Nikki Bella says people respect her more now that she's engaged to John Cena

Cena proposed to Bella last week at Wrestlemania 33.

April 11, 2017, 4:08 AM

— -- WWE superstar Nikki Bella said she's "still on cloud nine" after her boyfriend of nearly five years, John Cena, proposed in front of thousands at Wrestlemania 33 last week.

It was a complete reversal for Cena, 39, who previously said in an episode of "Total Divas" -- the E! reality show that follows WWE stars, including Bella and Cena -- that he'd never marry again.

He was previously married to Elizabeth Huberdeau, splitting in 2012 after three years.

In fact, in the show's initial season back in 2013, Cena told Bella, 33, flat out: "I won't get married again and I won't have kids."

Bella reflected on those conversations, telling ABC News that "there was definitely a lot of frustration."

Now, the wrestler said people have begun to treat her differently now that she's engaged. "It's this level of respect people have for me now because I'm his missus," she explained. "And that's what I'm always trying to explain to him."

"I’m like, 'John, people treat me differently because they just look at me as a girlfriend,' and unfortunately that's our world," Bella continued. "Now all of a sudden -- just within hours of him putting a ring on it and asking me to be his wife -- it is crazy the level of respect people have for me."

Bella, whose birth name is Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace, said this conversation about the importance of marriage was the only genesis of their fights during their courtship.

She continued: "He's like, 'Who cares what people think?' But [when] you walk in a restaurant and they go, 'Hi Mr. Cena,' and then they look at me and they go, "Hmm. OK. Your table's [over] here!' And it's like, 'I have a name! I'm someone too.' And that would happen to me all the time!"

Although Bella hasn't begun wedding planning just yet, she's keeping pretty busy as her reality show, "Total Divas," has returned to E!, airing Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT. And the professional wrestler is adding another title, becoming executive producer of the show that's centered on female WWE wrestlers.

"Reality TV is a lot about drama, but for the first time in a long time you actually have role models on TV," she said.

"We ... fully showcase how much these women work, and how much we’re on the road and have to balance our personal life with our work life," Bella continued, "and at the same time really care about these little girls that look up to us and as an executive producer that’s something I really want to showcase."

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