "It's very personal," he said. "It's very special because of the song and the storyline. It sums up to us and sums up our story. "It's very dear to both of our hearts. It's so emotional, it's crazy. It makes you feel a certain way."
In November 2019, Chigvintsev proposed to Bella in France. The couple kept their upcoming nuptials a secret until Jan. 3, 2020, when Bella and Chigvintsev posted photos of the proposal and engagement ring on Instagram.
"Excited for 2020 and the next decade with you @theartemc ❤️ I said yes in France in November," Bella wrote. Chigvintsev added, "You are the best thing that ever happen to me. So excited for what to come I love you more then anything and thank you for saying Yes."
Bella and her sister, Brie, announced they were both pregnant at the same time in an interview with PEOPLE on Jan. 29, 2020.
"[It was] a total surprise," Bella said. "It took even me a good week to come to terms with like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm pregnant.' I'm not ready for it."
Bella has wanted to be a mom her "whole life." She told PEOPLE, "I can't imagine life without being a mom and experiencing the miracle of life and raising a child," she said. "I'm just so family-oriented that I couldn't imagine not having that family life."
She also posted pictures of the couple and her pregnancy bump on Instagram on Jan. 31, with the caption, “Baby Daddy. ❤️.”
In a preview of a Total Bellas episode shared on March 30, 2020, Bella asked Chigvintsev to move in with her.
"Our plan is that when I move to Arizona, well, I was hoping that maybe once it's done being built, Artem will be coming with me," she said. When Chigvintsev clarified if she was inviting him to move in with her, she responded, "Of course, Artem, I want you to move into my house. I couldn't imagine bedtime without you!"
The couple got into a fight in an episode of Total Bellas, which Bella posted about on Instagram on May 5, alongside a sneak preview of the moment. She wrote, “Goodness tomorrow night is going to be here before I know it and I’m going to have to relive this! ? And @theartemc will be seeing it for the first time tomorrow night! First fights are tough! Especially when you’re drunk and especially when you have to watch it on TV!”
At a baby shower shown on Total Bellas on June 11, 2020, Bella and Chigvintsev fired a cannon of blue confetti to reveal they were expecting a baby boy.
Bella also shared the news on Instagram, writing, “Can’t wait for our little boy to arrive in August!!”
Bella and Chigvintsev became first-time parents together on July 31, 2020! They announced the exciting news two days later on Instagram when Bella wrote, “7/31/2020 ? Our baby boy is here and we couldn’t be HAPPIER and more in LOVE! Everyone is safe and healthy.”
Chigvintsev also posted, writing, "7/31/2020 please welcome our precious baby boy Chigvintsev 👶 proud of my love @thenikkibella."
In an interview with PEOPLE on Aug. 26, Bella opened up about the first few weeks with their son Matteo Artemovich. “I’ve been up since 3 a.m., but this is what I’ve wanted my whole life,” she said. “The fact that he’s here — I’m just so in love and happy.”
She also shared she "labored for 22 hours, and I pushed for two hours while wearing a mask because of COVID-19."
Her sister, Brie, gave birth 22 hours later to Buddy Dessert. They recovered in side-by-side rooms at the hospital.
"What's crazy about Buddy and Matteo is, they both have the same scream-cry," Bella told PEOPLE. "It's the cutest high-pitch noise and they're identical. Even their coos are identical and they're so cute. Now, Matteo, he will grunt and like punch my boobs when he's breastfeeding. Artem and I will sit and laugh because it's perfect little punches he'll do. He grunts at me, so I feel like I have a little boxer on my hands."
Postpartum depression made Bella “mean” and “super depressed,” she revealed in a Sept. 30, 2020, episode of The Bellas Podcast. “Postpartum has knocked me on my ass. This is something that is way different,” she said.
Later in the podcast, Bella shared she has felt anger toward her fiancé. "He's like 'At times, I felt like you were starting to hate me,' " she said. "He's like, 'You could be mean.' And I'm not gonna lie, I did have moments of being mean. I did have moments when I looked at him and I hated him. It's true. There were times I'd look at him and I'm like, 'I think I hate you.' "
Despite the postpartum struggles, Chigvintsev is still very much in love with his fiancée. For her birthday on Nov. 21, 2020, Chigvintsev shared a picture with a sweet birthday message to his “beautiful and definitely better other half.”
He added, "You are my rock, you have been absolutely incredible as a mom to Matteo and I am so lucky to have you. I want to wish you lots of success, love and happiness and everything you wish for."
Four months after welcoming their son Matteo, Bella revealed on The Tamron Hall Show that she and Chigvintsev were seeking couples therapy.
"We hear a lot of stories of where there's sacrifice in their own relationship because it's about the kids," she said. "Artem and I, from the beginning, want to know: How do we balance this for Matteo and for our relationship?"
