The news had already been rumored, but Nikki Bella and Brie Bella officially confirmed on Wednesday, April 3 that they will be leaving the E! reality show Total Divas, which focuses on the women of the WWE.
Nikki and Brie made the announcement during Wednesday's episode of The Bellas Podcast, sharing that while they will still make occasional appearances on the show, they will not be principal cast members.
"Nikki and I realized this year that it is time to say goodbye to Total Divas," Brie said.
"Brie and I have been with the franchise from the beginning and have literally put our hearts and souls and our lives on TV," Nikki added. "[We wanted to] help make it into a big franchise, to help make it a success, to truly change people's minds about women in wrestling and how much women in the wrestling industry do in and out of the ring."
The Bellas had been mainstays on Total Divas since its premiere in 2013, eventually scoring their own spinoff series, Total Bellas, which just finished airing its fourth season. The twins will remain with Total Bellas now that both are retired from the WWE, and Nikki explained that it was the grueling filming schedule that pushed them toward leaving Total Divas.
“We filmed all year long,” she said. “When other people would get breaks from the reality cameras, Brie and I would be filming the next season of Bellas and then we’d go straight into Divas.”
Brie shared that her decision was also influenced by her nearly 2-year-old daughter, Birdie.
“I don’t want Birdie to grow up in front of the cameras,” she said. “I don’t want her to think that it’s a normal life.”
In addition, Nikki mentioned that reliving her personal life was difficult, especially during the "hard times," which included her breakup with John Cena that aired last summer on Total Bellas.
“With my breakup, that just showed me that when you have hard times and life and you keep filming, it’s just really hard on someone mentally,” she said. “We had to let go of one show just to keep sanity.”
“We have to live our lives twice,” the 35-year-old continued. “When you have that bad moment in your life, you have to realize the bad. I know for me, that was exhausting, living my life twice.”
While Nikki and Brie have stepped out of the ring, they still have plenty of other projects to keep them busy along with Total Bellas, including their clothing line, Birdiebee, a wine label, Belle Radici, a beauty and body line, Nicole + Brizee, and their podcast.
Without the Bellas, the Total Divas cast for Season 9 is set to include Natalya, Nia Jax, Carmella, Naomi and newcomers Ronda Rousey and Sonya Deville.
Photo Credit: Getty / Jon Kopaloff