WWE star Nikki Bella sorry for saying she didn’t know if Chyna was ‘man or woman’ in resurfaced clip

WWE Nikki Bella Chyna

WWE star Nikki Bella has apologised for a cruel remark she made about legendary wrestler Chyna during a TV show appearance in 2013.

During a 2013 episode of Fashion Police, Nikki and twin sister Brie Bella – who make up the wrestling duo the Bella Twins – took aim at Chyna’s appearance.

Nikki held up a photo of the late wrestling icon wearing a silver and black costume. In the clip, Nikki said: “We don’t know if it’s a man or a woman.”

Host Joan Rivers, who died in 2014, joined in, calling Chyna “butch”. She then added: “I totally agree … Her vagina has a penis.”

A clip of the episode resurfaced on Twitter over the weekend, prompting a wave of backlash.

On Monday, Nikki issued an apology from the Bella Twins’ official Twitter account.

“I am sorry and embarrassed by my 29 year old self, who offended Chyna and in turn, hurt her family and others,” Nikki wrote. “I wish I could take it back.”

She pleaded with others to “learn from me” because it isn’t “worth hurting someone’s feelings for a meaningless laugh”. Nikki ended the post by thanking the late icon for blazing a path for women in wrestling.

“Chyna will always be remembered as an icon and pioneer who helped create the opportunities for women in wrestling that exist today,” Nikki wrote.

Chyna – who was born Joan Marie Laurer – was a world-renowned professional wrestler, bodybuilder and model. She rose to prominence in the World Wrestling Federation, now the WWE, in 1997, and was billed as the “Ninth Wonder of the World”.

Chyna was the first woman to qualify for the King of the Ring Tournament and the Royal Rumble Match in both 1999 and 2000. She was also the first woman to hold the Intercontinental Championship, which she achieved on two occasions.

The trailblazer died in 2016 aged 46 from an accidental overdose. But her memory and work in the WWE to bring more female representation lives on.

WWE Chyna SummerSlam

Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura turned referee chases Chyna down to throw her out of the ring in SummerSlam 1999. (Photo By MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Nikki Bella ‘apologised to Chyna’s family’

The official Chyna Twitter page responded to Nikki’s post, noting that the Total Bellas star also apologised privately. The page said the apology was “sincere” and was passed on to Chyna’s family as well.

It also pleaded with fans to “stop attacking” Nikki, suggesting Chyna would have forgiven her were she alive.

The post read: “She [Nikki] has grown as a person. There is no hate or ill will.

“Please build each other up not tear down. Chyna believed in forgiveness.”

The Bella Twins signed with the WWE in 2007 and debuted their Total Divas reality TV programme in 2013. Both women are former Diva Champions, with Nikki having held the title two times and Brie once. Nikki is also the longest-reigning holder of the title.

The sisters announced their retirement in 2019. They were also inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame earlier this year.