From The Headhunters to The USOs, the WWE has welcomed several twin duos into its crazy world over the years. But few have made a bigger impression than Nikki and Brie Bella. The identical pair won three Divas titles between them and also enjoyed considerable success as a tag team. Here’s a look at 20 things you may not know about the now-retired wrestlers.
20. Bella isn’t their real surname
As with the majority of wrestling stars, the twin sisters didn’t actually perform under their real name. They only became known as Nikki and Brie Bella after joining the WWE in the mid-2000s. Their family name is, in fact, Garcia-Colace, while their parents christened them Stephanie Nicole and Brianna Monique, respectively.
The wrestler formerly known as Brianna is also now on her third different surname. The former Divas Champion wed fellow wrestler Daniel Bryan, with the couple welcoming a daughter, Birdie Joe, into the world in the spring of 2014. And the twin decided to take her husband’s real name of Danielson, too.
19. They auditioned for the 2006 Divas Search
Launched in 2003, the WWE Raw Diva Search saw the wrestling body attempt to find its next big female stars via a talent search. Eve Torres, Ashley Massaro and Christy Hemme are just a few of the names whose careers were kickstarted by the show. But, incredibly, The Bella Twins never even made the final eight.
Yes, the future Divas Champions didn’t even get any camera time when they auditioned for the 2006 series of WWE Diva Search. Instead, they were forced to watch Layla El storm to victory on TV like the rest of us back home. Maryse Ouellet, who placed seventh that same year, went on to enjoy an illustrious wrestling career as well.
18. They both appeared on Meet My Folks
Reportedly influenced by Ben Stiller comedy Meet the Parents, NBC reality show Meet My Folks was a two-season wonder back in the early 2000s. The premise revolved around three bachelors not only briefly living with a prospective partner but also their family. And in 2003 the then 19-year-old Nikki and Brie appeared in the twins episode titled “The Calderons.” The latter was more than happy to discuss the experience in a 2015 chat with Wrestling Inc.
“I remember everyone kept saying, ‘Man, you guys should do reality,’” Brie explained. “And I was always like, ‘I don’t know.’ But Meet My Folks wanted my sister and I to go on, and hey, when you’re 19 and they want to give you a paycheck to have some fun? My sister and I were all about it. And sure enough, we felt so comfortable in front of the cameras.”
17. They worked at Hooters
Nikki and Brie took on various jobs to make ends meet before they got their shot at the big time. These pre-fame roles included hotel waitressing and working at a music label’s marketing department. They each also served customers at America’s raunchiest restaurant chain.
Yes, just like their peers Brooke Adams and Liv Morgan, the Bella Twins were once employed by Hooters. And there’s photo evidence, too. The pair can be seen posing for photos in the chain’s famous white and orange uniforms in images that have been posted online.
16. They both played soccer
The WWE wasn’t the first time that the Bella Twins had displayed their impressive athletic prowess. Indeed, both sisters were talented soccer players while growing up in the Arizona city of Scottsdale. And Nikki carried on developing her skills on the field when she headed off to study at college, too.
The future Divas Champion was able to get on the pitch for several games as a member of Grossmont College’s soccer team. And she also enjoyed her first taste of notable sporting success during her time at the Californian community college: she was part of the side that lifted the Pacific Coast Conference Championship trophy.
15. Nikki had a relationship with Dolph Ziggler
Nikki Bella famously used to be one half of the WWE’s premier power couple. The star became romantically involved with John Cena in 2012 and was proposed to by him in the ring at WrestleMania five years later. Of course, just a month before their wedding, the pair decided to call it a day. And this wasn’t the first time that Nikki had broken things off with a fellow wrestler.
Indeed, back in 2008 Nikki began dating Dolph Ziggler, who would later develop a major feud with Cena. Born Nicholas Theodore Nemeth, he would also twice lift the World Heavyweight, United States and Raw Tag Team Championships trophies during his wrestling career. However, he achieved most of his success after splitting with Nikki in 2011.
14. Brie once dated a rock guitarist
Brie has been married to fellow wrestling favorite Daniel Bryan since 2014, with the pair welcoming daughter Birdie into the world three years later. But the four-time WWE Champion isn’t the only notable name with whom Brie has enjoyed a romantic relationship. In fact, she spent half of the 2000s dating rock guitarist Richie Kotzen.
