john cena

John Cena says being bullied as a child motivated him to bulk up in heartbreaking interview

John Cena, long-time wrestling champ with 16 World Champion and five US Champion titles to his name, is undoubtedly one of the strongest men on earth.

But he's not just a hunk of muscle – Cena's never been afraid to show his softer side, as a man who's generous with his dimply smile as well as with Make-A-Wish grants. He's also released a hit album and starred in a number of films, his latest role being a big, strong softie of a bull in the animated film, Ferdinand. But really, it's his fame in the wrestling world that has opened up all these new avenues for the 40-year-old.

So what motivated him to start heavyweight wrestling in the first place? Apparently, it was being subjected to bullying, as he revealed in a heartbreaking interview to the Huffington Post.

"I really never socially matched that well with kids as an adolescent or early teenager," he said." Never once did I waver or try to conform like a group philosophy. I was always pretty much an oddball":

"I haven’t really run into a lot of folks that say that they weren’t bullied as a kid. Nowadays, especially with social media, there is a lot of bullying going on.

But, I go back to my high school dynamic and there were like two kids who bullied people and they bullied everybody. So, yes, I was bullied, but that goes along with a lot of people."

Even now, Cena revealed that he still gets negative comments directed his way. "I get hit hard with a lot of resentment for who I am and how I act and what I do," he said. In response, Cena said he chooses to ignore it and remind himself that "it’s okay to be who you are and you don’t have to conform to someone just because they say negative things about you or not approve of how you are."

And while the bullies motivated him to bulk up and stand up for himself, Cena has also expressed the importance of showing vulnerability as well as strength.

"I am one of the few superstars in the WWE that has been bold enough to show loss and to show humility. Usually, we focus on trying to be as dominant as we possibly can because it is an environment where machismo just thrives."

Speaking of his public proposal to his girlfriend of five years, Nikki Bella, earlier this year, (naturally in the Wrestlemania ring) he commented on how it offered fans a glimpse at his softer side.

"Showing those moments of weakness and vulnerability are hard, but it led to a lot of long term success. I mean the crowd acted very differently when they knew I was going to propose."

In an interview on Good Morning Britain just today, Cena got teary speaking about the proposal saying, "It's the best moment of my life, and I couldn't think of a better place to do it".

A gentle giant, after all.