John Cena Recalls Coming To His Gay Older Brother’s Defense When They Were Kids

The wrestler and actor said he’d often “throw myself in harm’s way” for his sibling starting at age 10.

John Cena is opening up about the protectiveness he felt for Steve Cena, his gay brother, when the two were growing up.

Appearing on Monday’s episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast, the wrestler, actor and Oscars night scene-stealer recalled growing up in West Newbury, Massachusetts, about 40 miles north of Boston. In that small-town environment, he said, his older sibling was often bullied because of his sexuality.

“Life was tough for my brother in high school,” John Cena explained. “Not only was he an introvert and interested in computers, he’s also gay. And being gay in the ’80s in a small town in Massachusetts, man, that’s an uphill climb.”

Cena continued: “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.”

Listen to Cena’s “Armchair Expert” comments below, beginning around the 10:33 mark.

As the younger sibling, Cena said he inevitably “inherited that chapter of [Steve Cena’s] social constructs,” adding that he “got made fun of for the way I dressed, the music I listened to, the people I associated with, my older brother.”

Reflecting on when he began wanting to protect his brother, he noted, “That sort of behavior started like at 10 years old for me.”

The actor even hinted that his willingness to “throw myself in harm’s way” on behalf of his sibling brought about his interest in physical fitness.

“That’s because it’s getting my ass kicked, starting at 10,” he quipped.

This week’s “Armchair Expert” interview wasn’t the first time that John Cena addressed his support for his older brother. Speaking to TMZ in 2013, he alluded to his sibling when he was asked about WWE star Darren Young, who that year became the company’s first openly gay wrestler.

“My oldest brother is gay, and openly gay,” he said. “Coming from a family of five boys, that’s extremely tough to admit that. And he’s openly accepted by our family.”

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