WWE Hall of Famer Nikki Bella revealed in her new memoir Incomparable, co-written with her sister Brie, that she was raped twice as a teenager.
Bella says she was raped by someone she "thought was a friend" at age 15 and then drugged and raped by a college-aged man when she was 16.
"There is the horrible offense in the moment, and then the shame and blame that follow and feel almost worse than the original pain," Bella writes in the book, per People's Christina Dugan. "When something like this happens to you, you understand the blame-the-victim mentality, how easy it is to feel shame rather than anger, how easy it is to feel like you could have stopped it yourself."
Bella said she kept what happened a secret, and the pain she endured informed what she felt she "deserved" in relationships:
"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. 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.
"I was like that for a really long time. I would go to therapy on and off. Looking at it now I'm like, 'Oh Nicole, I wish you just would've let go at a young age. So much would have changed for you.' And I think that's what made me really want to tell these stories finally."
Bella said her relationship with John Cena helped her start to learn to "respect myself." The couple dated from 2012 to 2018, when they broke off their engagement.
Bella is now engaged to Dancing With the Stars dancer Artem Chigvintsev. They are expecting their first child this year.