John Cena Says Relationship With Father 'Not Ideal,' Takes Ownership

Wrestling legend-turned-Hollywood icon John Cena has fans from both worlds across the globe. That fanbase includes his father, who appeared on WWE TV early in his son's career. Cena describes his father as "a lifelong wrestling fan," but their relationship has had its challenges.

During his appearance on "Hart to Heart," Cena dug into his relationship with his dad – and his family – and took ownership of an apparent disconnect when host Kevin Hart asked if the younger Cena was really close to his father.

"Not as much as I should be," Cena said. "A lot of that rests on me."

Growing up, Cena was uncertain as to how his dad felt about a lot of his achievements, citing college graduation and other early accolades as specific moments when he wasn't sure just how much he cared. When the time came to share the news that he had signed with WWE with his family, a career path he didn't even know was possible at one point, a varying reaction was probably to be expected.

"My first contract for the WWE was $12,000 a year," he explained. "I quit my job the day I was signed. When I told my mom, she was like, 'I hope you're okay.'"

Cena noted some tough love from his brothers, who he says focused on keeping him grounded rather than getting overly excited.

A Connection Through Wrestling

In contrast, and seemingly a surprise to Cena, his dad couldn't contain himself, beaming with excitement over his son's announcement.

"I could have told him [about] any other position and he'd have been like, 'Yeah, whatever," explained Cena. "'Dad, I just got a job with the WWE.' 'Oh, my son! This is unreal! You're gonna do great! I can't believe it!'"

Cena, whose latest film "Fast X" topped the box office in May, last appeared for WWE at Money in the Bank earlier this month, hyping up the possibility of a future Wrestlemania in London, England, and taking out Grayson Waller for good measure.

Family dynamics can be complicated and bridges to emotional gaps are hard to find. For John Cena, his success in professional wrestling ultimately revealed a side of his father he'd not seen with consistency previously, but one that has endured since.

"Still to this day, he's extremely proud."