Nikki Bella is opening up about difficult parts of her life.
In her new memoir Incomparable, co-written with her twin sister Brie, the WWE star reveals that she was raped twice as a teenager, People reports.
Bella says that she was first raped at 15 by a fellow high school student she “thought was a friend,” and that at 16 she was drugged and assaulted by a college-age man.
“There is the horrible offence in the moment, and then the shame and blame that follow and feel almost worse than the original pain,” she writes. “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.”
Speaking to People, Bella said, “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.”
She added, “I was like that for a really long time,” she admits. “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.”
But now, Bella is finally open to sharing her story in order to help others.
“When the #MeToo movement happened, I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh,'” she said. “I feel like, if I’m having these younger women look up to me, maybe I can help them and have them not hold onto this as long as I did. It wasn’t until I was 28 and in a relationship where someone started to teach me how to respect myself. That’s how long I held on to things and felt I had no boundaries. And I’d always look at Brie like, ‘Oh, she has boundaries, she treats herself with such respect. How do I not have this?’ And I knew why. But I held onto it for so long. When I look back at just decisions I made based off of it, I wish I could have heard my words now as a 36-year-old woman then, and be like, ‘You’re going to be okay.'”
Bella adds, “I hope whoever reads the book will throw on whatever imaginary cape they dream of and say, ‘I’m the hero of my own story and will conquer whatever I want to do!'”