Recently on Chasing Glory With Lilian Garcia, former WWE ring announcer, singer, and podcaster Lilian Garcia welcomed dancer and reality TV star Artem Chigvintsev to the show. During the podcast, Chigvintsev talked about how his platonic relationship with former WWE Superstar Nikki Bella evolved into a marriage engagement.

According to Chigvintsev, he and Nicole became friends from teaming on Dancing With The Stars and only got together romantically after their time on the reality show ended.

“After the show ended, I went on the tour. And then, there was one of those farmers markets. It was Christmastime. I think she’s like, ‘hey, I’m going to be in town. Do you want to hang out? Do you want to grab a coffee and whatever?'” Chigvintsev continued, “so that was the first time we kind of [hung] outside of the whole dancing environment. ‘I’m here to learn. You’re here to teach me.’ And it was crazy because she literally bounced on me in the middle of the farmers market. There [were] paparazzis and she was like, ‘I’m not ready for that.'”

As the two stayed in touch as friends after the show ended, their relationship would continue to evolve.

“We did stay in touch, ‘how are you doing?’; ‘I hope the tour is going well’ and stuff like that. But there was never a moment where I was like, ‘oh, let me hit her up.’ I’ve heard the news or whatever, so initially I was there pretty much as a friend. Yeah [the relationship blossomed organically]. And I think that’s why it works now because it was never really forced into anything. It was kind of like born naturally. Maybe that’s why it’s where it is right now. I don’t know.” Chigvintsev added, “it’s hard to say, but I’m happy about it.”

Chigvintsev shared that Season 5 of Total Bellas has been filming for a few months now and that Nikki has helped him become comfortable on the show despite being a relatively private person. 

“Yes, we’ve been in production for about 3 months now,” Chigvintsev revealed. “I don’t mind giving my true reaction. That’s how I feel. I will give my opinion if it [has] been asked, so it [has] been definitely different from what I’ve done in the past because I’ve done something that I’m good at, something that I can educate people on as dancing. Now, I’m talking about my life and my opinion of things, do I like this color on and do I like this and that. I think what’s great about that is it gives people an opportunity to get to know me in a different level than what they have seen before, but it’s not intimidating. I do enjoy it, yeah. I didn’t think I would be good at it because I always feel like I need a reason, I need a purpose, to do something and when there’s a purpose and reason, I’m doing it and you have that instant satisfaction of, ‘oh, I’m doing it,’ but dealing with every day-to-day situations, [whether] it’s happy or unhappy situation, that is the purpose and I found that purpose in that.”

Chigvintsev likened his unexpected departure from Dancing With The Stars to Nikki retiring from in-ring competition in WWE. According to Chigvintsev, his fiancée has been very supportive of him after being dropped from Dancing With The Stars.

“Yeah, it’s very similar,” Chigvintsev said. “The only difference is she can’t because of the [medical] condition. I still can. I think it’s a little different. Am I better or worse depending on your situation and how you see it? But yeah, I mean she [has] been incredible and being very supportive. And even [being] able to offer me to do something like the reality show that she is doing, it’s extremely generous on her end. Honestly, if I would have to go through everything I went through by myself, I don’t know how it would turn out to be.”

Check out the show here or via the embedded player below. If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit Chasing Glory With Lilian Garcia with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

Listen to “Artem Chigvintsev – How To Love An Unchosen Profession” on Spreaker.