Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev Get Married, But Their Then-2-Year-Old Son Was Too Sick to Be the Ring Bearer

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigventsev started dating in January 2019 – a little over one year after the two finished in seventh place on Season 25 of Dancing With the Stars. Their relationship quickly blossomed into an engagement in January 2020 and, not long after, they made their first pregnancy announcement.

On July 31, 2020, the couple welcomed their first (and only, so far) child – a son, Matteo Artemovich Chigvintsev. Two years later, on August 26, 2022, Bella and Chigvintsev officially tied the knot in a lavish and beautiful wedding in Paris, France. They have been happily married ever since that special day. 

On January 26, 2023, the couple released the first episode of a four-part series that followed their wedding planning process and eventual wedding. The final episode was released on February 16th and gave fans a close look at their wonderful wedding. Unfortunately, they were missing an important piece.

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With both Bella and Chigventsev at the altar, they were ready for their ring bearer – Matteo, who was 2 years old at the time – to deliver the rings. Bella started to freak out when her brother, JJ Garcia, showed up at the end of the aisle, instead. “Yeah, so I’m not Matteo but…” her brother said with a bit of guilt. 

“He’s supposedly not feeling too well right now,” he explained. Nikki immediately entered ‘mom mode’ and started to ask what was wrong with him. Despite her brother assuring her that everything – including her son – will be fine, she insisted on him either coming to see her or she going to check up on him. 

After taking a quick moment to compose herself, she decided that the wedding must go on – which it did. Matteo was apparently throwing up, which is why he couldn’t walk down the aisle as ring bearer. Bella had previously revealed that he didn’t walk down the aisle in an interview with PEOPLE in January. 

“I always had his dream, as a parent, that he’s just going to come down the aisle. Everything’s going to be so perfect. And that wasn’t the case,” she explained, though she didn’t give a reason why at the time. It might not have gone as planned, but that’s something every couple can attest to on their wedding day.

Nikki Bella Doesn’t Want Her Son to Grow Up on Reality TV

In her January interview with PEOPLE, Nikki Bella spoke about her decision to keep her son, Matteo – who turns 3 years old in July – away from the public eye as much as possible. It’s a decision we see a lot of celebrity parents take in the age of social media, especially with paparazzi becoming very invasive.

“We’ve always been very protective about — we don’t want Matteo to grow up on reality TV,” she said. While they allow him to make appearances every now and then, they don’t allow it often. “Even though he’s in moments, we didn’t let him film a lot. Even in a series, we’re very protective of it,” she continued. 

Matteo wasn’t the only one missing from the power couple’s wedding. During the first episode of the Nikki Bella Says I Do series, Artem and Nikki discussed how disappointed they were that Artem’s parents weren’t able to make it to the wedding – they don’t live in America. In fact, they haven’t even met Matteo. 

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“It’s not normal. It’s ludicrous that that’s the case. God forbid if my parents never meet my son in person, that would be the most devastating thing. You can never get that back,” said Artem in the episode. He explained how meeting Matteo at their wedding would’ve been perfect, but that just didn’t happen. 

Don’t worry, Matteo was finally able to meet his grandparents – which was confirmed on Instagram when he shared a photo of the precious moment.

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