Ex-wrestlers Brie and Nikki Bella are throwing their weight around the TV screen in S5 of their reality series Total Bellas from Sunday, 10 May on E! Entertainment (124) at 19:05. They’re packing up their WWE wrestling careers and tackling all-new, all-scary changes in their lives.

“I feel Total Bellas is successful because my sister, Nicole, and I have always been open books. We told each other that if we go into reality TV, we would have to let the good, the bad and the ugly out there,” explains Bree. “We can’t hide anything. And I feel like so many people have related to that. It’s definitely been hard to showcase our break-ups and our marriages, to just the hard parts in life. It’s all here for everyone to see.”

Nikki adds, “Our show is so relatable because sometimes when love hits us in the face, as human beings we don’t know how to handle it because we think, ‘Isn’t this supposed to take time? Why am I falling so hard for this person so quickly?’ and I think a lot of people will relate, especially to my journey this season.”

Breaking boundaries

We chatted to Bree and Nikki, who were totally honest about S5 – boys, babies and all things Bella.

Family matters

What would you say is the reason for the success of Total Bellas?

Brie: What I really love about this season is that not only do we have a new team so the show just looks beautiful and different, but it brings out things that we were going through in life that we didn’t even realise. For myself, it’s my marriage. I guess I’d been kind of coasting in my marriage. The one thing you realise is your kids become your whole world – you put them first – then after kids it’s your career because you’re looking to make money and do your own thing, and your marriage kind of goes to the end of the priority list. I realised with Bryan and I, we had to put our marriage first or we were going to lose it. And people can see us on that journey this season. Even for myself, I just had to learn how to balance everything. I thought I had the hang of being a career woman, and a mom, and a wife, but I didn’t. And so that’s the journey you’ll move on with me this season.

Nikki: So, in my journey this season, we have a new cast member, Artem, who is my fiancé-slash-babydaddy. I go on this rollercoaster ride where I’m just trying to fight this true love that I have because I’m falling in love so quickly. A lot of people chime in, from family members to friends. And it’s something I just try to fight, because what Artem and I go through in less than a year is what couples will go through in four or five years. From the loss of a job, to moving, falling in love quickly, getting engaged, getting pregnant. So, you really see that journey with me trying to figure it out – why I’m trying to push this person away but wanting them close.

Are you in lockdown now because of the Coronavirus pandemic?

Nikki: Brie and I are very lucky because we live next door to each other, and I’m talking like zero property line [laughs]! So we’ve just been isolating together. We’re here over in Phoenix, Arizona, and we feel very lucky because a lot of people are alone, or it’s just their family. We’re trying to make this fun, I mean as fun as it could be. I’m not gonna lie, we have some really tough days and we’re very stressed, and have a lot of anxiety, especially being pregnant. But we do different nights of who cooks dinner, and we try to decorate the table really pretty, or we go on nature walks, or we try to do fun activities.

I have to say I feel very lucky having Birdie [Nikki’s daughter] around, because Birdie doesn’t know what’s going on. Every day to her is so fun and the family’s around her. She not only brings us hope, but takes us out of what’s going on in the world for just a few hours. But it’s definitely been tough, and we constantly are praying for the best. We do believe there’s gonna be light at the end of the tunnel.

You say in the show you do almost everything together  what do you love most about each other and what do you like least?

Nikki: I feel blessed that she truly is my partner in crime. Having a sister who’s a best friend is really nice because you have someone who will keep all your secrets, who will tell you the truth whether it hurts or not, even when it comes to wearing an ugly outfit!

The one thing I like the least about her, is maybe that she is hard on me! Not that I think she’s horrible to me, but because she is so honest. I think you could just butter that up a bit, or maybe not tell me so much of how you feel, so that would be it!

Brie: What I love most about my sister is how driven she is. When she has her mind set on something, she will give 110 percent. It doesn’t matter how tired she is, she doesn’t care how busy she is, she gives that to you.

And the thing I like least about her is she always fills up my plate – I’m like, “Hey, I like off days!” She likes to work seven days a week, I’m like, ‘Give me my weekends please’!

The business of being real… ity stars

S4 had highs and lows for you both.

Nikki: Competing against Ronda Rousey for [WWE] Evolution, that was the top of my career. At the same time, a lowlight was coming out of a really big break-up. I was at a place where I had found love and a home. And to go back on that so quickly. I struggled. I was struggling with depression and sadness. It was such an inner battle because I’m doing something so amazing in my career and yet, at the same time, I’m so sad inside.

Brie: Gosh, making my comeback and being at [WWE] Evolution, and the all-women’s pay-per-view show. The lowlight would be that my comeback didn’t go the way I wanted it to. It was something where I thought, “Oh this will be easy. Go on the road every week, leave my daughter at home, and I’ll physically be the same in the ring.” I wasn’t. I thought I was just going to walk in being that girl in my 20s kicking butt in the ring, and it wasn’t that [laughs]!

How do you juggle starring in Total Bellas and being executive producers on the show?

Brie: Nicole and I definitely have to wear our producer hats, and then our cast hats. Being executive producers, we can’t ever take things out or try to make people look good. When we go in on the editing and we’re looking at everything, we have to look from a different point of view. We do that. My sister Nikki and Artem get into a really big fight this season, and with her watching that I was thinking, “Oh my gosh!” But even though we’re torn and this is super embarrassing, we keep it in because we know it’s relatable.

How has S5 evolved from S4?

Nikki: This season is our deepest, rawest season yet. Brie really goes on this journey with her marriage, and I think anyone who’s been in a long relationship is really going to relate to Brie and Bryan this season. They’ve been together for seven years, they have a three-year-old child, and the cameras really caught just how distant they’d become and that their relationship was really just based around their daughter Birdie. Obviously, we all know that the ending to the story is that Brie is now pregnant. But I feel like it’s the most relatable they’ve ever been because I know everyone who’s been sitting on the couch tuning in has gone through that, or is going through that. I think they’ll learn a lot from Brie and Bryan this season.

How much have you changed since S1?

Brie: It’s so crazy because when I think of myself at the beginning of filming reality – even with [WWE] Total Divas – I was this professional wrestler travelling the world, having fun, and I had my fiancé (and later, husband, Bryan Danielson) join me on that. I didn’t have to worry about anything. And it’s so weird in my journey from Total Bellas S1 to now, just how much I’ve evolved into a grown-up! From becoming a wrestler to an entrepreneur; becoming someone who lived life only thinking about myself, to now having a family and putting them first. And since I became a mom, I really found my voice. I learned how to use it and not have any fear behind it.

Nikki: Through reality I’ve gotten to know myself more, because there’s something about watching yourself on TV. You can no longer lie to yourself. I can’t lie about my feelings or how I am as a person because I’m watching it – I’ve been watching myself unfold for the past almost seven years. And I feel I have grown to really knowing what I want out of life, and just really becoming the woman that I was meant to be.

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