John Cena would ‘throw himself in harm’s way’ to protect his gay brother growing up

John Cena attends "The Road to F9" Global Fan Extravaganza at Maurice A. Ferre Park on January 31, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Actor and wrestler John Cena has opened up about how protective of his older gay brother, Steve Cena, he used to feel.

Cena, 46, who most recently caught the attention of gay men everywhere by appearing nearly-nude at the 2024 Oscars, comes from a family of five brothers, with the eldest of the bunch being his gay sibling Steve.

Speaking on the Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcast, the Barbie star opened up about how difficult life was for Steve, growing up queer in the “1980s in a small town in Massachusetts…”, as well as how protective John felt of him.

“Life was tough for my brother in high school. Not only was he an introvert and interested in computers. He’s also gay…. man, that’s an uphill climb.

“He just had a lot of character traits that weren’t in the ‘cool kid’ group, and he’s also holding this secret that he can’t tell or talk to anybody about.”

Continuing, Cena added: “I really feel for what it must have been like for him growing up. But I also inherited that chapter of his social constructs. And, man, it got me to learn how to lose a few fights.”

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Cena also explained that while, conventionally, the older brother protects the younger one, there was a role reversal between him and Steve.

“That sort of behaviour started like at 10 years old for me,” the Argylle actor explained. “I don’t think I understood what was going on. Kids are harsh. They form clicks real fast. And we always just hung out with each other. There was enough of us to have a basketball team, which means we could do whatever we want.

“We want to play football or baseball, there’s enough of us. So we didn’t feel [that] we needed anybody else. If we could make it through school and get back to the house, all is fine.”

Despite that, Cena himself said that as the pair mixed with other groups of teens he “took on the role of, ‘Hey, if you say something to the younger brothers, I will do my best to throw myself in harm’s way. It’s going to stop here.’”

Last year, bigots were left foaming at the mouth after pictures of John Cena in a skirt and heels emerged from the set of his new film Ricky Stanicky which also stars Zac Efron – with one even blaming the Illuminati. 

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