Kotzen first came to attention as a member of hair-metal legends Poison in the early 1990s. He later went on to showcase his talents in Mr. Big and is now the lead vocalist in his very own group, The Winery Dogs. The musician began stepping out with Brie in 2004 but the pair called it quits five years later.
13. They modeled for a World Cup campaign
The Bella Twins took advantage of their striking looks before entering the wrestling ring with various modeling jobs. Indeed, after moving from San Diego to Los Angeles to find fame, the pair appeared together in front of the cameras for several ad campaigns. And one of these was for hugely popular American lager Budweiser.
With both sisters skillful on the soccer pitch, this particular gig seemed tailor-made for them. Nikki and Brie were chosen to be the brand’s official World Cup girls for the 2006 tournament in Germany. And the pair even got to lift the coveted Jules Rimet trophy for one of the shots.
12. They guested on Psych
The Bella Twins have guested as themselves on numerous TV shows. As well as wrestling-themed reality series such as Total Divas and Total Bellas, they’ve also shown up on MTV’s clip show Ridiculousness and prank comedy The Substitute. But their most memorable cameo came on USA Network’s long-running comedy procedural Psych.
Nikki and Brie joined Sutton Foster as a guest star on the finale of Psych’s eighth season. The horror-themed episode saw the pair take on the roles of siblings described by TVLine as “sinister, double-dutching, demonically sexy.” The twins both scare and excite Dulé Hill’s lead character Gus in the memorable closer.
11. They’re entrepreneurs
Brie and Nikki’s skills extend far beyond chokeslams and piledrivers. The pair first proved they had business brains in 2017 when they founded Belle Radici, their very own brand of wine. The sisters worked with both Gauge Branding and Hill Family Estates on the venture. And their entrepreneurial endeavors don’t end there.
Later that same year the siblings launched clothing brand Birdiebee. The Bellas hoped to entice female customers with a line that mirrored their “passion for life, strength, women’s health and wellness, and fun,” according to the company’s website. In 2019 they added to their business portfolio by establishing the Nicole + Brizee cosmetics range.
10. They both fell pregnant at the same time
In an incredible coincidence, both Brie and Nikki discovered they were expecting babies at roughly the same time in 2020. Just two days after the former realized she was carrying her second child with husband Daniel Bryan, she learned her sister was expecting her first baby with partner Artem Chigvintsev. Brie’s initial reaction wasn’t exactly one of joy, however.
Brie admitted to People magazine that her first thought was: “Oh my gosh, this is a nightmare. Twins being pregnant at the same time? People are going to think that’s a joke. People are going to think we planned it.” But she soon calmed down, adding, “It was just too much and to think I was also pregnant and my hormones are going crazy. I think that’s why that came out.”
9. Nikki had her first marriage annulled
Nikki famously never got to walk down the aisle with John Cena. As we’ve heard, the pair broke up just weeks before their wedding, with the wrestler/actor’s lack of interest in having kids reportedly a decisive factor. However, you may not know that Nikki had previously managed to utter the words “I do” to someone else.
In one of the most candid moments on wrestling reality show Total Divas, Nikki confessed that she’d actually gotten hitched when she was just 20. The star even spent a few years married to the man in question, who’d been her teenage sweetheart. However, for reasons she didn’t reveal, the pair eventually had the union annulled.
8. They enjoy different lifestyles
Brie and Nikki may have pursued the same jobs, risen to worldwide fame together and spent the majority of their lives in each other’s company. But that doesn’t mean they’re exactly alike in every way. In fact, when it comes to their much-needed downtime, the pair are poles apart.
Brie and her wrestler husband Daniel are very much into a clean, hippy-ish way of living. Indeed, the pair are both vegetarians and regularly enjoy partaking in a spot of yoga. In contrast, Nikki sometimes likes nothing more than relaxing with a luxurious sweet treat and a taste of her favorite wine.
