Channel24's Royal and International News Editor, Bashiera Parker, recently spoke to Brie and Nikki Bella. Huddled up at home, the Bella Twins spoke about everything from life under lockdown to the new season of Total Bellas.
"This season is going to be hard for me to watch," Brie tells me on a telephone call from Arizona.
The twin sisters are self-isolating together with their families in the US amid the Covid-19 pandemic, while remotely gearing up for the fifth season of their reality show, Total Bellas.
They've had their fair share of ups and downs, and when they're laying it all out for the world to see, sometimes it's hard to be strong, even for the former professional wrestlers. But as they both prepare to welcome new life into the world (yes, twins, pregnant, at the same time, just two weeks apart!), they're finding their calm and focusing on what matters most.
Our 10-minute call starts with a friendly "Hi, how are you?" which soon turns into a conversation about freshly baked doughnuts and cinnamon rolls following my all too-excited: "Congratulations, by the way!"
"Now, not only are you twins, and pregnant at the same time, you're also experiencing the exact same pregnancy symptoms?"
"I have to say, it's creepy!" Nikki tells me. "Being my first pregnancy and Brie's second, we are having the same symptoms, the same cravings. We both crave so much baked goods! It's funny because Brie's like 'I craved so much salt with Birdie and this is so opposite.' Now we're both dreaming of freshly baked doughnuts or cinnamon rolls.
"We don't crave fast food at all. And surprisingly, we're not craving our wine that we usually love to drink," she jokes.
"Brie and I wake up, and we're like, 'Mmm, what baked good can we have today?'
"Even our first trimester, we were both so sick, we both had like a hangover every day, it was like a whole 12-"
"-14 days of being so sick," Brie chimes in.
Nikki adds: "I was like, 'I didn't even party last night, but I have such a hangover'. It's been pretty crazy how identical it is!"
(Nikki Bella. Photo: Getty Images.)
Discussing the new journey they're on triggers talk about the seriousness of the coronavirus and how it's really put things into perspective. I ask: "What has time in self-isolation taught you about yourself and what and who you hold near and dear?"
"I'm someone who loves to work 24/7," Nikki says. "I'm very focussed and driven with my companies, and always wanting to expand Brie and I's brand and our empire, and just be on the go a lot. Isolation and the coronavirus has really just shown me how much the little things really mean and how important it is that you take time and just slow down and really give your attention to the people you love, because life goes by so quick.
"A lot of things that we strive for in life, do they really matter?
"For me, I just learned I'm going to balance my life in such a different way, and instead of being the girl that works 24/7, when we all get through this I'm going to really start to cut down on a lot. I'm going to really stop and use the saying, 'Smell the roses.'"
"I'm right there with Nicole," Brie says. "I think this is the time we realise that mother earth kind of needed a break from all of us and I feel like this is the one time everyone's like 'Oh my gosh, look at the clouds, look at how blue the skies are. Look at the dolphins in Venice and the killer whales coming close to the Washington state ocean line.'
"From the show, people pretty much know Bryan [Bryan Danielson a.k.a. Daniel Bryan] and I are hippies and earth warriors," Brie jokes. "When I'm allowed to leave the house again, I just still want to enjoy the beautiful clouds in the skies and how everything feels right now."
With babies on board and having retired from WWE, the Bella Twins won't be joining the pro-wrestlers when they take to the stage for WWE Live this September. But, according to Brie, they really wouldn't mind being on the beaches in Cape Town right now.
"I wrestled in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and had a wonderful time," she says. "Oh my gosh, the crowds were amazing! We dream about going to Cape Town in times like this. When you're in lockdown, you're dreaming about places that you'd like to go to and get in your swimsuit and just have a good time. I do wish I was in South Africa right now..."
(Nikki and Brie Bella. Photo: Getty Images.)
We get to talking about the show, which, for Brie, isn't easy.
"This season is going to be hard for me to watch because we do go really deep into my marriage," she says.
"I definitely start to realise I do put my marriage toward the end of the priority list. And I think anyone who has kids will know it's so hard to figure out the balance between being a mom, a wife and a career woman. And I've been trying to find that balance, and I think what happened is, in trying to find that balance it really scared me to think about bringing another child into the world. If I can't figure it out with one, how the hell am I going to figure it out with two?"
In the preview for the fifth season, Brie tells her husband, WWE pro wrestler, Daniel Bryan, that she didn't actually want a second child, even though he desperately did. About that initial feeling, she says: "I think after eight months of trying and always just seeing the negative test, I just kind of got to a point where I got over it. And I just thought maybe this is some sign from God telling me you're only meant to have one child. And I think women who go through that, it can put you in a negative space.
"I was shocked when I got pregnant, but I will say it brought a lot of joy," she says. "'Cause I wasn't trying, it was unexpected. I haven't had [that feeling] ever with pregnancy. I tried with Birdie, doing all the ovulation tests and just wanting it so bad.
"So it did bring joy – and a little anxiety," she adds, saying right now and "probably until the end of July" she jokes with lockdown in mind, they have to figure out as a family how to move forward, busy schedules and all.
(Brie Bella and husband, Bryan Danielson. Photo: Getty Images)
Nikki describes her journey in the upcoming season as a "love-rollercoaster ride" as they introduce their newest cast member, Artem Chigvintsev – Nikki's "fiancé slash baby daddy," as she jokes during our chat.
"We think, at one point in our lives we experience this love where we meet someone and it's just that feeling of love at first sight, and you fall in love so quick," she says. "But it's like, when you're at a certain age, and career comes into play, and you've had a really bad public break up, it's like, I tried to fight it. I tried to fight this love, and I'm getting a lot of opinions from family members and friends, like, 'Is this too fast?' What Artem and I go through this season, I feel like a relationship goes through in like four years. We get together, we're falling in love really fast, then all of a sudden he loses his job, then it's like oh my goodness let's live together. And then everyone's like 'What are you thinking?' It makes me want to run, and then I think, 'But I really do love this guy.' Next thing I know I'm getting engaged, and then I find out I'm pregnant."
"You have to be careful what you ask in prayer," Nikki cautions, "because sometimes it can hit you all at once. Sometimes I'm like, 'You could've stretched it out a bit!'
"I feel really blessed, and I've learned a lot about myself this season. I really started to realise why I act the way I do in relationships and sometimes even in life with people. It's what affected me in my childhood that I never really worked on. And you see that unfold with both Brie and I this season as well," she teases.
(Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev. Photo: Getty Images)
Total Bellas season 5 will premiere on Sunday, 10 May at 20:00 on E! (DStv 124).