Birthdate: March 5, 1975
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Nicole ("Niki") Taylor was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Ken and Barbara Taylor, a Broward Sheriff's Deputy and a photographer, respectively. She was raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida and attended Cooper City High School. After graduating, her education included studying special effects and taking song and dance classes. She has an older sister, Joelle, and her younger sister Kristen ("Krissy"), a fellow model, died of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia on July 2, 1995, at the age of 17.
Taylor grew up wanting to be a model and at age 13, she signed with Irene Marie Models in South Florida. There she met up with photographer Jean Renard who became her manager. She subsequently won a Fresh Faces contest in New York City and a $500,000 modeling contract. She began professional modeling at the age of 14 and two years later Taylor was a millionaire and president of her own company, Niki, Inc. Her first magazine cover was an issue of Seventeen and at 17, she graced the cover of Vogue, becoming the youngest model to do so. She has over 400 worldwide magazine covers to her credit and her six covers of Allure, Vogue, ELLE, Marie Claire, Self, and Shape, all in the month of May 1996, have become known as the "Niki Six." She was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1991 and appeared in the 1997, 1998 and 1999 editions of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, as well as on the 1998 cover of their swimsuit calendar.
In 2001, Taylor went to rehab to treat an addiction to Vicodin, a prescription painkiller. On April 29, 2001, Taylor was critically injured in a car accident in Atlanta, Georgia. The driver of the car she was in was attempting to answer his cell phone, lost control of the car and smashed into a utility pole. Taylor was wearing her seat belt at the time and was not thrown from the vehicle; however, she suffered severe internal injuries, including a collapsed lung and serious liver damage, and she spent six weeks unconscious. Taylor was treated at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and had at least 80 operations, as well as physical therapy.
Taylor married Arena football player, Matt Martinez, on July 19, 1994, and their twin sons, Jake and Hunter, were born in December the same year. Taylor and Martinez divorced in 1996 and she later dated country singer Keith Urban from 2002 to 2004.
Taylor lives with her husband and two sons in a French colonial house on seven acres in Brentwood, Tennessee. "I love being a mom and the chaos it brings me," she told People. "It reminds me how lucky and blessed I am." Taylor rarely models anymore, but she opened a clothing store, Abbie and Jesse's, in Cool Springs with her manager and friend, Lou Taylor (no relation), in July 2005. She also founded the Begin Foundation for the Advancement of Women in Business, which helps women with business ideas but who have limited resources.
On January 29, 2007, Taylor filed a federal lawsuit charging E! Entertainment with slander and emotional distress in their profile "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." "My life is far from a 'boulevard of broken dreams," she said. "(With) my recent marriage, successful fragrance line, clothing boutique and women's foundation, it's better than it's ever been."