As the couple worked on remodeling their new home, Bella told ET on June 4, 2021, that they were “so busy” with the house that they were taking a break from wedding planning. “We haven’t even lived in it yet and we’re doing the outside and that takes so much work,” she said. “We’re still not even done designing. And so he and I both were just like, ‘Let’s get through the house. If it happens, it happens.’ ”
Matteo turned 1 on July 31, 2021, and Bella and Chigvintsev celebrated with birthday cake and an animal-themed party.
“Happy Birthday to my sweet, shy, loving, wild one Matteo ❤️,” Bella captioned photos from the event. “This past year has been the most incredible year of my life. It’s been beautiful, hard, educating, enlightening and truly amazing.”
Chigvintsev wrote, "Happy first birthday Matteo, Mama and Dada loves you so so much."
In November 2021, Bella discussed on The Bellas Podcast overcoming a rough patch with her fiancé. When Bella took a judging job on AGT: Extreme, she and Matteo were apart from Chigvintsev for six or seven weeks. “Teo goes everywhere with mama,” she said. “That’s where he’s comfortable, that’s where he does best. And, you know, it’s been hard on [Artem], and it’s been hard on me too not to have my man in my bed for over six, seven weeks.”
She went on to say that although "it's been really hard on us "and things were "a little rocky for a bit," the two have had "sexy FaceTimes" and are now "stronger than ever."
A wedding between Bella and Chigvintsev did not take place in fall 2021 as originally planned due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. “The one promise I made [Chigvintsev] before we can plan is that his parents can attend,” she told ET on Nov. 25, 2021. “And with where the world’s at right now, and trying to get two Russian parents into the country, it’s almost impossible. So the day I can get two visas is the day we will set our date and say, ‘I do.’ ”
A few months later, Bella told PEOPLE they postponed the wedding again. On Jan. 20, Chigvintsev announced he was diagnosed with pneumonia and was stepping away from his The DWTS: Live! Tour “due to unexpected health issues.”
At the Fanatics Super Bowl Party on Feb. 12, Bella told PEOPLE that the couple were looking at Paris for their nuptials. "We feel like it's the easiest to get his parents there," she said. "We're figuring out dates, so we'll see, but we're thinking that Paris would be the perfect place."
She also said she would "love" to have the wedding within the next few months but added, "there's just a lot of complications right now."
In a March 3 episode of The Bellas Podcast, Bella announced that she was re-evaluating her wedding plans with Chigvintsev, who had recovered from his month-long battle with pneumonia.
She said "the main reason we've hesitated" had to do with money. "Like, financially, we have so much more going on in our lives to think, for Artem and I, for the past two years, of putting our money into a wedding — it's probably the main reason we've hesitated," Bella shared.
Bella explained her decision in an interview with PEOPLE on April 10, saying, “Life is really stressful. We’re barely home together at the same time. There’s a lot more, I don’t want to say important things in life, but a lot more [to focus on],” she said. She added, “Like, we want Matteo to go to private school, so to spend what private schools cost on florals at our wedding, I’m like, I think I’ll go with education.”
In an April 26 interview with ET, Bella revealed more details about their wedding plans, including asking Chigvintsev for his guest list, talking about their entertainment plans for the big day and more. “We are going to have some fun surprises at our wedding,” she said.
Although Matteo would turn 2 in July, Bella and Chigvintsev had no plans for another baby at the moment. In the June 9 episode of The Bellas Podcast, per ET, Bella said, “I was talking to Artem [about] having baby fever. We kind of got in a big, detailed conversation about it. I was like, ‘You know, I do have baby fever, but I don’t know. Is right now right? Do you wanna try for a girl?’ And actually, Artem was like, ‘We need to wait.’ ”
Bella added that Chigvintsev wants to "wait a few years." "He [thinks that, with how] our life is right now with work, with Matteo and his age and the attention we give him, he said, '[Let's wait] till he was four.' "
Nearly three years after getting engaged, Bella and Chigvintsev wed in Paris in August 2022, a source told PEOPLE. The pair announced the news on Instagram with two wedding photos: a close-up of the couple’s rings and another image of the newlyweds looking at the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
"We said I DO," they wrote, before teasing that fans will discover even more wedding details when a four-part special, Nikki Bella Says I Do, airs on E!.
Bella also shared another photo on her Instagram Story, writing, "We both can't stop smiling I never want this feeling to end. I will love you forever and ever Mr Chigvintsev."
Days after tying the knot, Bella posted a series of photos on Instagram of her family visiting the Eiffel Tower.
The post included several shots of Bella holding Matteo in front of the landmark, as well as a snap of Bella giving Chigvintsev a smooch on the cheek. In the caption Bella wrote, “un instant magique,” which is French for “a magic moment.”
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