When Smith’s mom found out her underage daughter was working as a dancer, she was furious. She went to Houston and tracked her down. Flashing her sheriff’s badge to the management at Rick’s, she said, “That is my daughter, and I want her out of here.”
She tried to physically remove her from the stage. But her daughter had no intentions of quitting.
The Secret Reason She Got Pregnant at 17
She revealed in an interview years later that she secretly got pregnant because Billy Wayne was so jealous. She was isolated from friends and family, she was lonely.
Billy Wayne even prevented her from taking trips to the supermarket. The loneliness left a hole in her heart, one she could only fill with a baby.
Making it as a Single Mom
In Houston, she took low-wage jobs at Red Lobster and Walmart. But ends did not meet. One day she noticed a flashy red sign at a place called Rick’s.
She was 19 when she auditioned as a dancer at the club. She was remembered keenly by the management as someone who stuck out amongst the other girls. Nikki was making $50 to $200 a night instead of $60 per week.
Plastic Surgery: $14,000
Management at Rick’s kept Smith on dayshifts. Unabashedly body-shaming, they told her she needed to lose weight if she wanted to be promoted. “We have standards,” they sneered. Her self-image weighed heavy.
She decided she needed a breast augmentation if she was ever going to make it. Building a body is a pricey endeavor, so she started saving up. And then a windfall. Money worries dissipated the day she met J. Howard Marshall. He would be her future husband, but in the meantime, the 89-year-old billionaire lavished her with gifts.
How Nikki Met J. Howard Marshall
The oil tycoon would arrive at Rick’s to see daytime shows. He was too convalesced to make the evening performances. Smith spotted him from the stage. Her meeting story goes like this: “He was in the audience, and he was lonely, and I started talking to him, and we just started being friends.”
She would soon learn that this old man was a Houston oil baron, quite possibly the richest man in Texas. He was a Yale-educated corporate maven from a prominent east coast family who served in the Roosevelt administration. The shrewd businessman was wealthy enough when he struck black gold in the 1930s as a strapping young lad, but then the Texas millionaire sealed his status as a billionaire by inking an extremely lucrative deal with the Koch’s in the 1960s.