John Cena steps further into public eye with growing Hollywood profile

John Cena, shown here at the March premiere of his movie Blockers at SXSW, is involved in a growing number of entertainment endeavors outside the WWE. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

Public breakups aren't easy, and neither is trying to win back the woman you love in front of a worldwide audience -- but such seems to be the challenge for John Cena, who on Thursday posted a photo of John Cusack's character from "Say Anything" holding a boombox outside the window of his lost love.

Cena's public breakup with his fiancé Nikki Bella will be chronicled on the upcoming season of "Total Bellas," her reality show with her twin sister, Brie, which premiered on Sunday. But if you listen to Cena now, he sounds more like someone trying to win back his fiancé than like someone who is looking to move on with his life.

"I love Nicole with all my heart," Cena said. "Part of that emotional connection is support and a support system and I have to be honest with you, her and her sister are very good at what they do. They are very good at how they act as twins, their family dynamic and their personalities. They were raised to do what they do and that is the career choice of the woman that I love. Part of that dedication and support is to be there for her when needed. So all of those moments are difficult, but I love Nicole."

Going so far as to proclaim his love on the "Today" show and elsewhere, much of Cena's life is playing out in the public eye of late, and the reasons why are becoming clearer. His own obligations outside of the ring in entertainment -- from reality shows, to movies, to talk show appearances and more -- continue to grow.

Cena will star in an upcoming YouTube Red animated series called "Dallas & Robo," which is set to premiere on May 30, The eight-episode buddy comedy co-stars Kat Dennings and is from the producers of Netflix's "BoJack Horseman."

"It's a good, fun comedy based in the future about this space trucking industry with a human and a member of artificial intelligence who wants to be human and their adventure in space," Cena said. "It's in that vain of funny, snarky, easygoing and easy to watch."

Cena's obligations in Hollywood have also made it impossible for him to continue to perform on a full-time basis in the WWE. Last year alone he starred in "The Wall," "Daddy's Home 2" and "Ferdinand," and this year starred in "Blocker" with "Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Dallas & Robo" and "Bumblebee: The Movie" on deck. The 41-year-old Cena actually believes the time couldn't be better for him to step away from the ring and focus on his acting considering the recent influx of talent in the company.

"There are a lot of opportunities outside of the WWE when it comes time to choose what I want to do," Cena said. "This is a very fortunate time for me because there are so many opportunities for me, which is fantastic, but on the other side of the coin there are so many gifted superstars in the WWE and it's the best it has ever been. I don't feel at all as if I'm short-changing the WWE Universe. I don't feel like they're dependent on me in any way. I think the program is riveting as it stands and there are so many gifted young performers that deserve a chance and have earned a chance so there couldn't be a better time for me to take a break."

Cena said he has no plans to retire from WWE and fully intends to continue making appearances at major events such as WrestleMania.

"I'm far from done with the WWE," Cena said. "The WWE will always be my home, but in this current state of affairs right now with all this extra cool stuff that's going on, it's fun to try. It's a great time to be able to take a chance and I'm so eternally grateful to the WWE and its audience for bringing me to this point. I realize I'd be nowhere without them and I never forget them. I promise as soon as I have any sort of downtime, like I had when I was at the Greatest Royal Rumble and the string of shows I did before WrestleMania, anytime free time I get will not be free, it will be spent at my home in the WWE."

One of the projects Cena is most looking forward to is "The Janson Directive," which is based off the famous novel by Jason Bourne series author Robert Ludlum. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was originally supposed to star in the film but will now serve as the executive producer through his Seven Bucks Productions.

"Dwayne is the professional gold standard," Cena said. "He's the hardest worker in the room and he's inspiring to everyone and I don't think he realizes the outreach that he has on people. From a personal standpoint, he's a friend of mine and a really good one. We had what I would consider a bad year when as a selfish wrestling fan I went after him and his decision-making process to get him back in the wrestling ring. That was so wrong of me but it actually ended in one of the greatest moments in WWE history. So I was very fortunate that it worked out and it was only after that moment that we were both able to communicate with each other the amount of mutual respect we had for each other and from then on it has been a fantastic relationship.

"He doesn't have to pay me the time of day, but he has always been there for me and he has always given me sound advice, not some sort of reverse psychological thing that will hamstring my career," Cena continued. "He has always been very transparent and an ear if I need to ask him something. He always checks in on me as I do him. I really admire what he does, how he operates, who he is, and I couldn't think of better partner for a project like this and I'm so excited and I know if I know I don't do a good job, he'll kick my ass."

One of the things Cena may have to do for that film, and perhaps other projects in the future, is grow facial hair, which he had never done before. He gave it a shot last week and momentarily became a trending topic on Twitter when a photo of him growing a beard began to make the rounds.

"I've just been put in a peculiar place recently where I'm challenging myself to do things I've never done before," Cena said. "I've never grown facial hair. I had a few days free, but I since shaved it off before I did the "Today" show. I'm clean shaven and I'll probably go clean shaven from here on out, but I have some projects coming up that might have called for a look like that and I wanted to make sure before we did it that it was possible and it looked OK.

"'The Jansen Directive' script is so intricate and well-written and it calls for a different approach that may call for me to grow facial hair," Cena continued. "I'm also fortunate enough to go to China in the near future and work with Jackie Chan on a wonderful movie I'm doing out there and I'm very excited for that. It calls for me to possibly have some facial hair so I didn't want the first time I tried something like that to be the first time I was doing it. Now I know the process. I know how long it takes, I know what it looks like and it was a cathartic thing to do in a period of self-reflection to do something I've never done before and change my routine."

Cena isn't ruling out popping up in WWE again this year for major events such as SummerSlam in August and Survivor Series in November. Even if this period represents more of a wind-down than a retirement, it's clear his days of being an everyday performer are in Cena's rearview mirror. One day when that eventually leads to the official end of his WWE career, Cena is fine with it -- but no matter what opportunities come to pass, Cena refuses to consider closing the door on the company that made him a star.

"I hope I'm always a part of the WWE," Cena said. "But if one day the organization and the company that I love so much says thank you for your service and here's your virtual gold watch, I will be on my way with a smile on my face. As long as they'll have me, even if it's something as simple as driving to the Perfornance Center and talking to young performers, that is still an attachment to the business for me. I never want to leave it because it's ever-changing and always attractive. You always continue to learn because it's never the same.

"That's what I really enjoy about it, and the fact that the audience controls the emotion. The audience is the heartbeat of what we do and it keeps you sharp and humble. It's embarrassed me and humiliated me and all of those things have made me better. I'm so very grateful for that. I don't want to ever turn my back on the thing that has prepared me to feel like I can accomplish anything."