7. Brie’s bear claw tattoo has a deep meaning
You may have wondered about the significance of the bear claws that Nikki has inked on the lower part of her stomach. Well, it turns out that there’s a tragic story behind them. The wrestler decided to have the tattoo as a way of honoring the boyfriend she lost at the age of 18.
“Not only was it sad losing my boyfriend but his beautiful soul,” E! Online quoted Brie as saying. “I was fortunate enough to learn from him. Instead of losing faith I gained spirituality. He has a very special place in my heart, always will. The bear claws you see on my lower stomach are in memory of him.”
6. Brie has an artistic side
You might be surprised to learn that the super-macho world of wrestling boasts several talented artists. Bret Hart has raised money for charity by selling off various hand-drawn cartoons, for instance, while Jerry Lawler was once responsible for the lead artwork of the comic Headlocked. And in 2014 Brie Bella revealed that she, too, has a creative side.
Asked by USA Today High School Sports whether she had a hidden talent, Brie responded, “Sketching. I like doing that in my free time. I like sketching rock and roll artists.” The wrestler also revealed that she’s a big admirer of Rembrandt, the Dutchman renowned for his Biblical illustrations and self-portraits.
5. They competed in the International Body Doubles Twin Search
In 2006 the sisters took part in a curious competition called The Body Doubles International Twins Search. Staged at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, the contest featured 15 sets of twins plucked from across the globe. And over the course of various lingerie, fashion and photo shoot challenges, each pair attempted to stake their claim as the most beautiful.
Former O-Town member Ashley Parker Angel provided the music, while Rachel Perry from VH1 served as the presenter. It’s not known just how well the Bella Twins got on in the competition, but they definitely didn’t win. That honor went to Brazilian twins Bruna and Sara Gontijo.
4. They still have fights
The Bella Twins may appear to be the ultimate team both in and outside the ring. But they’re still prone to having the odd slanging match, too. In a 2014 interview with She Knows to promote the second season of Total Divas, Nikki revealed that she and Brie certainly don’t always see eye to eye.
Nikki told the website, “I think because we are sisters, and we are so close, it’s actually easy because we’re like a 30-year-old couple who bickers all the time.” Brie then added, “I think because of our relationship, of being sisters, is kind of why so many people like us. Because we have no boundaries. We love each other so much, we know it’s nothing personal. It’s how we were raised.”
3. They have a famous stepfather
Turns out that Brie’s husband Daniel Bryan isn’t the only other famous wrestler in The Bella Twins’ family. In 2016 the siblings’ mother Kathy Colace walked down the aisle with John Laurinaitis. This, of course, is the real name of the former WWE star who performed under the guise of Johnny Ace.
Laurinaitis found fame wrestling in the likes of the All Japan Pro Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling before joining the WWE. There he worked behind the scenes in a talent relations role for eight years. And following Laurinaitis hanging up his wrestling boots for good, he was appointed as a senior producer.
2. Brie thought Nikki should have stayed with John Cena
In a 2019 chat with Health.com, Brie admitted that she initially thought that her sister should have stayed with John Cena. The pair famously broke up shortly before their wedding, something that Brie believed was a misjudgment at the time. “They were just such a lovely couple, and I thought they were such a perfect match,” she said. “Because I’m married, I felt like there are ups and downs in relationships, and you work on things – you don’t just give up.”
However, Brie eventually realized that the split was the best thing for both parties. “I started seeing that they both wanted different things,” she added. “So then I approved of the breakup.” Nikki also revealed that the rest of her family were also very much pro-Cena at the time, but she said that this stance helped her to move on.
1. Nikki hasn’t ruled out a return to wrestling
After a brief return to the ring in 2018, The Bella Twins called time on their wrestling career – but for very different reasons. Brie decided to quit the WWE to focus on becoming a mother, while Nikki was left with no choice to retire following various injury problems. However, the latter told The Tonight Show that she feels she still has unfinished business.
“For me, I really wanted to go back and fight for the tag titles,” Nikki said. “I’ve always had my neck issues and after neck surgery, it hasn’t been OK.” Moreover, speaking to TMZ, the wrestler revealed that she hasn’t given up hope of a return. “I believe in miracles, you never know,” she stated. “We’ll see what the man upstairs has in store for me.”