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Nikki Bella explains why she thanked ex-fiance John Cena in Hall of Fame speech

Bella said Cena played "a big part" in her success.
/ Source: TODAY

Nikki Bella is opening up about why she decided to thank ex-fiancé John Cena when she and her twin sister, Brie Bella, were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2020 in April.

The "Total Bellas" star, who dated Cena from 2012 to 2018, explained to "Entertainment Tonight" that the wrestling legend and Hollywood star played "a big part" in the Bella Twins' success.

"I didn't think anything about it because when you're in those moments at the Hall of Fame, you really look at your career and you're like, 'Who was there, who helped me along the way?'" Bella, 37, said, likening the induction to a Hollywood actor winning an Academy Award.

Image: Today - Season 66
John Cena and Nikki Bella dated for nearly six years from 2012 to 2018.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

During her Hall of Fame speech, Bella credited Cena, 44, with helping her to be "fearless" in the ring.

"It was Brie, it was the Bella army, it was the producers, all the people that believed in me, and John was a big part of that," she told ET. "He really helped me be that fearless side and showed me a part of that world that I never saw before."

Brie Bella also made a point to thank Cena, via text, after learning about the Hall of Fame induction.

"The one thing that I always give John Cena credit for, he was the guy who sat in a chair, watched the monitor the whole time. When you came back from your match, he'd give you advice," she told ET, adding that she got to know Cena well during the time he dated her sister.

"I was their third wheel, it'd always be all three of us traveling all the time," she said. "So, I was like, the memories and how much you just always gave us great advice, I'll never forget that. It's why we're here."

Nikki Bella and Cena have remained friendly since their split, with Cena reaching out to Bella to congratulate her last July after she welcomed her first child, a son named Matteo, with her fiancé, “Dancing With the Stars” pro Artem Chigvintsev.

Just one day later, Brie Bella welcomed her second child, son Buddy, with husband Daniel Bryan.

Cena has found love again, too, tying the knot with engineer Shay Shariatzadeh, last October.