Nikki Bella Defends Two-Year Engagement to Artem Chigvintsev

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Nikki Bella still wants to marry Artem Chigvintsev. During the latest episode of The Bellas Podcast on SiriusXM's Stitcher, Nikki set the record straight about her relationship, more than two years after she and the pro dancer got engaged. The pair also shares a 1-year-old son, Matteo.

"I will be getting married and I can't wait. I do me, for me, and so that means I'll marry Artem when I want, for me, and Matteo, and him, for my life," Nikki, 38, told her twin sister and co-host, Brie Bella. "... When Artem's on tour, when Artem's gone, I get really sad. I love my life with Artem in it, and I can't imagine Artem not in my life. I don't want to imagine Artem not in my life. I truly feel like, deep down in my heart, I've found the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with, and I want to get married to him."

Speculation about the status of Nikki and Artem's relationship began after she made comments during an interview, which she believes were taken the wrong way.

"The day I say 'I do' and give vows, I want to make sure that's the rest of my life. I don't want to be someone who's divorced," Nikki said on the podcast, while recounting her comments during the interview. "... Sometimes your perspective changes when you have children... because your kid becomes number one, but also you think of divorce like, 'How does that affect my kid?' You just think of different things."

"What Artem and I have now is amazing," she added. "So, yeah, before I walk down the aisle to Artem, I want to make sure that we're beyond 100 percent, like, this is going to be amazing, because I don't want to get divorced."

According to Nikki, those comments "turned into I don't want to marry him."

"And then I made the comment, 'I really just wanted to be with someone who would be an amazing father and that's Artem.' So they took it as if, 'Oh, she found her baby daddy and was like, OK, I'm content,'" she added.

If there seems to be some mystery to why Nikki and Artem have chosen to wait to tie the knot, that's by design. Nikki noted on the podcast that she was "very traumatized" from her public breakup with John Cena in 2018, and has thus "been very careful" choosing the information she shares about her current relationship.

"We've given a lot, but... it's a lot less than how I used to be. I feel like I've held back a bit when it comes to my relationship," she said. "... I've been so protective of it because I learned so much in the one before."

"As you get older and then you have kids, when you make those decisions, it's not like when you're young," Nikki added. "... It's weird how it hits you now, late 30s, a mother, Artem and I already have this beautiful life together. But I still want to get married, don't get me wrong."

With the intention of clearing up any rumors, though, Nikki went on to share more than she has before about why she and Artem have yet to make things official.

"This is anyone who got engaged right before a pandemic that none of us saw coming. It's been tougher," she explained. "Also, there are things that Artem and I don't talk about, like, financially. We have so much more going on in our lives that to think, for Artem and I, for the past two years, of thinking of putting our money into a wedding, it's probably the main reason why we've hesitated."

"We just never wanted to say to people, 'We don't want to spend the money on that right now,'" Nikki added. "We're building a home that has cost us four, five times more than what we thought. We want Matteo to have an amazing education, so we start to put all of our money in other places, and then we're like, 'Do we really want to spend all of this on a wedding?'"

When ET spoke with Nikki in November, she gave another reason why her wedding was on hold indefinitely.

"The one promise I made him before we can plan, is that his parents can attend, and with where the world's at right now and trying to get two Russian parents into the country, it's almost impossible," Nikki said, alluding to travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "So, the day I can get two visas, is the day we will set our date."

In the same interview, Nikki said that she and Artem may tie the knot by Thanksgiving 2022.

"I really do want to get married," she said. "I mean, selfishly, I just want to have that, like, one big day about me, I can't wait for that and to wear that dress, but I do want to marry Artem."

During a different conversation with ET a few months prior, Nikki described her dream wedding, noting she wants "a really big bash."

"Napa Valley, for sure, and in the fall because the leaves change and we could be a little crispy cold. Champagne towers, black tie events, and obviously we'd have the greatest food ever 'cause we're here in Napa Valley," she said. "I'd have amazing wine and just think of the decor you get to bring in... the most beautiful reds and deep dark reds. I just have this whole vision."

On her podcast, Nikki revealed that she may be thinking of a new location for the nuptials.

"For me, when I do have my wedding, I want it to be a dream. I don't want to do something little because it's like, 'Well, this is all you can afford right now.'" she said. "... I want to get married in Paris with a gorgeous couture dress, and Artem in a gorgeous couture tux, and Brie in a gorgeous couture dress too, but black."

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