Transgender Widow Finds Love Again
Incredible as it may sound, she was born a boy named Justin. Growing up, his childhood was marked by confusion.
In 1996 at age 21, Justin legally changed his name to Nikki and began living as a woman.
Nikki told INSIDE EDITION, "It was very confusing. You grow up feeling like a little girl, but are told you're a boy."
Then, love struck when Nikki met and married firefighter, Thomas Araguz III.
"I loved him tremendously," she said.
A year later, she underwent sex change surgery and had her birth certificate changed to female. Then, her life changed in an instant.
Four years after their marriage, her firefighter husband was tragically killed in a blazing factory fire outside Houston. A grieving Nikki found herself waging a war with her late husband's family over his firefighter's benefits, worth more than a half-a-million dollars.
"I'm fighting for the widow's benefits and the validity and acknowledgement of my relationship with my late husband," Nikki explained.
Watch Nikki's Story Here
A Texas judge voided her marriage since Nikki was born male. Her lawyer, Allie Levy, has filed an appeal.
Levy explained, "The state of Texas family code specifically does recognize sex change."
The whole ordeal took an emotional toll.
Nikki said, "I never felt like I would be loved."
But cupid's arrow struck again when Nikki went on a dating site and met William Lloyd, a successful Houston artist and owner of The Starving Artist Gallery.
William told INSIDE EDITION, "I was not expecting to fall in love and next thing I know, I totally did."
They attended a wedding together and sparks flew.
Nikki told us, "I caught the bouquet."
"I caught the garter," said William.
Then, William popped the question.
William said the fact that Nikki was born a boy isn't a issue. "She is like the perfect woman her anatomy is like any other woman I've ever been with."
William is divorced with two kids. His son, Cash and daughter, Charlotte, have accepted Nikki.
Charlotte remarked, "People should love who they want and who they want to marry is who they want to marry."
But it wasn't as simple as that. Nikki and William were denied a marriage license in Houston because it was considered a same sex marriage even though Nikki has her birth certificate and passport which both show she is legally female.
"I had a sex change. I am a woman and I have proof of it," she stated.
So, Nikki and William headed to nearby Corpus Christi where Nikki's proof of a sex change was accepted and she could finally start over with a second chance at happiness.