July 22, 2009 -- Tabloids and gossips rags have painted Kesha Nichols as a jilted bride whose NBA star boyfriend left her at the altar days before the ceremony. But the founder of Sugar&SpiceNYC dance group and former New Jersey Nets dancer resents being depicted as a weak girl who was ditched at the altar; she sees herself as a strong woman who is dealing with a temporary setback.
"That's my philosophy, just keep dancing for life," Nichols told "Good Morning America" today. "Just keep picking up the pieces and keep going."
Nichols, who dated popular San Antonio Spurs forward Richard Jefferson for five years, said the entire ordeal had been humiliating, but she that she held no ill will toward her former partner. She denied reports that she'd been dumped in an e-mail but said there was an e-mail that simply "confirmed what we already talked about."
"I have no hard feelings. I will always care about him. ... My heart is broken. I'll miss him as a friend," she said.
Nichols said she wasn't mad at Jefferson and wouldn't have stayed in the relationship with him for so long if he wasn't a good person. She added that she still hasn't had a chance to digest what has happened and has relied heavily on family, friends and a vacation to ease her mind.
Nichols said she hasn't had a chance to miss Jefferson yet, though at some point she will because he was her best friend.
She hasn't spoken to the NBA star in "two weeks and two days" and had an agreement not to for some time, she said. Perhaps in the future they can be friends, but for now, she said she needs him out of her life so that she can think clearly about what she wants to do next.
Canceling a wedding days before a ceremony is a woman's worst nightmare, she said.
To date she hasn't seen the designer wedding dress she planned to wear and probably never will. She still has her ring, which she keeps in a North Carolina safe deposit box.
Dealing with the breakup also has been difficult because of the media coverage. Nichols said the relationship's disintegration has caused a dissemination of misinformation.
Reports claimed the ceremony had a $2 million price tag and that Jefferson broke up with Nichols via e-mail. Nichols said neither of those claims is true.
She said the true cost of the wedding was $500,000, and 70 percent of that was lost.
"They were talking about how much was spent on the wedding; the No. 1 thing to me was marrying the person I was in love with," Nichols said.
Relationship Break Down
When the July 11 event was called off, it was the second time Nichols and Jefferson ended an engagement. A year ago the couple was engaged before Jefferson broke it off. The two spent months apart before Jefferson was able to woo Nichols again.
She said ending their wedding plans for a second time was extremely difficult and that she wished Jefferson had let her go sooner.
Nichols described her former relationship as one of opposites While she enjoys being affectionate, Jefferson isn't as vocal about his thoughts or feelings. She said she is a social butterfly and likes to go out, but Jefferson would rather be around his immediate friends and spend a quiet night in.
In the days leading up to the wedding, Nichols and Jefferson were having problems. What was supposed to be a romantic weekend in San Diego didn't go well and the two were arguing, she said.
It was during that trip the two realized they may not be able to get over their problems. So, Nichols traveled to New York to give space and allow time to think. Then Jefferson sent her an e-mail confirming the conversations they had before.
Nichols said we wasn't shocked and that after speaking to Jefferson on the phone, he just confirmed what she had known but was afraid to say.
They spoke for hours and Nichols said she let her 29-year-old fiance know that if the wedding was cancelled the two no longer could speak or be friends. She said he understood.
Nichols alerted her family, who still traveled to New York to support her. Instead of having a wedding reception, she had a life celebration. She wanted to let her friends and family know how much she needed them and was joyful to be alive.
What she didn't want was her gathering to feel like a funeral. She said there were lots of tears, but the atmosphere was loving and supportive.
Since their split Jefferson has given Nichols some money to help her transition. The dancer said she gave up her career to be with the man she loved. She left her six-figure salary as an NBA dancer and moved to Milwaukee when Jefferson switched teams.
Nichols said she gave up a lot of opportunities to make money when she followed Jefferson and respects the fact he has helped her financially.
Commenting on the cancelled wedding, Jefferson told radio host Howard Stern last week, "I was just trying to do the right thing."